Friends of Jesus

Came across this interesting paragraph while preparing my sermon out of John 15. Curious what you all think of his point.

Although there is a sense in which Jesus gives his life for the world (1:29, 34; 3:16; etc.), there is another in which he dies for his friends. Who then are his friends? You are my friends if you do what I command. This obedience is not what makes them friends; it is what characterizes his friends. Clearly, then, this ‘friendship’ is not strictly reciprocal: these friends of Jesus cannot turn around and say that Jesus will be their friend if he does what they say. Although Abraham (2 Chr. 20:7; Is. 41:8; Jas. 2:23) and Moses (Ex. 33:11) are called friends of God, God is never called their friend; although Jesus can refer to Lazarus as his friend (Jn. 11:11), Jesus is not called the friend of Lazarus. Neither God nor Jesus is ever referred to in Scripture as the ‘friend’ of anyone. Of course, this does not mean that either God or Jesus is an ‘unfriend’: if one measures friendship strictly on the basis of who loves most, guilty sinners can find no better and truer friend than in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Son whom he has sent. But mutual, reciprocal friendship of the modern variety is not in view, and cannot be without demeaning God.

– D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Pillar NT Commentary Series).


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