John 15: 9-17
In today’s passage, when Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you,” he was not simply offering a useful or pleasurable friendship to those who have done his abiding in Jesus.
What he meant was the kind of deep friendship that Aristotle called the best kind, a true and mutual friendship with God, becoming another Jesus’s self even when Jesus is not useful and pleasurable for us.
In other words, a friend of Jesus shares in the knowledge of God’s operation in the world—what God is doing, how God is doing it, and how God sees and takes care of the whole world. In short, having and pursuing God’s mind is a beginning to become a friend of God.
“What a friend we have in Jesus” may be a pleasant and useful thought. However, “What a friend Jesus has in me” is beginning to feel burdensome, trying to see the world in the same way that God still sees it.
It seems no wonder why God might have so few friends, real friends. Isn’t it true that many people may still seek Jesus because he might be useful and pleasurable for them?
Well, we all know that Jesus is more than useful and pleasurable.
What today’s passage tells us is that we should be told the uncomfortable truth today and should carry unavoidable duty, the duty to love, to serve, and to forgive as Jesus has loved, served, and forgiven each of us.
This is what it really means to be a friend of Jesus. And this is what God is still doing and
what God wants us to extend toward others.
May we remember that the friendship between God and us is more than useful and pleasurable.
Let’s keep moving into the inner circle of the friends of God.
Let’s keep praying together for the strength to bear the burden of it.
Let’s keep growing into the point that God might be proud of each of us as friends of God.