My New BFF
John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
John 15:15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
These days we throw around (or text) terms like BFF — Best Friends Forever. When we think about the arrival of Baby Jesus — we don’t often think about the birth of our new best friend. And yet, that was the relationship that this Messiah was offering to those who would be faithful followers of God. In this passage in John we find Jesus preparing for the final chapter of his life and in this we see revealed the fulfillment of the incarnation, the righting of humanity’s relationship to God. While Jesus was the disciples’ Master — they were no longer to imagine themselves in a Servant - Master relationship, instead as they lived in fidelity to his passions, they became, and we become his friends.
The motivation for behavior in a friendship relationship is completely different from that of Servant - Master relationship. Jesus had invited the disciples into an intimate relationship with him, one in which they did not just receive orders from him, but one in which he shared with them his very heart and mind. His passions were now their passions. The relationship now had a much more horizontal, rather than vertical nature about it — and they had become his friends.
Friends laugh together, cry together, and overall, share life together. Jesus’ arrival on earth declared that we could become a friend of God. Let that soak in just a little — and then be amazed at that simple truth.
So, who is your BFF? Wikipedia tells us that this is a term generally used by pre-teens and teens about their relationships. Unfortunately, these relationships hardly ever end up being “forever” but instead seem to be based on the emotions of the time. The sad truth is that BFFs hardly ever remain BFFs — but at the same time, it seems to be what many are seeking. When Jesus promises to be our BFF — he means forever! His birth ushered in the possibility for that relationship.
The Scriptures have provided us with examples of BFFs and specifically in the Old Testament we are presented with a couple of great examples. Abraham was considered a friend of God. He had a deeply intimate and personal relationship with God — and was found faithful in that relationship. God himself came down to earth and made a covenant with him — promising that his seed would be like the sands of the sea. And God, his friend, fulfilled the promise through the miraculous birth of his son Isaac. And just like friends, they laughed!
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. David and his dear friend Jonathan paint a picture of enduring friendship for us. They were BFFs! Jonathan was willing to give up his throne and lay down his life for his friend David. Their hearts and their passions had become so intermingled that each desired the best for the other. David should have technically been Jonathan’s servant, but instead, because of their friendship, Jonathan laid down his life for his friend.
Jesus was trying to help the disciples understand that he was a friend; one who was willing to lay down his life for each of them. That’s not what Masters do — that’s what friends do.
This past hear a friend in Canton was diagnosed with leukemia. It was during this time that I observed the community of friendship that surrounded her and be BFFs. Hours were spent in the hospital at her bedside, willing to simply be present and endure together with her the prolonged treatment and resultant side-effects. Food was brought to the family. Adjustments were made to peoples’ own schedules to be there — and to be a friend. I was overwhelmed by what I witnessed in this circle of friendship and I thought — this is what it truly means to be BFFs.
Everyone is hungry for a BFF. Jesus wants to be our best BFF ever! Why is it that we push him away? Or why is it that we keep ourselves in a Master - Servant relationship, rather than allowing it to become all that it could be? Is it because we experienced the Junior High type of BFF relationship — the one that left us hurt and wondering if this “forever” thing could ever be for real? It can be for real. Jesus has invited us in this Christmas season into a relationship with him — where he shares his heart with us — and we can be called a friend of God forever!
Don’t be afraid; let him be your BFF!
Friend - thanks! Amen.