In John 15 Jesus makes a wonderful declaration. 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. (Jn 15:14-15)
Jesus explains that the reason the disciples are no longer merely servants is that he has brought them into his counsels, he has told them what he is doing. In fact, he has revealed to them what he has heard from his Father. They have been brought into the inner counsels of the Son and the Father. Incredible.
Someone who works as a servant does not become the friend and confidant of his master, especially if their master is a great king. And Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. Yet Jesus calls his disciples “friends.”
But Jesus states a condition to this friendship—You are my friends if you do what I command you. Jesus is absolutely Lord in this friendship. We do not become equals. He is not my buddy or mate or… Obedience is the condition his friendship. To reduce him to our buddy is almost blasphemous. Jesus is offering friendship which is way more than that—friendship with the High King and Lord of all!
The legendary story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table illustrates. King Arthur built a round table so that all his knights could sit facing each other and be equally engaged in the King’s counsel and deliberations. Though he was still king, they were collaborators and coworkers in ruling England.
Similarly, Jesus invites the disciples, and us by implication, to share in his inner counsels and delibera-tions. Jesus revealed his mind and heart to his disciples and continued to do so through the Holy Spirit after he ascended. This is the lofty friendship into which he invites us—to know his mind and heart and to interact with him about his plans and desires.
He cannot cease to be Lord or invite us to be buddies. Instead he invites us to enjoy friendship with the Sovereign Lord and to share in his plans and work. And he is not detached, but fully human and able to sympathize with our weaknesses… (Heb 4:15)
What a high calling and motivation. It leads to seeking, understanding, and doing what pleases him in every aspect of life. How can we pursue this friendship? Here are five suggestions. You may think of others.
- Study the Bible steadily to know God and his heart and mind. Reinforce this with Psalms, good Christian poetry, and music. Enjoy him and his grace.
- Do what he reveals in every area even if it goes beyond normal church practice.
- Ask and allow God to enlarge your heart for his kingdom. Say “Yes” to wherever he leads.
- Meet with like-minded Christians to follow and serve Christ.
- Be involved with non-believers. Seek lost sheep.
Warning: This makes Christians more King and Kingdom oriented, more loving and serving, more effective, more joyful, and more ready to take Christ to hard places. It could easily lead to going as a tentmaker