In His final teaching on the way to Gethsemane and then the cross Jesus said something very significant in John 15:15 (see the verse in context at the end of this post). Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants but friends.” While we earn trust, do we earn friendship or is it something that grows over time through the sharing of hearts? I don’t know how often we think about friendship and how it develops but Jesus called these men His friends after He had spent around three years with them, eating together, sleeping outdoors together and sharing ministry. All this time Jesus was modeling His Father’s heart and hearing their hearts.
Over time they had become friends of Jesus now pointed that out to them in John 15. Given that our friends are the people we enjoy spending time with can Jesus be our Friend without enjoying our company? It is easy to say in Christian circles that Jesus died for us because He loved us and intellectually believe it. Yet what if we shift it a bit to say, “Jesus died for us because He cares about us.” We can also make it more personal, “Jesus, I know You died for me, You laid down Your life and suffered incredible torment because You really care about me and want to spend eternity with me.” Does that evoke a different heart response? After all, Paul wrote, “10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10 (NKJV) While the context of this verse is salvation is the principle not true in the other areas of our walk with Jesus?
We need to see Jesus high and lifted up, the King and Creator of the universe. Yet we also need to see Jesus stepping off His throne and walking into our lives and hearts, concerned about every aspect and detail of our lives because He is also our friend. We can sing ‘Jesus Friend of sinners’ but what about Jesus friend of Christians? What are the implications of thinking and believing that way?
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:12-15 (NKJV)