In Biblical times one did not claim casual acquaintances as friends. Friendship was a loving contract that came with obligations. If someone called you friend that meant they would:
· fight your battles with and for you
· pay your debts
· plan, run and help pay for your wedding
· watch over your family when you journeyed
Jewish writings both biblical and non-biblical constantly speak of how important good friends are. Listen to a passage from the Jewish book of Sirach…
7When you gain friends, gain them through testing, and do not
trust them hastily. 8For there are friends who are such when it
suits them, but they will not stand by you in time of trouble. 10And
there are friends who sit at your table, but they will not stand by
you in time of trouble. 14Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
whoever finds one has found a treasure. 15Faithful friends are
beyond price; no amount can balance their worth. 16Faithful
friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.
We are in John 15, where Jesus calls those who believe in him, his friends. My goal for us is for every one of us to leave changed because we understand the weight and significance of being Jesus friend.