“I no longer call you slaves…but I have called you friends….” (John 15:15)
Our holy Creator desires to be a friend to us. We who once were enemies to God are now to draw near, cleave to Him, and abide in Him. How could we respond to such a call if He were not a friend?
God has a standard for friends to “love at all times” (Prov. 17:17). Human friendships may fall tragically short of this standard, but we need never fear even the slightest loss of God’s steadfast friendship or His immeasurable love.
The disciple with a tendency for opening his mouth before thinking…
The impetuous one who (before the eyes of the Prince of Peace) severed the ear of the high priest’s slave…
The cavalier one who dismissed Jesus’ warning about falling into Satan’s hands…
The friend who abandoned and denied any connection to the One who loved him beyond measure.
Remember Jesus and His response after all these things.
The final chapter in John sums it up well. Jesus appears to the disciples on a beach, and after serving them breakfast, He has some words for Peter. What was he bracing himself to hear?
Reviling words for what he “deserved”?
A chiding for his many failures?
Would Jesus strip him of his apostolic commission and give it to someone else more worthy and better qualified?
Would you have expected to hear something like that, if you were in Peter’s shoes?
Nothing like that even entered Jesus’ mind.
Jesus came to Peter with restorative words. Jesus was not leaving this earth without first assuring Peter that he was still the man for the job. Jesus set Peter free to move forward, secure in His abiding love and friendship.
How could Jesus respond in that way?
How could He risk entrusting Peter with the future of His ministry on earth? Because Jesus knew what Peter was becoming. That’s how.
A Personal Friendship
It’s easy to get stuck between who we have been and who we are becoming. That can be a demoralizing place to be, especially if there’s no one who remembers that you are on a journey…a journey of becoming.
There’s a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Prov. 18:24)
There’s a thing you have to watch out for with forget-me-nots that reminds me of this verse. If you find yourself walking near or through a bed of transitioning plants (ones that have gone to seed but haven’t yet fallen off the stem), you’ll find that you’ve picked up a plethora of tag-alongs, and they won’t leave you unless you pry them off.
Forget-me-not seeds are teardrop shaped, and they’re covered with tiny spikes. Teardrops and spikes…do they remind you of something?
We have a Friend who bore the spikes of a crucifixion and whose teardrops were so intense that He sweat blood.
Those spikes held Him to a cruel cross, and although He had the power to call a legion of angels to unfasten them, He chose to cling to the cross until the work of His immeasurable love for us was finished.
Christ’s ultimate expression of love has proven Him to be the Friend who sticks closer and truer than any other. He longs to share life with us, if we will let Him. He wants to walk by your side in this journey of life, in every season of your becoming who you were created to be.
Welcome His friendship. Trust His intentions. Grow in His love.