14 Jan

The Essence of Friendship

Passage: John 15:9-17

“The church itself is not made up of natural friends. It is made up of natural enemies. What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything of the sort. Christians come together, not because they form a natural collocation, but because they have been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance. In the light of this common allegiance, in light of the fact that they have all been loved by Jesus himself, they commit themselves to doing what he says – and he commands them to love one another. In this light, they are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.”

—D.A. Carson, Love in Hard Places


Share an example of a good friend from your life, a story, or movie. What has shaped your understanding of friendship?

Read John 15:9-17. What do you observe about God from this passage? What does this passage teach us about who God is, what he cares about, and how he cares for his people? Anything that surprises you or sparks questions?

Friendship is part of God’s good creation and part of humanity’s bearing the image of God. How does this shape your value of friendship?

Jesus speaks these words in John 15 on the eve of the first Good Friday. How does seeing Jesus’s saving work on the cross as an act of profound friendship shape your value of practicing friendship?

Friendship shaped by Jesus involves being truly known and loved anyway. In John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” How is this biblical vision of friendship in line with or in contrast to your understanding of friendship? Compare and contrast this vision of friendship with other approaches to friendship. Consider the quote from D. A. Carson above.

In John 15:12, Jesus commands, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” Why does Jesus make this a command? How does this command challenge or help your approach to being a friend to others?

How are you practicing friendship at Covenant and in this present season? What are the challenges for you in friendship and who comes to mind as someone who you can be a friend to as Jesus has commanded each of us?


Share with your group how they can be praying for you: what is weighing on you from this past week? What are you praising God for from this past week?

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.  John 15:15