30th September 2013

A Gift of God 

“I shall not call you servants any longer, for a servant does not share his master’s confidence. No, I call you friends, now, because I have told you everything that I have heard from the Father.”
John 15:15 (Phillips)

Friends are very special; sometimes they are more significant in our lives than members of our families. As someone once said, “We can choose our friends but not our relatives!” 

Jesus called his disciples friends because he was sharing everything with them, the pleasant as well as the difficult experiences of his life. Friendship can be immensely enjoyable, we can have our best fun with our friends and it’s interesting that John the Baptist, who was related to Jesus on his mother’s side, while he was explaining to his disciples that he was not the Christ, said, “‘A man can  receive nothing at all,’ replied John, ‘unless it is given him from Heaven. You yourselves can witness that I said, “I am not the Christ but I have been sent as his forerunner.” It is the bridegroom who possesses the bride, yet the bridegroom’s friend who merely stands and listens to him can be overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That is why my happiness is now complete. He must grow greater and greater and I less and less.’”(John 3: 28-30) Because John knew that his friend Jesus was indeed Christ, he could rejoice, even though he would become less important and Jesus would take centre stage! What an amazing example of humility—he is willing to rejoice that his friend was greater than himself. 

This special attribute is also displayed by Jonathan, King Saul’s son, who was a friend of David.  Jonathan refused to give David up to his father, because Saul was determined to kill him; instead he helped him to escape. Even though Saul warned Jonathan that he could never be king as long as David lived. 

I guess that sometimes it is difficult for us to rejoice that our friends are perhaps better educated, have greater gifts or abilities than ourselves and therefore deserve to be our supervisor or manager. This can happen but our focus should be primarily on this special gift of God; this friendship that, as Jesus pointed out to his disciples, transcends everything else. And so we, as Christians, are privileged to be, just as they were, best friends with Messiah, the Saviour of the world! 

Great Father, thank you for friends and friendship, and for the special example of your Son Jesus, who calls us friends in spite of the great difference between him and us—what a Friend!

Study by Cliff Neill


cliffneillAbout the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local  Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone:  01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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