No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. — John 15:13–17
True friendships are hard to come by. It is a gift of God, and Jesus offers us his friendship when he says, “I have called you friends.” It is mindboggling to think that Jesus desires to share everything with us. It is friendship drawn on intimacy. Jesus invites us to share in the deep, mutual, abiding love that he shared with God and the Holy Spirit, even before the world began.
His friendship with us cost Jesus everything. His love for us took him to Calvary where he experienced the utter agony of being separated from God. In Christ, the reconciliation of the world with God took place. In offering his friendship, Jesus calls us to love one another. The friendship is not between just the two of us, Jesus Christ and me, but with all who have also been invited through Jesus to form community. It is a community based on the costly grace of Christ who died for us, a community prepared to love and serve each other. It is a community where healing can happen in the most unexpected and amazing ways.
Lord, thank you for calling us to be your friends. May we take your hand in friendship and be worthy of your friendship. Help us to be friends to one another as you have shown us through your love on the cross. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Shalom: The Way to Healing
Written by Catherine Gordon and Susan Rheem