John 15.12-14 cont.
15 I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his lord does; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I heard from My Father.
At this point Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to call them His friends.
Yet we still see that in the rest of the New Testament we are continually referred to as slaves or servants.
In particular Paul described himself as a bond slave:
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His Good News – Romans 1.1 (NLT).
James did the same:
This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes”, Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! – James 1.1 (NLT).
How are we to hold these two positions together? Being the friends of Jesus, whilst at the same time being the servants or slaves of Jesus?
It may be difficult in our society to imagine that a servant of some large household could also be the friend of the Master of the house. The servants of such households are kept in their place and usually have no contact with the family members, unless invited to do so.
Jesus is the Master of the household of God and He gives us the invitation to have fellowship with Him.
He initiated this with His disciples, and He did so by sharing with them the things that He heard His Father saying.
In other words the friends of Jesus are brought into the relationship of being informed as to what God is going to do.
W Barclay states that in the ancient world a king, or ruler of a nation, would have friends who had access into His presence, even into his bedroom. Barclay tells us that the king would often consult and share things with his friends before he would talk with his generals and statesmen.
Jesus has made it possible for us to have direct access to Him and the Father. It is an intimacy of fellowship that we can only know because Jesus died on the cross and opened the way to God. Once we were the enemies of God. Now we have been reconciled to Him through Jesus, and so we have become His friends.
Yet we are still His servants, called to do His will here on earth.