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  • Jeff Chacon

Friends

Some people know you, but don’t love you.

That makes us feel rejected – or at least ignored.


Others love you, but don’t really know you.

That makes us feel insecure – if they really knew me, would they still love me?


What we really want – the intimacy we crave – is to be known and loved.

That makes us… friends.


Jesus spent three years with the Apostles.

At first, the Apostles were followers.

Then, they were servants.

But in the end, they were… friends.


Just days before Jesus died, he gathered the Apostles together and told them:

“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 15:15)


From the beginning, the Apostles were willing to follow Jesus. They could see that he was a prophet of God and they left everything to follow him. That was a good start. That was commitment.


As they walked with Jesus through the years, heard his teachings on many occasions, and saw the amazing miracles he performed, they soon realized he was the promised Messiah, and they willingly became his servants. That was good and appropriate.


But Jesus wanted more than that from them. He wanted more than their commitment and their service. He wanted their friendship – their intimacy, their absolute trust, their love.


And that could only happen once they truly knew who Jesus was – what he was all about, what drove him, what got him up in the morning, what song beat in his heart.


They got a glimpse of Jesus’ heart early on in their relationship.


The Apostles had gone into town to buy food while Jesus rested by a well outside of town (John 4). When a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well, Jesus engaged her in a spiritual conversation and tapped into her thirst for God. When she went back into town to tell them about Jesus, the Apostles returned to find him deeply satisfied, even though he hadn’t eaten.


They said, “Rabbi, eat something.’ 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”


At this point in their relationship, the Apostles didn’t know Jesus well enough to know what really made him happy, what thrilled his soul, what he fed on – doing the will of his beloved Father and finishing his work; watching one thirsty soul after another discover the true water of life.


At this point in their relationship, they had a committed and servile love for Jesus, but didn’t really know him. It was a good start, but Jesus wanted more from their relationship – he wanted them to both know and love him – to be his friend.


By the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, that goal was accomplished.


They finally understood how passionate Jesus was about doing the work of his Father and what the nature of that work was. It was “the family business” so to speak – and they were now finally prepared to take it over.


“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 15:15)


Jesus could now entrust “the family business” to them because they finally got him – they understood him – and to get him was to get the Father as well.


It’s the same with our Christian relationships in Christ.


It’s great to be committed to each other. That’s a great start.

And it’s important to serve each other. That’s appropriate.


But what we really want – the intimacy we crave – is to be both known and loved.

That makes us… friends.


As we continue to go deeper in this season of growth, Anthony Battle encouraged us in his sermon this past Sunday to:


1) Listen to the untold stories


Listen, learn, and come to know each other better.


2) Initiate – have great talks


It’s easy to settle for commitment and service in our church relationships. But it’s time to “initiate the great talks” that will lead us to a greater knowledge, love and friendship than ever before.


3) Pray – direct our wishes and laments to God first


Even with our best efforts, we will never fully know and love each other in this life. Have realistic expectations about that.


But there is One who, even now, knows everything about you – and loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He desperately wants to hear your wishes and laments every day, and he is able to do something about them. He wants to be your most intimate friend.


In this season of growth, let’s seek deeper intimacy with both God and each other.


Let’s be friends.

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