My Sunday morning discipleship class – “Practical Christianity” – is studying Reaching Toward Easter during Lent. To help with this, I prepared a “bite-sized” version of each daily reading, designed for a quick, first-thing-in-the-morning devotion. Today, in this post, I’m paraphrasing this morning’s selection.
Friends of God:
“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.” – John 15:15
Sometimes I stop for a moment and try to get my mind around the astonishing fact that Jesus values me – Derek Maul – as a friend.
Jesus – The Christ; Lord of Heaven and Earth; Son of the Living God; begotten not created; of one substance with the Father (homo-ousia); Emmanuel; Beautiful Savior; Creator of the Universe; Prince of Peace – has made the deliberate point of calling me friend.
Typically, going about my everyday business, I don’t realize just how mind-boggling this is. But the truth of this stunning realization is absolutely huge – nothing can compare.
- “The Barry McGuire; no kidding! We played guitar together and he asked me to teach him the whole song.”
- “That’s right, I’m talking about the same guy who hosts that popular talk show. We played18-holes of golf.”
- “I’m serious, the President of the United States himself. It was a pretty cool moment!”
- “Yes, you heard me correctly, I said SCRABBLE with the Queen of England!”
Now conceptualize this: The King of Kings and Lord of Lords knows each one of us by name. God calls us “friend”. Can we grasp even a small part of what that really means?
Not only that, Jesus loves me – this I know. “I love you so very much,” Jesus points out, “so completely, that I was even willing to lay down my life for you. Do you understand the measure of how much you mean to me? Peter, Thomas, Mary, Judas, Andre, Bernie, Cynthia, Ruthie, Rob, Kevin, Mindy, Derek, Rebekah….?”
PRAYER: You knew exactly what would happen, Lord, and yet you still valued our relationship more than your own life. I’m so glad I do not need to earn such friendship in terms of my status, or my achievements. I can’t imagine where I would be if you held to the requirements of the law, or worried about how your image might be enhanced – or otherwise – with me hanging around. Thank you for your gracious, unconditional, acceptance, and for your honest love. Amen
Excerpt from Derek Maul’s book, “Reaching Toward Easter” (Upper Room Books, 2012)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.