You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you
– John 15:14-15
To be a good friend we need to have a good friend. Having Jesus as our best friend, is the most amazing thing imaginable. He is our example and experience of what being a friend really means. Jesus’ friendship is based on mutuality and love and if He, the Son of God, is able to have that sort of friendship with us mere mortals, then we should be able to offer that sort of friendship to each other too. There is nothing that Jesus has done that is not possible for us to do.
In the verse above we see that there is a condition to Jesus friendship with us. He says that if we want to be His friends we have to do as He says. He then qualifies this by saying that he is not saying this as a master would to a servant but that He is saying it to us as friends. So this condition is to friendship with him is not a demand for obedience as an employer would expect from an employee but rather as a friend saying, come with me this is the way we should go.
So what is Jesus commanding? What is the requirement of His friendship? The verse preceding the ‘if’ says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”. – John 15:13 and then before that He tells us His commandment, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 and the verse before that tells us why he says all the things He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” -John 15:11
We can see from these verses that Jesus is saying that we can be His friend if we love another as He has loved us and His reason for wanting us to live a life of love so that our joy may be full. His ‘if’ is only for our benefit. His condition is so that we will get the most out of our friendship and that our friends get the most out of us. Friendship is designed to be mutually beneficial where we can all find joy in love. When Jesus is our friend we are able to experience what that level of love feels like so that we can offer that sort of friendship to others.
Wikipedia defines friendship as a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Being a friend of Jesus, enjoying the mutual affection between you and Him, means that you will be able to offer your friendship to others in a way that you could not have done before being His friend first. To be a great friend, start by being His friend. He is our ultimate example and He did everything that He expects from us first. Jesus demonstrated how to lay down one’s life for his friends. He does not expect us to do anything that He hasn’t already done. And His motivation is that our joy may be full!
Is your joy full? Are you a friend of Jesus? Give it a try and see a whole other way to live life and have friendships.