"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends--if you do what I command. . . . I have called you friends." John 15:13-15
The central fact in every true Christian life, is a personal friendship with Jesus. Men were called to follow Him, to leave all and cleave to Him, to believe on Him, to trust Him, to love Him, to obey Him; and the result was the transformation of their lives into His own beauty!
That which alone makes one a Christian, is being a friend of Jesus. Friendship transforms--we become like those with whom we live in close, intimate relations. Life flows into life, heart and heart are knit together, spirits blend, and the two friends become one. We have but little to give to Christ; yet it is a comfort to know that our friendship really is precious to Him, and gives Him joy--poor and meager though its best may be. But He has infinite blessings to give to us.
The friendship of Jesus includes all other blessings for time and for eternity! If Christ is our friend, all of life is made rich and beautiful to us. "I have called you friends." When King Cyrus gave Artabazus, one of his courtiers, a 'gold cup'; he gave Chrysanthus, his favorite, only a 'kiss'. And Artabazus said to Cyrus, "The gold cup you gave me, was not so precious as the kiss you gave Chrysanthus." No good man's money is ever worth as much as his love.
Certainly the greatest honor of this earth, greater than rank or station or wealth--is the friendship of Jesus Christ. The stories of the friendships of Jesus when He was on the earth, need cause no one to sigh, "I wish that I had lived in those days, when Jesus lived among men--that I might have been His friend too--feeling the warmth of His love, my life enriched by contact with His, and my spirit quickened by His love and grace!" The friendships of Jesus, whose stories we read in the New Testament, are only patterns of friendships into which we may now enter--if we are ready to consecrate our life to Him in faithfulness and love.
(J. R. Miller, "The Friendships of Jesus" 1897)