Who is the friend that Jesus laid down His life for?

 

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

This verse MUST be put into context. This is one of those verses that people mis-quote and stick on tshirts and plaques on the wall, with never really understanding the importance of what Jesus is trying to convey. 

In this verse Jesus was referring to Himself as He was going to lay down His life for the sins of mankind…

— however, this has some conditions.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus Continues in John 15 to identify who is His friend…

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

IF…

This sacrifice (laying down His life) that Jesus is WILLING to give is conditional… the whosoever (John 3:16) is the friend that Jesus is talking about. This teaching that Jesus died for the sins of the world, and as a result the penalty of sin has been removed (fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man) is a false teaching.

God LOVED the world so much that He gave His only Son… that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH… would receive the gift and be a friend of Jesus…

But it goes further…

Note the stipulation when you take this in context: John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

This isn’t some circular reasoning. The commandment that God, through Jesus commands is basically… get saved, and love one another.

Back to our Base Text…

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

This is why the Word of God is so important. There’s no mystery, God provided everything we need to know in His word. He has made known everything we need. As such we are not kept from the information, like a servant would be; but the truth is shared with us.. like a friend would receive.

Jesus wants to be your friend. A friend of Jesus is someone who follows His commandments… that commandment is basically… Get Saved. (And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another)

The opposite of this is just as true

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.