Contemplating the Incomprehensible magnitude of Jesus as our Friend
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." John 15:15
There are several notable instances in the teachings of Jesus where he likens His disciples to servants. Matthew 21:33-40; Matthew 25:14-30; Mark 134;34-37; Luke 12:37-38; Luke 17:10; Luke 19-15.
But here in the gospel of John, Jesus refers to them for the first time as friends. Here also He defines the meaning of friend.
3 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another." John 15:13-17
A related passage to this one is what Jesus said in Mark 3:33 when his mother and brothers, thinking Him to be out of His mind, came looking for Him while He was teaching in a house.
"There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:31-33
His family was not defined by a blood tie of natural birth, but a blood tie of a sinless sacrifice, and obedience to His Word. So it was, from the beginning of His ministry. Whosoever believes in Him and follow Him, having faith in Him, these are His family.
Likewise, His friends were not friends merely by social convention of shared mutual interests and convivial admiration. They did not choose Him, but He chose His friends from among His servants, from among those who were willing to follow Him and obey Him. As servant/friends He gave them power, authority, and access to the fullness of His calling, to work the Kingdom of God through them, to proclaim it, demonstrate its power and establish it on the earth to every people, tribe nation and tongue.
Is not the measure of our friendship with Jesus the degree to which we are committed to doing what He has commanded us to do? The measure of His friendship toward us is that He has given to us all that the Father has given to Hm. The whole of the Gospel and the hidden treasures of the Kingdom of God have been freely given to us in full measure.
God, our Father has, in Jesus Christ our Lord, freely given us all things!
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue,4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Peter 1:3-4
There is no other source of life or of redemption for us, no other need of repair or restoration. He alone, through His life, death, burial, and Resurrection, has made us whole, fully, and completely before Him, before the Father, and before all the world.
He has called us to a higher place of relationship, not as servants, but as friends who share equally and fully in all things with Him. The promise of this friendship is that it is everlasting. He will never leave us of forsake is. He is steadfast and sure. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He loves us with a love beyond comprehension. His love surpasses knowledge. He is the light of the world and the Salt of the Earth. He has given that light to us and it shines in our hearts. By His Spirit we have been made to live in this present world as salt and light. As His ambassadors, we are empowered to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, without alloy, without apology or compromise.
Our friendship with Jesus is our access key into the innermost place of His presence and glory, having become more than conquerors through His love for us. Our friendship with Him is a special bond of fidelity and honor, of confidence and exclusive privilege before Him, before men, and angels.
By His grace He has granted us to sit together with Him in Heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers and every name that is named. [Ephesians 2:5-7]. In His name we have authority over all the evil works of darkness [Luke 10:19] and in His name we stand. In Him we live and move and have our being.
We have been saved by faith in His name and no name is higher. And being baptized into Christ we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us, to teach us, to reveal to us the hidden mysteries of the Kingdom, to comfort us and empower us for loving service to God our Father. Jesus Christ our Lord is Lord of all, to the glory of God the Father.
There is a unique factor of our friendship with Christ. He has done all the work to establish our friendship. We did nothing to deserve it, but we have all the benefits of the relationship by faith alone. We could not work to attain it, nor can we work to keep it. It is only by His grace that we can confidently claim to be His friends. How glorious and measureless is His loving gift of friendship toward us. We obey and do what He has commanded not out of duty of coercion, but out of love for Him and joy and gratitude for His love, His sacrifice and kindness toward us.
As friends of Jesus:
We live to love God our father with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength
We live to love our neighbor as ourselves
We live to preach the Gospel by our actions and our words
We live to give whatever God prompts in us to give
We live to be salt and light to the world
We live to please the Father in all things by faith
We live to worship God and give thanks to Him and to bless His name forever
We live to be transformed from this world, and to be conformed to the image of Christ
We live to pray, to bless, to bring glory to God and to honor His name
No longer servants, but friends