Tell me about your friend
The Gospel text this week is from John 15: 9-17. It is the story about Jesus calling his followers as his friends. He gives a distinction about how they used to be slaves who do not know about what is in the mind of their master to becoming friends of Jesus who knows his plans. I want to highlight here the shift of the followers from slaves to friends. They are the same people. The followers did nothing in themselves to warrant them to be called friends of Jesus. These followers did not win the lottery or became richer. They did not get promoted or had top level jobs. They are of the same stature from how Jesus knew them until that moment. Yet, Jesus recognized a change of his relationship with them. They were no longer slaves but now his friends. The shift could mean many things but obviously it means as slaves, they belonged to a lower relational level with Jesus but now elevated to a higher relational level of being Jesus’ friends.
It is an interesting thing to ask the reason for the shift in the relationship. Looking closely at verse 16, Jesus said that he chose and appointed his followers to be his friends. It was not from their own doing. In his commentary, Barnes said that Jesus calling his followers as friends “refers here, doubtless, to his choosing or electing them to be apostles. He says that it was not because they had chosen him to be their teacher and guide, but because he had designated them to be his apostles.”
I am interrupted by a thought from a fellow co-worker, “so what does this mean to us?”
It is often the most difficult part. As pastor and friend of Jesus, I am expected to offer some insights to my colleagues how does the Gospel speak to us today.
I was thinking this. As Christian workers in the hospital, we are the followers of Jesus. Jesus called us to be his friends not out of our own reasons or doing. We are his friends because Jesus chose us to be his friends. Not because we are doctors. Not because we have helped many sick people. Not because of our good deeds. Nothing from our own merit is the reason. It is simply because of Jesus.
Now I realized, I do not have to be the one always sharing reflections on the Bible. We are all friend of Jesus and you all also have the same mind of Christ. So, FRIENDS, tell me… what does the text mean for us today?