Jn.15:12,13 – This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

To me, this is the best of the best, I am called to be a friend of God. This comes as quite a shock when you first begin to get it. Friends are people you hang out with just because, or spend times on the phone when there is nothing to even talk about. You may go on vacations with friends, go on long walks in the park; friends are there when you face tragedy, sickness, or even death. For Jesus to call me His friend is more than I could have ever asked for. Here is how Barclay describes it.

“Jesus called us to be his friends. He tells his disciples that he does not call them slaves any more; he calls them friends. Now that is a saying which would be even greater to those who heard it for the first time than it is to us. Doulos, the slave, the servant of God, was no title of shame; it was a title of the highest honor. Moses was the doulos of God (Deuteronomy 34:5); so was Joshua (Joshua 24:29); so was David (Psalm 89:20). It is a title which Paul counted it an honor to use (Titus 1:1); and so did James (James 1:1). The greatest men in the past had been proud to be called the douloi, the slaves of God. And Jesus says: ‘I have something greater for you yet: you are no longer slaves; you are friends.’ Christ offers an intimacy with God which not even the greatest men and women knew before he came into the world.”

If Jesus is my friend how can I nurture this friendship? That is what the parable of the Vine is all about. Abide in Him, make your home or dwelling place in Him. Go on long walks with Him, talk to Him everyday. He talks with us as we read the Bible and just sit in His presence. Take Him with you on vacations and even take Him with you when you go to work. This is the heart of our Christian faith; this is the place we are strengthened. The shocking thing about all of this, He chose me to be His friend. Jn.15:6 – “You did not choose Me but I chose you.”

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