"You are My friends if you do what I command you.John 15:14(NASB)
As Jesus prepares His disciples for the fast approaching crucifixion He was also preparing them for the difficult future they must all face - a world of hatred against God and themselves, and a world where the physical presence of their master is absent. The Lord Jesus knew that these men whom He loves so dearly, would be an easy prey to the enemy, who as a roaring lion goes about seeking whom he may devour - how important it was that they listen carefully to His instructions and diligently apply them in their lives.
Jesus had just told them that they were His friends whom He loved so dearly and for whom He was about to lay down His life. There was no greater love that He could demonstrate to them or to us, than to lay down His life - for His friends. Christ is the friend of sinners and by laying down His life for us, challenges us to reflect on our own opinions of Him and our relationship to Himself.
De we simply consider ourselves 'sinners saved by grace', as indeed we are, or do we grasp the challenge to become His close and intimate friend - a friend who loves at all time; a friend that sticks closer than a brother; a friend who would be willing to lay down our life for our dear, heavenly Saviour and Friend?
You are My friends, He told His disciples - and us. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. And He humbled Himself and washed their feet and said: a new command I give unto You that you LOVE one another in the same way that I have loved You. By this shall all men know that your are my disciples - My FRIENDS.
Father, what an amazing thing that we should be called the friend of God. May I follow all that You command me to do, and in the power of the Spirit, may I love others as Christ loved me. Thank You for being my Friend and Saviour, AMEN.