As a little boy growing up in Ghana, I enjoyed holding my father’s hand and walking with him in crowded places. He was both my father and my friend, for holding hands in my culture is a mark of true friendship. Walking along, we would talk about a variety of subjects. Whenever I felt lonely, I found consolation with my father. How I valued our companionship!
The Lord Jesus called His followers friends, and He showed them the marks of His friendship. “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you,” He said (John 15:9), even laying down His life for them (v. 13). He showed them His kingdom business (v. 15). He taught them everything God had given Him (v. 15). And He gave them opportunity to share in His mission (v. 16).
As our Companion for life, Jesus walks with us. He listens to our heartaches and our desires. When we’re lonely and downhearted, our Friend Jesus keeps company with us.
And our companionship with Jesus is tighter when we love each other and obey His commands (vv. 10, 17). As we obey His commands, we will bear “fruit that will last” (v. 16).
Walking through the crowded alleys and dangerous roadways of our troubled world, we can count on the Lord’s companionship. It’s a mark of His friendship.
What does it mean for you to be a friend of Jesus? How has He revealed His presence to you?
John 14–16 is often referred to as Jesus’s “Upper Room Discourse.” This would be His final teaching time with His disciples, and it’s wedged between His establishment of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22) and the coming passion events, triggered by prayer and betrayal in Gethsemane (John 18).
In John 15:9–13, some form of the word love appears eight times. This love refers to the love of the Father and Son, their love for us, and our love for one another. In verses 14–17, the word friend or friends appears twice—describing the revolutionary nature of our relationship with Christ. The point? Relationship is the product of love, and, as verse 17 affirms, our relationships with one another are to be characterized by mutual love rooted in His love for us.