“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
To be honest, I have never given much thought to this verse. (This is what happens when you actually start meditating on the Word – you realize that you’ve never given much “thought” to most of scripture!) I am very familiar with this verse, but I’ve never chewed on it and allowed it to enter into me.
As I have taken the last few weeks to meditate on it, I feel I have only scratched the surface. But I would like to share some things the Lord has shown me as I have sat quiet before Him and asked Him to reveal Himself. May He reveal Himself to you as well.
First of all, I have always divorced this verse from the verse before it. Read the verse by itself:
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant does not know what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
If I read this with no thought to context, it has a very nice “warm and fuzzy” message: Jesus calls me His friend not His servant. What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing exactly, but subtly I think this “friendship” requires nothing of me. To think that I can have a friendship with Christ (or anyone, for that matter) and it cost me nothing is a lie.
Now read the verse together with the verse before it:
“Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant does not know what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Do you see the difference – Jesus just defined His friends. We don’t become His friends because He is being nice to us, and wanting us to be cozy and comfortable. “My friends” is referring to an exclusive group of people. Namely, those who “do whatsoever He commands.”
At first this might sound like manipulation. Think of two little kids interacting: “If you do this, you can be my friend.” However, this is NOT a manipulative statement – it is merely a statement of fact. Jesus is here defining who His friends are (and thus defining who His friends are not). Interesting…so we are not all Jesus’ friends? Correct. We are NOT all Jesus’ friends. We are His friends only if we do what He commands (i.e., abide, i.e., keep).
Friendship takes two. Friendship never takes one. I can be friendly toward a person and not be friends with them. I can even pursue a friendship with a person and still not be friends with them. Unless that other person turns toward me and allows me to know them and attempts to get to know me, we will never be friends. Friendship requires two – two must turn toward each other and begin to share themselves with each other.
The Lord’s desire is that we would be friends – those with whom He can fellowship and share His heart! Wow! As I consider this, I am blown away at the humility of God! He desires friendship with mankind?! With me?! Yes, He does. If you are abiding in Him and receiving life from Him, you are in a position for Him to share Himself with you.
John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.”
Psalm 25:14, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”