14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Jesus now announces a new status for those who follow Him.
14 You are My friends
Jesus defines what it means to be His friend. He spoke here to the apostles. They were no mere acquaintances to Jesus; they had a personal relationship with Him.
if you do whatever I command you.
True friends subject themselves to Jesus. Obedience is not what makes the apostles friends of Christ; it what characterizes friends of the Lord.
Friendship with the Lord is not reciprocal friendship. Jesus will not become friends with the apostles depending on His doing what they ask. Nowhere in Scripture is either the Father or the Son a friend of a finite human being. Abraham and Moses were called friends of God, but God was not their friend (2 Chr 20:7 Is 41:8; Ja 2:23; Ex 33:11). Lazarus was Jesus’ friend, but He was not a friend of anyone. The point here is that God does not have a mutual, reciprocal friendship with believers.
Friends of Jesus are characterized by responding to His protocols for life.
We are Jesus’ friends without qualification, without performance. It is important to note that Jesus’ love for us is not conditional nor is it based on performance. However, the friends of Jesus are those who do His behests. Jesus is never called our friend. The nature of our friendship was not mutual. On Jesus part friendship involved giving commands and on the disciples’ part appropriation of those behests to their lives.
Note that Jesus did not say “I am a friend of yours.” The hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus finds no basis in the Bible. It is not biblical to lower the status of Jesus to a human level of friendship. We are His friends, not He our friend.
Friendship depends on common viewpoints and aims so friendship with Jesus rests on His values. Assurance that we are in phase with Jesus comes with living out His principles. Friends of Jesus are those who own what He owns and does what He does. Jesus’ friends are the objects of His love (Jn 15:13). They are those who appropriate what He teaches (Jn 15:14).
Abraham and Moses were friends of God (Ex 33:11; 2 Chr 20:7; Isa 41:8; Ja 2:23) because they appropriated what God said to their experience.