Some social media platforms use words like “friends” and “tribe” to help people feel like they are a part of a community and something bigger than themselves. This language is used to promote sharing, togetherness and relationship.
But the deepest, most powerful and transformative relationships are based upon transparency, trust and genuine displays of love and affection. People often join social groups hoping to experience deeper levels of intimacy and greater experiences of connection. Sadly however, they often come away lonelier than when they joined, disappointed that connections remained shallow, and discontent at the lack of true transparency. Hoping desperately to have a positive response by showing commitment to the group, they take the often scary step of making themselves vulnerable to others first, only to quickly discover that what is reciprocated is shallower than they’d hoped, circumstantial at best and sometimes overly demanding.
Jesus on the other hand refers to His followers as friends, except He backs it up.
In John 15:12-16, Jesus shares with His closest followers that He does not only call them friends, but does so not withholding anything back from them. He clarifies that He’s sharing all the information that He’s been entrusted with from His Father.
He chooses His friends unreservedly, unconditionally and does so desiring to have complete transparency with them. Jesus’ lonely, painful death is not far away, yet He shows how much He has His friends on His mind and heart.
Jesus is about to experience His most lonely moment. He’ll experience desperation, isolation and separation all to ensure that when we are faced with those experiences, we can talk with someone who has been there and totally gets it.