“I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known unto you.”– Joh_15:15.
I HAVE READ somewhere that when Michael Angelo was in the height of his fame, a boy named Raphael–destined to be his worthy successor–was introduced to him as a promising pupil. At first the lad was employed in the simplest duties of the studio, cleaning brushes and mixing paints, but as he developed the qualities of exactness, punctuality, and sympathy, he became entrusted with increasing responsibility, until the master made him his friend and confidant. So we come to Christ, first, as redeemed from the slavery of Satan, to be His servants, and He calls us His friends.
A friend will reveal himself. All the world may suppose that it knows a famous man, but after all, if he calls me his friend, I expect to get closer to him and hear from his own lips items of confidential information. Thus it is with the Lord Jesus. He manifests Himself to those who love Him, and keep His word, as He does not to the world.
A friend will interest his friends in his undertakings. It is a joy to Christ when those whom He loves are able to take a share in His world-wide redemptive schemes. For us, of course, it is a high honour, but it is as great a pleasure and delight to Him as it is for some loving soul to have the pleasure of working with that other twin-soul, to which it is attached. It is wonderful that Jesus is glad to have us as His fellow-workers.
A friend will be interested in our failures and successes. Not otherwise is it with our Lord. When He sees some peril menacing us, does He not make the trial-hour one of special intercession? If we fail, He meets us with the same tender affection, not alienated from us, but only intensely sorry, ready to point out the cause of our failure and to encourage us to try again. If we stand our ground, He meets us as we come forth from the fight, glad for us, eager to refresh us in our weariness, careful to heal any wound that we may have received.
Such is the Friendship of Jesus. He is always the same, His love never wanes, its manifestations are never remiss. Is it not worthwhile to make every effort so to keep His commandments that our entire abandonment to Him may induce His entire abandonment to us?
Heavenly Father, we pray that Jesus Christ may become dearer to us. May we love Him as a personal Friend, and hide ourselves in the hourly consciousness of His presence. May we have no taste or desire for things which He would disapprove. Let His love constrain us not to live unto ourselves, but to His glory. AMEN.