“You are my friends if you do what I am commanding you.”—JOHN 15:14.
THE men sitting in the upper room with Jesus came from a variety of backgrounds. The brothers Peter and Andrew had been fishermen. Matthew was formerly a tax collector—a member of a profession that was despised by the Jews. Some, such as James and John, had likely known Jesus from boyhood. Others, such as Nathanael, may have known him for only a few years. (John 1:43-50) Yet, all present on that momentous Passover night in Jerusalem were convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. (John 6:68, 69) It must surely have warmed their hearts to hear him say to them: “I have called you friends, because all the things I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”—John 15:15.
Those words of Jesus to his faithful apostles apply in principle to all anointed Christians today and, by extension, to their “other sheep” companions. (John 10:16) No matter what our background, we can have the privilege of being friends of Jesus. Our friendship with him is of utmost importance because being his friends makes us friends of Jehovah too. In fact, it is impossible to draw close to Jehovah without first drawing close to Christ. (Read John 14:6, 21.) What, then, must we do to become and remain friends of Jesus?