Friday, May 10, 2013

Privileged Intimacy ~ Series on Friendship

". . . I have called you friends. . ." John 15:15

Scholars find numerous references to the philosophy of friendship when they study the great thinkers of centuries long ago like Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato. Frequently the Greco-Roman writers discuss the topic of friendship suggesting it takes a variety of forms, as alliances or patrons or clients. Greeks traditionally hold a concept that friendship is mutual companionship, emphasizing loyalty and equality. The Greeks maintain that a true friendship is an intimate relationship where there is mutual sharing of possessions and confidences. This is the kind of friendship that Jesus reveals in John chapter 15, when He denotes the differences between a servant and a friend. 

When John retells these last conversations of Jesus, he uses the Greek word philios for friends. This means a friend dearly loved, a personal, intimate bond, a trusted, confidential relationship. In one of His last conversations, Jesus is telling the Disciples that they are His dearly loved and trusted friends. Jesus describes His deep love for them, "I've loved you the way my Father has loved Me." (vs.10) During these last hours together, Jesus once again reveals Himself as Lord and Master, but instead of servants, He calls them friends. Friendship with Jesus exceeds loyalty; He defines holy friendship as a promise of privileged intimacy. - dho