“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father. “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you John 15:11-16 MSG
The word friend used here is philos: translated as beloved, dear, friendly, a friend, an associate. A friend that is someone dearly loved and prized in a personal, intimate way; a trusted confidant, held dear in a close bond of personal affection. The root word conveys experiential, personal affection – indicating phílos expresses experience-based love.
Is it really possible to have that kind of relationship with Jesus? God? To be his trusted confidant? To experience his personal affection? The answer is a joyful YES!
The bible names Abraham and Moses as friends of God. We know God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), so it is possible for us to experience that same kind of friendship with God which Abraham and Moses enjoyed.
Isaiah 41:8 8-" But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend." And James 2:23"'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God."
When God had determined to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord said to Himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” Philo quotes this text from the Septuagint, as “Shall I hide this thing from Abraham My Friend?”
Exodus 33:11 “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend”
In the New Testament we see Jesus had many friends. He was called a friend of sinners because he would fellowship and eat with them. He had friendships with the 70 he sent out to witness in Luke 10. But in John 6 we see many of these leaving, they didn't have a deep enough level of loyalty built into their friendship with Jesus to continue with him.
60 Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.” Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.” After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him.
Some of Jesus's friendship went even deeper including affection. John called himself "the one whom Jesus loved". It was John who Jesus asked to care for his mother after his death at the cross. Jesus was a frequent visitor at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Their house is considered by some scholars to be Jesus's "home away from home" When Lazarus became ill, the sisters sent word to Jesus asking him to come because "the one you love so very much is sick.”(John 11:3) Peter seems to be one of his closest friends. He was present with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matt 17), in the house of a dead girl raised to life (Luke 8:49-56), and before Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46). It was Peter who replied when Jesus ask "Do you also want to leave?"
“Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”(John 6:68-69)
Are you interested in a friendship with Jesus? If you are, that desire comes from the Father. It is an invitation because He believes you would be a good friend for his son. They've talked it over and Jesus has made his choice. He sent you a friend request. Will you accept his request or ignore it?
This excerpt from one of Charles Spurgeon's sermon "Friend of God" sums it up.
"Do you wish to be a friend of God? Well, then, first you must be fully reconciled to Him. Of course you cannot remain His enemy and be His friend—that is clear enough. If you are pardoned through the sacrifice of Jesus, if you are justified by His righteousness, if you are regenerated by His Spirit, you are no longer God’s enemy, yet that will not entitle you to be called the friend of God. It will entitle you to call God your friend, and your helper, but you must go further than that, if you would be His friend. Love must be created in your heart, gratitude must beget attachment, and attachment must cause delight. You must rejoice in the Lord, and maintain close communion with Him. To be friends, we must exercise a mutual choice; the God who has chosen you must be chosen by you. Most deliberately, heartily, resolutely, undividedly, you must choose God to be your God and your friend. Beloved, there can be no friendship between you and God without your own full consent, or without your ardent desire. What do you say to this? "