About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
In John 15:15 we read
that Jesus told His disciples that they were no longer His servants, but
"I no longer call
you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.
Instead, I have called you friends, for
everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
A few moments later, in
John 15:20, we read that Jesus implied that His friends were His servants.
He said this:
"Remember what I
told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If
they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my
teaching, they will obey yours also.'"
What was Jesus saying?
Were His disciples friends or servants?
Peter would have been
present when Jesus called him and the other disciples friends, but he
still called himself a servant, as seen in 2 Peter 1:1.
"Simon Peter, a
servant and apostle of Jesus Christ ..."
Like Peter, the apostle
Paul called himself a servant. Romans
1:1 says this:
"Paul, a servant of
Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle ..."
So what's going on here?
Were Peter and Paul confused?
Were they Jesus' friends or His servants?
The two Greek words
translated as "servant" in the New Testament are
"doulos" and "diakonos."
Doulos is translated as "servant" and
"servants" in the above verses.
In the first-century, Greco-Roman, world, a doulos was the lowest
of all servants. A diakonos
was just an ordinary servant. Over
time, doulos came to mean "a servant by choice," or, "a
bond-servant." This fact
is important in understanding the issue at hand.
"friends" in John 15:15 and 20 is translated from the Greek word
suggests reciprocal friendship based on mutual love that freely flows from
one person to another. Philos
is often understood to be brotherly love.
John could have used the Greek word "agapetos" instead of
"philos" that he used throughout his first letter.
Agapetos expresses friendship based on sacrificing one's self for a
friend, whether that friend reciprocates the sacrificial love or not.
I'm sure that John chose his words carefully.
Philos, in this instance, would have properly conveyed what Jesus
was saying, and that was, serving Him is based on a mutual, loving,
friendship between Jesus and His disciples.
I call it friendship based service.
I conclude, then, that I
am both a friend of Jesus and a servant of Jesus.
My service to Him is a product of my choosing to participate in a
free-flowing, reciprocal, loving relationship between Jesus and me