“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:12-15
There came a time in the life of Jesus when He would move to an entirely different level with His disciples. When He first encountered them, they may have been casually acquainted, and possibly had never been introduced. After they had been in His company for a while, their association began to grow. As time passed and they became more familiar, a fondness began to develop. Eventually, Jesus would share His true feelings with them in John chapter 15; feelings that he had from the first moment He had seen them.
I remember very clearly the first time I saw my beautiful daughter. She was only a few minutes born, but my feelings for her at that moment have always been impossible to describe. I had chosen to love her when I learned that she had been conceived. Although my feelings for her never diminished, we would move through various stages in our relationship. I became a Christian when she was very young, which enabled me to love her at a much deeper level than before. As she grew older, I wanted to be a father that cared for his child enough to properly discipline her. I certainly did some of that, but not excessively. You see, it wasn’t necessary since she always respected my position as her dad.
When I read accounts of our Lord’s interaction with His disciples, I see Him speaking to them with deep respect. Although there were times when they seemed to frustrate Him, He always responded appropriately. There are two primary qualities that define true love, and these are commitment and respect. He exhibited both in his response to these whom He had chosen.
Jesus told these men, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends.” Reading these verses, I have seen for the first time how our Lord values true friendships. These men would forever serve Christ in Heaven, but Jesus saw their friendship as something to be valued much more.
As I ponder my relationship with the wonderful lady who is my daughter, I realize that the greatest privilege I have been given is that I can also call her my friend. But when I reflect on all those I have known in my life, I now know that she is, in fact, my very best friend. “Greater love has no man than this!”