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. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.John 15:15-17
Sometimes I try to get my mind around the astonishing fact that Jesus values me – Derek Maul – as a friend. We’re talking about Jesus “the Christ” – Son of the Living God, begotten not created, of one substance with the Father (homoousia – ὁμοούσιον), Emmanuel, Creator of the Universe, Prince of Peace. This Jesus has made the deliberate point of calling me friend.
Typically, I don’t stop to think about just how mind-boggling this is. But the truth of it is huge, so much so that absolutely nothing can compare.
To put the idea into perspective, think about those people you know who are name-droppers (maybe you’re one yourself!).
- “Yes, of course, I played guitar with ______ (well-known rock star)…”
- “Joe Talk-show Host used to be a neighbor of mine, we played golf…”
- “That time when Famous Author Guy and I spoke at the same event…”
- “That’s right, the Mayor always stops to talk with me on the street…”
- “We were invited to Candidate So-and-So’s Christmas party every year…”
In the English (U.K.) world of who-knows-whom, a series of ever wider circles emanates from the social epicenter known as “The Royal Family” (or “The Royals,” for those in the know). Jockeying for position and trying to be in contact with persons one level closer to The Royals is serious business for social climbers. People achieve something resembling Nirvana when Queen Elizabeth actually calls them by name. (I know this because my second cousin on my mother’s side is one of her majesty’s closest friends!).
Seriously, though, my cousin’s relationship to the Queen of England really doesn’t matter; it has no bearing on my life. What does matter is my relationship to God, and it is stunning when we think about what that means. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords knows me – knows us – by name. God calls us “friend.” Can we grasp even a small part of what that means?
“I love you so much,” Jesus says, “that I went to the lengths of laying down my life for you. Do you understand the measure of how much you mean to me? Peter, Thomas, Mary, Judas, Rebekah, Keith, George, John, James, Grace, David, Derek, Andy…?”
Prayer: You walked right into the Garden of Gethsemane knowing everything, Jesus. You knew exactly what would happen, and you valued our relationship more than your own life. I am so grateful that 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 strictly to the requirements of the law. Instead, you call me friend. Thank you for your gracious acceptance and for your honest love. Amen
- Today’s post is excerpted from Reaching Toward Easter, Upper Room Books, pp 48-49