In John 13, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet, holding high the value of serving. He challenges them to embrace their identity as servants. Moments later Jesus tells His disciples that they are more than servants. He calls them friends.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his 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 15:13–15 NIV)
When Jesus proclaims His eternal friendship to His disciples, Judas is noticeably missing. He is not there to hear the proclamation, to be declared one of Jesus’ friends. Before Jesus assured the disciples of their eternal friendship, Jesus asked His betrayer to leave (John 13:27). In other words, Jesus does not toss the friendship word around lightly.
By His grace, He calls us, those of us who know Him, His friends. He reveals Himself to us, allowing us to know Him personally. He invites us to join Him on His mission of reconciling people to Himself. He walks with us. He comforts and encourages us. There is not a friend like Jesus.
Adapted from Identity (2008, B&H Publishing Group)