I Have Called You Friends
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.
The love of Christ is deeper than anything that we can imagine. As he prepared for his departure from his beloved disciples he tried to explain to them the depths of his relationship with them. He had journeyed with them for three years and throughout this time they were being discipled, getting to know him better and better. They had started out by simply following him and trying to serve him and serve with him. However, as time went on the relationship was changing and developing.
At first they had no comprehension of what it was that he was doing. They were simply following but along the way there was something significant that happened. They began to understand his heart and his mission. His desires became their desires and his mission was their mission. He shared with them all that he had heard from his Father. The result was that they were no longer servants, but friends of the Savior.
There is a contemporary worship song that is heard in churches these days, “I am a friend of God.” It’s a catchy little tune and the phrase, “I am a friend of God” is repeated numerous times. The only problem for me is that I can repeat that phrase over and over again without really stopping to think of its significance. Oh yeah, “I am a friend of God.” However, when Jesus declared this to his followers, this was monumental news and it should be to us as well.
This phrase carries with it significance regarding our relationship to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God and he is not calling us to be servants, but he is calling us to be his friends. This is a completely different type of relationship, one which includes mutuality — a give and take on both sides.
Throughout the years the Lord has blessed me with many friends and for this I am so grateful. There are those I don’t get to see very often but when we get together we pick up just as if we had never been apart. One of those is a dear friend from our first church down in Texas. I was the pastor’s wife at that first church and it’s interesting all the advice we used to give to couples going into the ministry. This advice included the fact that the pastor’s wife was not supposed to have friends in the church. Somehow this seemed to be a bad thing (to have friends) so that she would not play favorites with anyone — however, it could leave a pastor’s wife terribly lonely. I decided early on in our ministry that this was probably not a good piece of advice and that I needed friends! The Lord was faithful and sent me a dear friend who understood my role. Whenever we were at church she would give me space. She was never demanding of me, my time or my attention. Many folks would never have known that we were great friends. She knew how to become the friend and support of someone like me. She would call in the evenings and we would chat about life and our children and how things were going. We both had two little girls under the age of three. Some evenings she would call and ask if the girls were asleep yet and if my husband was home. If so, we would sneak out and meet half-way between our homes for some nachos and chatting. It was a great thing and I needed her friendship so desperately and while we rarely see one another these days, just give us a few minutes over a pile of nachos and we’ll be right back on track. We can pick up the conversation as if it had never ended. This is what friendship is like!
We are invited to become friends of Jesus. It involves some give and take in the relationship but he loves us so much that he will help us find ways to meet together — to chat, to laugh, to cry and to listen. Our lives are barren without friends. They are most barren when they are devoid of the best friend we could ever have. We are blessed for our Savior has called us his friends.
Lord, thank you for the privilege of being your friend today. Amen.