When Did Jesus Call the Disciples Friends?


Jesus had a special relationship with his disciples. He called them friends, and they were more than just his followers.

They were his confidants, his companions, and his partners in ministry. But when did Jesus first use the term “friends” to refer to his disciples

The Biblical Account

The answer can be found in John 15:15, where Jesus says to his disciples, “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.”

This statement comes at a critical moment in the narrative of the Gospel of John. Jesus has just finished washing the feet of his disciples and delivering a long discourse on love and obedience.

He knows that he is about to be arrested, tried, and crucified. And yet he takes the time to speak tenderly to his disciples and reassure them of their place in God’s plan.

The Significance of Friendship

The word “friend” may seem like a simple term of endearment, but it carries profound theological significance. In ancient Greek philosophy, friendship was considered one of the highest virtues because it involved mutual respect, trust, and self-giving love.

By calling his disciples friends, Jesus was affirming their dignity as human beings created in God’s image. He was also acknowledging their worth as collaborators in God’s mission to save humanity from sin and death.

Moreover, Jesus was modeling a new way of relating to others based on equality rather than hierarchy. In traditional Jewish society, rabbis were seen as masters who imparted knowledge to their students. But Jesus turned this model on its head by treating his followers as equals and inviting them into an intimate relationship with himself and with God.

The Implications for Us Today

The implications of Jesus’ friendship with his disciples are still relevant today. As Christians, we are called to imitate Christ’s example by treating others with respect, kindness, and love. We are also called to be partners in God’s mission of reconciliation and justice.

This means that we cannot simply view others as objects to be used for our own purposes. Instead, we must recognize their inherent worth as human beings and seek to build meaningful relationships with them.

Furthermore, the concept of friendship challenges us to rethink our assumptions about power and authority. We may hold positions of leadership or influence, but that does not mean we are superior to others. Rather, our calling is to serve others and empower them to become the best version of themselves.


In conclusion, Jesus’ decision to call his disciples friends was not a casual or insignificant gesture. It reflected his deep respect for their humanity, his commitment to their well-being, and his vision of a new kind of community based on love rather than fear.

As we seek to follow Jesus’ example in our own lives, may we too embrace the power of friendship as a means of building bridges across divides and transforming the world around us.