Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter – John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

I had done something foolish and now was waiting for the consequences. They could have been severe. I probably deserved those consequences. But honestly, the waiting was the hard part. Imagine my relief when the chair next to me creaked as it bore the weight of my old friend. He had come just to sit with me. Together we would spend the next hours, together we would discover that the consequences were not nearly so bad as I thought they might be, together…

Jesus says that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. My friend did not die for me, but for those two hours he laid aside his life for me. He surely had other things to do. But he did not do them. He was there for me.

Jesus uses the word friend here. In an age when Facebook and other social media have diluted that word, we probably do not grasp the reality of what Jesus is saying here. To call someone friend in His time was to say something significant. Friends were the people you could always count on. One might have lots of colleagues, allies, or partners, but one usually only had a handful of friends in that time. Jesus calls His disciples then and you today his friend.

In the ancient world and today, we often find that we just do not have the capacity for more than a few friends. But Jesus does. He always has time for you. If you need it, he will make time for you. Remember, he can do that. He is not bound by our limitations. He is the creator after all. He made time too. He can make it, make a moment just to be with you, no cell phones buzzing, no distractions, no mind somewhere else, just you. He calls you friend.  

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