“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:12-15, NIV)
Sometimes I think we (or at least I) fail to comprehend the importance of this verse. Before Jesus said this, only two men (to my knowledge) were described in the Bible as friends of God: Moses (Exo. 33:11) and Abraham (Isa. 41:8). Can you imagine? The same description of these great men also describes you and me!
In this passage, the Lord defines that friendship. Jesus showed his friendship toward us by loving us first and laying down his life for us. In return, we show our friendship by obeying his commands. Not as “servants” who have no choice in the matter, but as friends who want to obey. That’s important…otherwise Jesus’ love for us might be seen as conditional…that he only loves us when we obey. But we know that’s not true because he died for us first!
I don’t ever want to take Jesus’ friendship for granted. In fact, Jesus becomes the model for what a true friend looks like.
We’ll talk about friendship this Sunday in my sermon “The People You Meet” from Jeremiah 37-38. Read it before then. The prophet some real jerks in his day…but also some true friends. I hope you’ll be there!