Friendship as defined by Jesus through the writings of the Apostle, Saint John:
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. (John 15:13-17).
Let’s unpack this statement, one point at a time.
Self-Giving Love of Friendship
The greatest way to show your love for Christ and your fellow man is to be willing to give your life for your fellow man’s safety and well-being. Jesus giving His life on the cross is the best example of self-giving love. Yet, there are other examples: a mother who places her own life at risk for the sake of her unborn child; a soldier in battle willing to die to protect our freedom and safety. This type of friendship is truly magnanimous.
Inner-Most Thoughts Shared
Jesus relays all to His chosen Apostles, His friends, on behalf of Our Father, so that we may know and come to love the Father. We all have best friends; those friends that we can entrust with our inner most thoughts. That is the kind of relationship God has with us. He knows our inner most thoughts. Through prayer, we come to know more about God and His will for each of us.
You Have Been Chosen
Your relationship with Christ is not a popularity contest. It’s not like you were chosen first for the volleyball scrimmage! You were chosen and known by God for a specific purpose in the fulfillment of His plan. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5). Therefore, you were created by God to bear fruit; to do enter into a relationship, a friendship with God; the self-giving love kind of friendship, where you love your neighbor as yourself.
This passage from Saint John defines the true meaning of friendship. To be gifted with Jesus’ self-giving love and friendship should be your greatest treasure. Yet friendship requires a two-way interaction. What does true friendship entail? We’ll address the answer to that question in our next reflection. Don’t miss it!