“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15
Jesus has already made it clear that He is your Master and Teacher. As His disciple, you are His servant and His apprentice. This servant/Master relationship is available to all who will humbly trust Him. This relationship is a gift that is of unspeakable value and means salvation. As good as it is, though, He has so much more in mind for you!
Notice that Jesus had a clear vision for what friendship to Him means: “a servant doesn’t know his master’s business”. Jesus sees friendship differently than it is portrayed in our culture. Having lost the class distinctions that were once prevalent in our world, it is difficult for us, perhaps, to consider that one could be on very good and positive terms with a superior without being called a “friend”. For a master to call a servant “friend” is a tremendous honor. Jesus finally decided to call His closest companions friends because, He said, they knew His business. After about three years of walking with Him and working with Him, they could be entrusted with more because they had a share in His vision and mission.
There is a difference, isn’t there, between the stable boy who tends to a king’s horses and the members of that king’s council with whom he makes battle plans and crafts laws. The stable boy may be on wonderfully good terms with the king, but his friends know his business and can be confided in.
All are welcomed to grow and mature in their relationship to their Master and King to the point that He calls them His friends. This does not, however, happen right away, nor is it automatic. We must, like the first disciples, sacrifice, listen, and work alongside our Master so that we can come to truly understand His business. What is He up to? What matters to Him? What are His priorities?
Seek this level of intimacy with your King, Disciple. Don’t misunderstand, He is never a distant or cold Master. You can enjoy a great nearness to Him from the very start of your relationship, for His love is that deep and real for you. Yet, as He Himself described it, the friendship we can have with Him is something more. It is something that is born out of shared experiences and careful learning. It is an honor that He bestows on those who have come to understand and participate in His business – His mission. Perhaps you are already a friend of Jesus. How wonderful! May you never lose the grateful wonder of that honor! Perhaps you are not yet there. Oh, Disciple, press on in loving obedience to learn more and more of your Master and from Him. Do as He directs and you will soon find that this honor is yours as well. He is happy to bestow it, for He delights to share the joy of pleasing the Father with all who desire it.
Gladly serving our Master and Friend with you,