Jesus says we are friends if….
Day 2 – Jesus says we are friends if….
John 15:14, ESV
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
It seems a little weird, that Jesus says we are friends “if” … To best understand this statement, we need to gain some understanding of the meaning of the word “friend” in its original context. The word “friend” in the Greek is philos, which means “to love, to have affection for”. Culturally, it can be used to describe an inner circle of friends, that would be around a king or emperor. These would be servants that would have been close to the King. Often times servants who were behind closed doors saw and heard many private moments into the King and Queen’s life. These servants became like friends; they were there in the early mornings and late at night. They would know the secrets and stories behind the scenes. Many became genuine friends to their Master, and many would be shown great respect, honor, and appreciation. Here when Jesus says “I no longer call you servants”, this doesn’t mean that the disciples are no longer his servants.
The Apostle often referred to himself as “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ”. The Apostle James as well would call himself “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ”. He could have said “the Lord’s brother”, but he chose to call himself a servant of God. The Apostle Peter also says, “A servant of the Lord Jesus Christ." Other disciples including Jude and John refer to themselves as servants.
When Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you...” (John 15:15), it is not that they have ceased to be servants, but rather that they are now going to be called friends. Why? Because Jesus is revealing the plans of the Heavenly father and they have become servant friends who are still held accountable to Jesus and need to obey him; but there is a friendship now between the servant and the savior. The foundation is love, and Jesus is willing to model and lead in the friendship as well, being willing to lay down his life for them. In doing so the disciples will more than gladly call themselves servants the rest of their lives, yet Jesus would refer to them as friends. With one condition: that they follow his commands. Why? Because Jesus is a King, and they are his servants.
The application for us is that we should see ourselves as servants while realizing Jesus calls us His friends! As loving and committed friends of Jesus, we need to remember the context of this word relates to that of a friendly relationship between a king and his servants. Therefore, we live in such a way that we want to please him, not out of duty but from delight. Yet, when the delight wears off, the duty must kick in!
As servants we are obligated to obey; as friends we should want to please him. Jesus treats us as friends, and we ought to do the same. Abraham was God’s friend because he obeyed God (Genesis 18:19, James 2:23). Obedience doesn’t secure our salvation, but it does foster our fellowship in our relationship with God. It’s like a child’s relationship with his father. If the child is continually rebelling and disobeying, you can imagine the relationship will be strained. When the child is listening to his parents and following the rules of the household, there is a natural harmony in the home. The closer we grow in our relationship with God, obedience will become a natural result.