Friended. It’s a word . . . at least in the Urban dictionary. As in a verb “to friend.” As in, “Hey dude, friended you last night on Facebook. Did you see it?” Crazy.
For years I’ve thought that Facebook has redefined what friendship is . . . and not for the better. I appreciate the connected-ness it facilitates and, to be sure, it has enabled people to maintain a breadth of relationships that simply could not be matched by letter-writing, phone-calling, or e-mailing. But can you really have hundreds and hundreds of friends? Real friends? People who you know inside and out. People who know you through and through. People that you’ve shared real life with, not just virtual life. People you’d go to the mat for . . . and are pretty sure would do the same for you. It matters how we define friends. Because it makes a world of difference when Jesus says, “You are My friends . . . I have called you friends.”
Thinking about Jesus “friending” me this morning. Came across something I wrote back in 2010. Thought I’d update it a bit, clean it up a bit, and re-share it. So thankful this morning that Jesus has friended me.
According to Facebook, I have 263 “friends.” I know that in the Facebook world that’s not a lot of “friends.” And I’m only mentioning it ’cause that’s what Facebook says.
I’m not a really engaged “Facebook-er.” I don’t post except to post a link to my devo. I’ll send messages occasionally. Every so often I might even “Like” something. But mostly I just leverage Facebook to keep tabs on “my friends” . . . 263 of them.
Really? Maintain 263 “friendships?” Is that even possible? And, like I said, my list, from what I gather, is relatively small. I guess there are “friends” and then there are “friends.” But I wonder if, in the world of Facebook, we haven’t cheapened a bit what it means to be “a friend.”
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” ~ Jesus
(John 15:15 ESV)
Now there’s a “friend request” you don’t want to decline. Friended by Jesus. How amazing is that?
He was their Teacher. He was their Master. They increasingly recognized that He was the Son of God and so they called Him Lord. And now, as He instructs them for the last time before heading to the cross, He calls the disciples His friends.
And what made them friends? They knew what Jesus was doing. They were be being let in on what Jesus was thinking. They were brought into the inner circle of what Jesus had heard from the Father. They were being schooled in the things of the kingdom of heaven. And, as such, Jesus called them friends.
What a thought . . . that I might also be considered a friend by the risen, glorious, reigning Christ. Invited to commune and abide with Him. Told that He desires to commune and abide with me.
It’s not just that every so often He’ll post something on “my wall” . . . or comment on something I’ve shared. No, instead it is about intimacy. About getting really real. About imparting to us His mind through the Spirit via the Word. About knowing us from the inside out–our thoughts, out motivations, our highs, our lows. It’s not played out on some public forum for all our other “friends” to follow along with. Instead, mostly it’s played out in the quite times . . . when we’re one on One with Him.
That Jesus would call me His friend should cause me to pause and reflect in awe and wonder. Me . . . once dead in trespasses and sins . . . once an enemy of God . . . now a friend of Jesus. Not because of who I am . . . not because of what I’ve done (actually despite what I’ve done). But only because of who He is and because of what He’s done to make possible and enable such relationship. All through the finished work of the cross. All by His unfathomable and immeasurable grace.
We don’t “friend” Jesus, He “friends” us (John 15:16). It’s not His privilege to be added to our list, but our eternal blessing that our names should be written in His Book.
I draw near as I would to a friend, and He draws near to me. I confide in Him as to a friend, and He comforts and gives a peace that passes understanding. I, heeding His invitation, boldly approach His throne as would a friend, and the King of kings welcomes me into His presence.
He calls me friend. I bow before Him as Savior and Lord.
What a friend we have in Jesus.
By His grace. For His glory!