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“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

We’re looking at the ‘YOU ARE’ statements of Jesus. The ‘YOU ARE’ statements of Jesus remind us of the identity we have through our faith in Christ. Jesus never indicated in his teaching that his followers would be obscure and unprepared for the challenges before them. Quite the opposite. We are the salt that brings out the best in the world; we are the light to guide the world to fulfillment; we are so intertwined with the Son of God that others would be hard-pressed to see the difference between us and Him.

Now, Jesus moves further yet. Salt, light and abiding in him bring us into a friendship like none other. The fourth of our ‘YOU ARE’ statements is one that we tend to forget most often. Jesus tells us in John 15:15 that, “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.”

Think about what that verse is really saying. Jesus, the Son of God, the one who stood beside the Father and helped him create this beautiful world we live in calls us friends. Too often we get wrapped up in religious tradition and focus on the theology of scripture and, in so doing, lose the significance of the fact that God wants to be friends with you.

What must it have been like in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool evening air. The human couple, no doubt, had so many questions to ask their friend, and he enjoyed their company immensely.

That friendship was lost when Adam and Eve fell into sin. The whole story of mankind is God’s attempt at regaining the friendship he lost with us as a result of sin. That’s why Jesus came to die on the cross. It wasn’t just to forgive our sins. It wasn’t just so we could live in eternity with Christ in Heaven. It was because he wanted to restore a lost and cherished friendship with us.

When I was about 6 years old, my family spent an entire summer living in a small, borrowed cottage on a lake. A few cottages down from us, another family moved in to spend the summer as well. I was excited because this family had a boy my age. My new found friend and I played from sunrise to sunset exploring the shoreline, walking nearby trails, having all sorts of adventures.

One day we got into a horrible argument. I don’t remember to this day what it was about, but I do remember spending the next two or three days without my friend because we refused to talk with one another. I remember the loneliness. I remember the sadness. When good friends fight it cuts a part of you out.

I also remember reconciling the relationship. We both said we were sorry. There were a few moments of awkwardness, and then, as if nothing had happened, we were off on some new, exciting, great adventure. Our friendship was restored!

When Jesus says, I no longer call you servants, I call you friends, what he’s really doing is calling us back to the relationship he’d always wanted to have with us. A relationship that sin has kept us from having with him.

Sin isn’t a very popular term in our society. We like to call it poor choices, bad decisions or any number of other things. But the fact is, sin is sin and it separates us from a God who wants to befriend us but simply can’t outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, what does friendship with Jesus look like? I want to leave you with an acronym that reminds us of true friendship in our earthly realm and, especially with God through Jesus Christ. The acronym is the word CRUSH. Now, you might think it’s an odd acronym because usually we associate this word with passing feeling temporary infatuation, but bear with me on that part.

  1. The C in CRUSH stands for Confidant. Jesus says, in John 15:15, “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.

A good friend is one who is willing to confide in you about their deepest, darkest secrets. They are comfortable telling you their true feelings because they know they can trust you and that you won’t think less of them for how they feel.

Friendship with Jesus means he is willing to listen to our struggles, but not only that, he wants to help us understand life, others, and God himself. The deeper our friendship with Jesus, the easier it is to understand life.

  1. The R in CRUSH stands for Reliable. Proverbs 18:24 says “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Reliable friends are friends you can trust. They won’t lead you into things you shouldn’t be in. They won’t drag you into gossip or other activities that tarnish your relationship with family, God or others. You can trust a reliable friend to think of your best interests. You can trust Jesus to think of your best interests too.
  2. The U in CRUSH stands for Understanding. Proverbs 17:17 tells us that “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Loyal friends understand your feelings. They may not agree with them, but they will stand by you. Who better to understand you than Jesus? He was there when you were formed in your mothers womb. He has watched you grow up, been there through the struggles, sees your pain, your emotional scars, your fears, your worries. He will always be there for you.
  3. The S in CRUSH stands for Sincere. Proverbs 27:5-6 tells us, ‘Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’ This verse reminds us that good friends are sincere. When they see you on a slippery path to destruction they will warn you of the consequences; they may try to show you the error of your ways. But they will always do so in love. They will always stand by you even if you make the wrong choices.
  4. The H in CRUSH stands for Healing. The ultimate sacrifice is the sacrifice of one’s life for another. Jesus said, in John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

We celebrate the heroes of our lives, but the greatest hero of all is Jesus Christ. He gave his life so we can live, not only here on earth, but in eternity with him. By giving his life for us we can be healed or forgiven of our sins. He is a friend we can count on, and he earnestly wants to have a deepening friendship with us.

My prayer for us today is that we will remember that Jesus wants to grow deeper in friendship with us. There is nothing you have done, or will do that will cause him to longer be your friend. He offers you forgiveness and strength to face the battles ahead.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’m amazed that you would choose to be my friend. Thank you for giving your life for me and that you base your love for me on who you are and not on what I can do for you. In your name I pray, Amen.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

The story of Job is rich with lessons for each of us as we travel this journey called life. Here’s a man who ‘did everything right’ yet lost everything he had for no apparent reason to him. He’d lost his children, all of his wealth and the intimacy of a relationship with his wife. As he sat in emotional and physical agony his so-called friends show up and give him all sorts of answers as to why things happened the way they did.

All of their wisdom really could be boiled down to this: “Job, you messed up. You are a miserable sinner that God is punishing for your pride and arrogance. Why not just confess your sin. Everyone knows that tragedy only come because of our sin.”

They were wrong of course. We have the advantage of reading the entire script for the drama and seeing all that was going on backstage. Job was an innocent man. His trials were really the result of satanic attack. God himself was testified to His innocence and holiness backstage of the drama where only heavenly beings could hear.

Job is rich with lessons for our journey of life. God is in ultimate control of all that goes on in our lives. He allows things to happen. Painful things. Tragic things. Things that bring agony for a time. While He doesn’t explain Himself, we can know from the story of Job that although the agony is horrific, it isn’t always because of our sin and it is temporary. Even if it is sickness it is temporary because as Christ-followers were aren’t home yet. Our home is a place absent of sickness, pain, tears and death.

There’s another lesson we can learn from Job. It’s a lesson about prayer. After all his friends offered up their meaningless wisdom, God appeared to the three of them. Job was vindicated and his friends chastised.

After God was seen for who He was, the Bible tells us that Job prayed for his friends. There is no indication that he was healed of his pain or restored until he prayed for them. Imagine the scene. Job is still sitting in a pile of ashes. The piece of pottery he used to scrap his boils was laying nearby. All those involved were awestruck by the very presence of God. Then, in the midst of Job’s pain he prayed for his friends!

When we are in pain and agony we may hold that pain in because we wrongfully see pain as a sign of weakness. We may ask our friends to pray for us. But Job prayed for his friends even though he, himself had yet to be healed.

As we travel this journey called life there are many setbacks and hurdles along the way. Things that will hurt us to the point where we question if we can continue on. You could be suffering from the consequences of your own sin or poor decisions. You could be bearing the physical and/or emotional bruises of abuse. There could be no known reason for why you are in the place you are.

In the midst of your pain, don’t forget the pain of others. Job’s friends were wrong. They were judgmental, critical and compassionless. We all run across those people during our lives. People we’ve trusted laughed with and loved. Yet when times grew bad they turned on us. Follow the example of Job and pray for others in the midst of your pain.

Sometimes, in order to do this you will need to forgive others for their insensitivity. Sometimes you will need to overlook the fact that they are just plain wrong. Only you and your God know your heart. Never lose sight of the fact that while they can’t see your heart, you can’t see their heart and/or motives either.

After Job prayed, God blessed him. This wasn’t a small blessing. Job had all his wealth and more restored to him. I believe that one of the reasons he was restored so completely is because of his humble willingness to pray for those who mistreated him. This can only be done through the strength of God. Don’t let the pain of your own life cause you to overlook the pain of others.

PRAYER: Father God, I don’t understand why I have to endure some of this pain that you have placed along my path. I am so tired of so-called experts who offer all sorts of advice while overlooking my own pain or understanding my agony. Help me to forgive them and pray for them. Give me words of encouragement I can offer them even though they can’t return the favor. Thank you for being in complete control of all I do and am. Help me to trust you in the darkness. Amen.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22 (NLT)

There is nothing as painful as being betrayed by a close friend. When we were created in God’s image, one aspect of that was the need for intimacy and love. Jehovah God is love. That means that His very essence, His very make up is love and love means relationship. When relationship it broken it hurts us because it attacks our feelings about whom we really are. Broken relationships equal rejection and rejection cuts to the very soul.

King David knew about being rejected. In Psalm 55 he states that being rejected and attacked by an enemy hurts, but that is to be expected. Being attacked by a friend, especially a close intimate friend, hurts more than anything else because it destroys faith and trust. The burden he talks about in verse 22 is the burden of being rejected by a close, personal friend. When that happens, he says, he turns to the one friend that never lets him down.

Another person that knew what it was like to be rejected was Jesus. On the night before he was crucified one of his closest friend came to him and kissed him on the cheek. That was a very intimate act on the part of Judas. But it wasn’t real. It was self-serving and malicious. It eventually led to Jesus’ death and Judas felt so guilty and ashamed for what he’d done to his friend that he committed suicide the next day.

Jesus knows rejection. That’s why he’s such a good friend to have. True friends stand with us during the hard times, are patient with us when we fail, uplift us when we are discouraged, love us enough to tell us the truth and never keep us from being who we want to be. They give us room to grow and a shield from danger or discouragement.

Even the best of friends will fail us at some time simply because they can’t fully understand  how we feel because they can’t look inside us and see our heart or read our minds. Jesus is the perfect best friend because He’s also God. Jesus knows exactly how you feel on the inside. As our Best Friend Forever (B. F. F.) Jesus will stand by you in during the times when no one else knows how you feel.

John W. Peterson wrote a song shortly after he experienced a huge let down from a friend. It goes like this:

No One Understands Like Jesus by John W. Peterson

 No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare;

Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there.

 No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels;

Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals.

 No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail;

You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail!

 No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way;

Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today.


No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim;

No one is so near, so dear as Jesus–Cast your ev’ry care on Him!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you today that you fully and completely understand my every thought, my every feeling and my every fear. I confess to you that sometimes I’ve not been a good friend to others and let them down miserably. I have also felt the pain of being rejected and abandoned by people I thought loved me but really only wanted to use me. There have been times I even have felt like You abandoned me. Help me to feel your presence and love today; to learn to walk with you and lay every care, concern, fear and hurt at  Your feet. Wrap your arms of love around me. Amen

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 1 Samuel 23:16

David was just a simple shepherd boy given a huge opportunity by God. Being a shepherd was a lonely existence in which you would sometimes spend months alone in the hills with just a bunch of sheep, facing the elements, attack by wildlife and tending to a bunch of animals prone to wander off.

All that changed when David was thrust into the political spotlight as a result of God’s choice for him to be king. He must have felt every emotion imaginable during this time of his life. Loneliness and fear may have gripped him from time to time in the hill country. But he learned during that time to trust God for safety, wisdom and provision.

He no doubt was overwhelmed when the Prophet, Samuel, anointed him and informed him and his family that David would be the next King of Israel. The excitement of the possibilities no doubt grew when he was invited into the palace to live with King Saul. Here he learned the political ins and outs of ruling a country.

He learned to be patient during the confusing times when the king tried to kill him during Saul’s frequent fits of rage and anger. Where was God’s promise? Why did he bring me here only to face more danger? David knew how to fight lions and bears, not kings.

There must have been times he was ready to give up on God’s promise. To return to the hills and tend sheep as his family had done for years. But something kept him going. One of those things was a friendship with Saul’s own son, Jonathan. Time after time Jonathan intervened on David’s behalf, risking his own life so that David would be safe.

Jonathan had nothing to gain and everything to lose being David’s friend. David was the one person who stood before him and the throne. He was well aware of the fact that in order for David to be King he would have to die. Yet he encouraged David to be strong and encouraged his faith by telling him to stay strong.

In each of our lives we encounter hardships and trials. These are painful life experiences that seem to want to sap the energy and strength from our very lives. During these times we need to seek out good, Godly friendships. We need people who we can rely on to encourage us during the down times, be honest with us when we need to hear honesty and listen to us when we just need to vent.

Surround yourselves with sincere, Jesus following friends who lift you up and spur you on to greatness. Godly friends are those who selflessly encourage us to rely on God and pursue the very best for our lives.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for the examples you give us in the Bible of true friends such as Jonathan and David. Lead me into circles of your followers who will listen to my dreams, be patient with my struggles and lead me into a closer relationship with you so that I can attain all you want me to be. Amen.

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