Over the last number of weeks, we’ve been journeying through the book of Song of Songs. In this beautiful love song we see the beauty, the glory, and the tender leadership of Jesus as he gently, and with divine precision, draws His bride deeper into His heart.
Throughout her transformation from immature love to mature love, we see the Bridegroom-Jesus speaking words of life and affirmation over the bride.
Even though, at times, she stumbled and disobeyed, Jesus’ redemptive words broke through the shame, the fear, and the lies.
O, how we need to hear the words of our Friend and Savior as He sings His songs of deliverance over us (Zeph. 3:1).
God does not define our lives by our weaknesses and stumbling. Instead, He defines our lives by the sincere reach of our hearts. Because He defines us this way, when we come to Him in our weakness He speaks into us that which awakens strength in our hearts.
He speaks things that are not as though they are (Romans 4:17). He calls forth light when/where there is no light (Genesis 1). He calls the dead girl, “asleep” though she was dead (Luke 8:52). God called Gideon a “mighty man of valor” when Gideon was hiding in fear from the Midianites (Judges 6:12). God speaks destiny and identity into our hearts even when we do not (or cannot) see it.
One of my favorite examples of this is in John 15.
In this passage, Jesus looks at his weak yet sincere disciples and calls them forth into their destiny as beloved partners with Him.
(John. 15:14,15) 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does no know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Jesus tells them that his love language is 100-fold obedience. He said that they were His friends IF they did EVERYTHING He commanded them to do.
The disciples certainly did not obey everything He commanded. In fact, they were pretty messed up.
Consider the disciple’s shortcomings for a moment:
Peter denied Jesus, and even rebuked Him on occasion.
James tried to broker a backroom deal to sit at Jesus’ right hand in eternity (much to the displeasure of the others).
John wanted to burn down a whole village because they didn’t receive the message of the Kingdom.
Bartholomew once – before becoming a disciple – mocked Jesus saying, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Matthew was a tax collector – enough said.
Thomas doubted the resurrection.
Simon was a zealot and wanted to violently overthrow the Roman oppressors and even any Jew that would be working with them (which would have included fellow disciple Matthew).
And, of course, Judas betrayed Jesus.
So, to sum is all up, the disciples were immature, unbelieving, lying, cheating, angry, violent, mocking, conniving people who denied and betrayed Jesus.
And here is Jesus saying that they are His friends if they do everything He commands them.
I can almost hear Peter saying, “But Jesus, we don’t always do what you command! We don’t always obey.”
Then Jesus says, “Well, I call you friend…”
In other words, Jesus is calling obedience out of these young men. By prophesying friendship into His disciples, He is calling forth obedience out of His disciples.
Beloved, as we seek to grow in Christ, it is important that we listen to the Voice that calls us beloved – the voice that calls us friend.
Hear, even now, the Lord singing over you, “You are all fair, my love. And there is no spot in you” (Song 4:7).