CHRIST'S FRIENDSHIP: ITS INTIMACY
No Longer Do I Call You Servants; for the Servant Knoweth
Not What His Lord Doeth: But I Have Called You Friends; for All
Things That I Heard From My Father, I Have Made Known Unto You--John
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The highest proof of true friendship,
and one great source of its blessedness, is the intimacy that
holds nothing back, and admits the friend to share our inmost
secrets. It is a blessed thing to be Christ's servant; His redeemed
ones delight to call themselves His slaves. Christ had often spoken
of the disciples as His servants. In His great love our Lord now
says: "No longer do I call you servants"; with the coming
of the Holy Spirit a new era was to be inaugurated. "The
servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth"--he has to obey
without being consulted or admitted into the secret of all his
master's plans. "But, I have called you friends, for all
things I heard from my Father I have made known unto you."
Christ's friends share with Him in all the secrets the Father
has entrusted to Him.
Let us think what this means. When
Christ spoke of keeping His Father's commandments, He did not
mean merely what was written in Holy Scripture, but those special
commandments which were communicated to Him day by day, and from
hour to hour. It was of these He said: "The Father loveth
the Son, and showeth him all things that he doeth, and he will
show him greater things." All that Christ did was God's working.
God showed it to Christ, so that He carried out the Father's will
and purpose, not, as man often does, blindly and unintelligently,
but with full understanding and approval. As one who stood in
God's counsel, He knew God's plan.
And this now is the blessedness
of being Christ's friends, that we do not, as servants, do His
will without much spiritual insight into its meaning and aim,
but are admitted, as an inner circle, into some knowledge of God's
more secret thoughts. From the Day of Pentecost on, by the Holy
Spirit, Christ was to lead His disciples into the spiritual apprehension
of the mysteries of the kingdom, of which He had hitherto spoken
only by parables.
Friendship delights in fellowship.
Friends hold council. Friends dare trust to each other what they
would not for anything have others know. What is it that gives
a Christian access to this holy intimacy with Jesus? That gives
him the spiritual capacity for receiving the communications Christ
has to make of what the Father has shown Him? "Ye are my
friends if ye do what I command you." It is loving obedience
that purifies the soul. That refers not only to the commandments
of the Word, but to that blessed application of the Word to our
daily life, which none but our Lord Himself can give. But as these
are waited for in dependence and humility, and faithfully obeyed,
the soul becomes fitted for ever closer fellowship, and the daily
life may become a continual experience: "I have called you
friends; for all things I have heard from my Father, I have made
known unto you."
I have called you friends.
What an unspeakable honor! What a heavenly privilege! O Saviour,
speak the word with power into my soul: "I have called you
My friend, whom I love, whom I trust, to whom I make known all
that passes between my Father and Me."