Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

John 15 ‘Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.’ (v15)

All of us long for friendship. We long to be loved, cared for, and helped to realise that we matter.

It must have been amazing for the disciples to hear Jesus’ words: ‘I no longer call you servants, now I call you friends.’

When these words were spoken, something profound happened in their lives. Suddenly their status in the world was changed from being simply followers, to being friends of Jesus.

The Church as a Community of God’s Friends

Friends of God. What a wonderful gift! And that gift is still available today. One way in which we could describe the Church is that we are a community of the friends of God.

Of course, we don’t always live up to our God-given status as friends of Jesus. During the pandemic, when we were only allowed out for an hour’s worth of exercise every day, I met one of my neighbours for the first time.


Mary was in her eighties and rarely left her house. She said something to me that I will never forget: ‘They are talking about social distancing.

Lessons from a Pandemic

It feels like people have been socially distancing from me for years! It has taken a pandemic for people to start to notice me and knock on my door to see that I’m OK.’

I felt convicted. I claimed to be a friend of Jesus, but I wasn’t acting like one. Jesus’ friendships were always for the marginalised, the outcast, the sinner, the lonely, the Marys of this world.

The Simple Guiding Question

To be a friend of Jesus requires that we (all of us together) reach out in Christlike friendship to those who are ignored and forgotten by society.

In a world that craves friendship and love, the question that must guide our lives is deceptively simple: What would Jesus do?


A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord, thank You for friendship. Help us to honour the status of being friends of Jesus and work with You to bring love, hope, and friendship to our neighbours. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Take some time today to think about people in your neighbourhood who need the friendship of Jesus. Offer it to them.

Scripture To Consider:
Ps. 33; Isa. 33:2–6; Eph. 2:1–10; Titus 3:3–8

Rev. Dr. John Swinton is founder of the university's Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability.