From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Sixteen, Day One
Jesus is not only Lord and Master but the greatest of all friends, who willingly proved his friendship by his death on the cross. By this costly gesture he has won the friendship of millions of men and women from every tongue and tribe and nation. When you pray to Jesus your Friend, you are praying to the One who loved you before you were loveable and who links you together with his many friends throughout the world.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13
His Name Revealed
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because servants do not know their master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. >John 15: 9-16
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. >Romans 5:6-11
Jesus, you valued my friendship more than you valued your life. How can I begin to understand that kind of love? Help me to be among those you count as faithful friends, living in a way not that repays your friendship, because that is impossible, but in a way that reflects my gratitude. Thank you, my Friend. Amen.
Understanding the Name
The Greek word philos (FEE-los) means "friend" or "relative." Occurring twenty-eight times in the New Testament, it is also used to describe the close relationship that exists among believers, related to each other by virtue of their faith in Jesus. This word is related to phileo, the most general term for "to love" in the New Testament, and to the word philema, which means "a kiss." In fact, the early Christians used to greet each other with a holy kiss, signifying their close relationship.
John's Gospel indicates that Jesus not only called his disciples his friends but defined his own relationship with them by what was to be the greatest of all acts of friendship, in which he would lay down his life for them. Unlike most men of his day, Jesus had both male and female friends. Luke addressed his Gospel to someone named Theophilus, a proper name meaning "friend of God." The designation "friends" has survived as another name for those who belong to the religious group known as Quakers.
Studying the Name
- Explain in your own words how Jesus defines friendship in the passage from >John 15: 9-16.
- Describe the best friendship you have ever had. How does it compare with the way you have experienced Jesus' friendship?
- How can you deepen your friendship with Christ?
- If Jesus died for us while we were still his enemies, as >Romans 5:6-11 tells us, how should we regard our own enemies?
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.