I cannot tell you how many times I have stepped on a close friend’s toes and let the situation get way out of control. How great it is that we have an understanding friend like Jesus. He sets the perfect example. Let’s re-familiarize ourselves with John 15:9-17.
(vs 9)As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.( 10) If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in His love.( 11) I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (12) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. ( 13) Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his FRIENDS. (14) You are my FRIENDS if you do what I command. (15) I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you FRIENDS, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (16) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (17) This is my command: Love each other.
This was pretty cool to me the first time I read this. Jesus is hanging out with all the disciples and things are going great. Jesus is teaching, His disciples are hanging on every word and loving every minute they get to spend with Jesus. If you’ll notice, Jesus refers to His disciples as FRIENDS 3 times. Yeah, they’re all friends. They support each other, they care for each other, they love each other.They’ve got each others’ backs.
Now, let’s fast forward. Jesus has been betrayed by one of His own, Judas. His friend Peter, has denied Him three times, Thomas now doubts Him and the others ran away when things got tough. Jesus is sentenced to death on a cross and none of His so called friends does a thing about it. Jesus is crucified on the cross and He dies. Now days later the disciples are all upset and confused. They have nothing to do, no teacher to learn from and follow. So, they go back to doing what they know best….Fish. Lets pickup the story in John 21. (1)Afterward Jesus appeared again to His disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: (2) Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. (3) “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. (4) Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. (5) He called to them, “FRIENDS, haven’t you any fish?” John 21:1-5
Um, did you catch that? The men that supposedly knew Jesus so well and supported Him didn’t even recognize Him. They have now come face to face with the risen Savior. Awkward! Remember what happened … Peter denied Him, Thomas doubted Him, and all the rest faded into the background when things got tough. If I was one of those disciples, I would have hung my head in shame for not defending Jesus or sticking close by Him. But, after all they did, Jesus calls out to them and addresses them as FRIENDS. He still calls them His FRIENDS because He loves them so much. . Wow! How powerful is that? No matter what we have ever done to Jesus, His love for us will never change. He is always there to forgive and to be by our side. He is our forever FRIEND. I want to be that kind of FRIEND. What a FRIEND we truly have in Jesus.