“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
Jesus is sharing his last words with the disciples after washing their feet and instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper. After having been their teacher for three years, he says that he has taught them everything that God has taught him, so he no longer calls them students or servants, but friends. He says as the Father has loved him so does he love them and instructs them to love one another in the same way. He then sets a very high standard for true friendship and love when he says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
For the past forty years I have experienced the blessing of close Christian friendship with a group of men, some of whom are in the adjacent picture. We usually get together one evening a week to share what’s going on in our lives, pray with one another for various needs and enjoy each other’s company.
Sometimes we study and reflect on a particular scripture, review a spiritual related book or discuss what’s going on in the Church and the world. Over the years, we have assisted each other with various house or yard projects. When one of us is sick or hospitalized, we visit and pray with him. A few years ago we were at one of the brother’s bedside, reading his favorite Bible verses and singing his favorite hymns as he passed from this life to the next. What a blessing and privilege it was!
We celebrate birthdays and special anniversaries, and socialize with each other’s families. One of the brothers and his wife have had birthday dinners for our daughter with special needs and her friends.
Catholic theologian and author Scott Hahn observes that while we may be the most connected society ever from an electronic standpoint, we are the most unconnected when it comes to genuine friendships.
It is no small thing for Jesus to offer us his friendship and dwell in us through the Holy Spirit. It is an added bonus when we come to know others who share in this common experience. The result: beautiful, committed friendships in Christ – part of God’s desire and plan for all of us.
Have you considered seeking out a small group of Christian brothers or sisters to share life and your common experience of friendship with Jesus?