It’s that season again.
The season of graduations. Whether it’s graduating from college, high school or even kindergarten – graduation marks a transition.
We just witnessed our youngest graduating from kindergarten.
Each graduation ushers in a change. It’s a moment in which you realize that you were being recognized for where you had been and are now being recognized for where you’re going.
What was – is now replaced but what lies ahead. It marks the end of one kind of scenario and now movement into another.
It reminds me of a graduation that Jesus spoke about.
Now, I know you’re thinking – What? Jesus never gave a commencement address or brought a camera to Peter’s graduation from Fishing School.
He might have worn robe/gown like attire, but that is something entirely different and cultural.
I’m referring to a graduation of grace.
A moment where there is a marked transition from what had been the disciples scenario and now there would be something different unfolding for them moving forward.
It’s the grace Jesus continued to unfold with his early followers. A grace that unfolds even today for those who turn toward him. It’s a graduation from one kind of “knowing” Christ into a different relational way of ‘knowing’ him.
Jesus speaks of this in John 15. It’s a chapter where Jesus has much to share with his disciples. It’s a chapter packed full of incredible insights and challenges and callings. And within the middle of it – Jesus introduces this notion of a graduation of grace.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” ~John 15:12-15
Read that last verse again…
Jesus is indicating a change in relational status. A relational upgrade. A movement from ‘you were this’ to a ‘but now you’re this’ type language.
You were servants – but NOW, now you’re friends.
Friends are in the know. Not simply knowing about something or someone. But they seem to KNOW the heart of the one who their attention is on. They know more than simply facts, they are invited to live with a similar passion and purpose.
As followers of Jesus – we’re not simply his servants. We are His Friends. He’s made that way of relational connection possible through his death, burial and resurrection. His grace makes this graduation possible.
We are invited to graduate – to live as friends of God. And as his friend – we are to share his passion, purpose and heart for this world and those he’s seeking to find. We’re invited to lean in to this friendship and have it sharpen our character and shape our heart. We are to follow – not out of some religious obligation – but as friends invited along on an epic and exciting journey with our Savior.
Now the Bible has many images that communicate what this relationship with Christ is like. I just find this passage in John 15 a powerful declaration of the heart of Jesus for his followers. His friends.
They are no longer just mere subjects studying his ways, apprentices seeking to gain an insight – NO, Jesus declares that we’ve graduated to be his friends.
Relationally united. Forever changed. Always invited.
And he says to his friends then – to his friends now: “follow me”…