“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
It is an immeasurable privilege to be a servant of Christ. But this apparently isn’t enough. Jesus wants to give us more, to confer an even greater honor. Servants are often kept on the outside, but he lets us in.
So, do we relate to God more like a servants or friends? Are we enjoying our new privilege in the gospel? What’s the difference?
- The servant merely obeys because he’s told to, the friend also obeys because he wants to.
- The servant is told what to do, the friend is told the reasons why.
- The servant obeys in order to be accepted, the friend because he’s already accepted.
- The servant does things out of obligation, but the friend out of joy.
- The servant only comes if there is a reason, but the friend is welcome anytime.
- The servant only talks about tasks that must be done, but the friend talks about anything at all.
- The servant brings the food to the master, the friend eats it with him.
- The servant only feels obligation, but the friend a sense of privilege
- The servant needs to justify his presence, but the friend himself is reason enough.
J.I. Packer, in his book Knowing God, wrote
There is… great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, he wants me as his friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given his Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose (42).
Have we received this honor? If you think, “I’m not worthy of this,” then you have actually grasped the point. This is scandalous; it’s supposed to shock us.