I Call You Friends

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Sitting at her old wooden kitchen table drinking mint tea, I unburdened my heart to my friend. More than my words, she heard my pain, my grief, my questions. Her eyes would brim with tears as she held my hand and prayed for me. Her care brought comfort to me in my suffering. Sometimes we would take a beach walk together or share a meal. I would care for her little girl while she borrowed my car to go to an important appointment. While she was away for a few days, she invited me to stay in her cottage in the woods as a respite from a stressful home situation. Our friendship was a source of strength and solace for both of us.
How is friendship defined? Mutual caring for one another, sharing of our inner selves, common experiences, interacting and learning from one another. We are drawn together as friends when we recognize a “kindred spirit” in one another. As believers, we are privileged to be called the friends of Jesus. He said so Himself.  “I no longer call you servants, because servants do not know their master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15  NIV) When Jesus said this to His disciples, they probably did not grasp the magnitude of such a statement — God Himself calling them His friends!
As His friends, we are taken into His confidence. He makes known to us everything He learned from His Father. There is an openness, a vulnerability in sharing your heart with a friend. You want your friend to understand you and know you. Jesus revealed Himself to His friends throughout the scriptures and in doing so, He is revealed to us as we read them. His words and the stories about Him tell of His desire to share deeply meaningful moments with His friends, to celebrate with them, spend time with them, express His concern and commitment to them.
He demonstrates these traits in His special relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus often enjoyed hospitality at their home in Bethany (Luke 10:38-41), where He came to love them. When Lazarus became gravely ill, his sisters sent word for Jesus to come. They felt Jesus let them down when He failed to heal Lazarus, who was four days in the grave before He showed up. Jesus wept (vs. 35) when He saw their grief, but when He raised their brother from the dead, He brought glory to His Father and restored joy to His friends.
He personifies the friend described in Proverbs 18:24, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The friendship of Jesus is forever loyal and goes deeper than any filial relationship. In John 15:13, He stated, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Not long after, He demonstrated the greatest love of all time by laying down His life for us on the cross.
I am so grateful to rest in the friendship of Jesus, who will never leave me or forsake me, who listens whenever I speak to Him, who advises, comforts and loves me throughout the ups and downs of my life.
“Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide ‘til the day is done:
There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! No, not one!”
(hymn by Johnson Oatman 1895)

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2 thoughts on “I Call You Friends

  1. I love this post and I love that hymn. We have learned it in our little homeschool. Yes, there is no friend like Jesus! ~ Wendy

    Like

  2. Frieda says:

    Thank you for the blog. Beautiful thoughts and great reminders. Frieda

    Like

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