Once Christians started to undergo persecution, the term came to be applied to those who suffered hardships for their faith.
Finally, it was restricted to those who had been killed for their faith.
We have been chosen to be friends, and not just friends, members of the family. Jesus has chosen to share his life with us, for we are recipients of divine love.
When we read a passage like this it is appropriate to ask whether or not we too are included in this community of friends of Jesus.
There are several examples where Plato uses the term to signify "witness to truth", including in Laws, where the Athenian declares that homosexuality is "against nature".
It is important to remember that this status is not one we can aspire to. There was nothing about these persons that made them stand out, but God made the choice. We probably make too much of their apparent lack of distinction, but nonetheless it is Jesus who chooses who will be his companions.
As a result, Jesus is going to share everything given to him by the father with them.
It is their duty to love and protect their children.
As it is written in a hymn of Jean Janzen, based on the writings of Julian of Norwich: We have been chosen by Jesus to be his friends and his continuing presence in the world. All we can do, as Karl Barth suggests is, “as the beloved of God we have no alternative but to love Him in return.
The branches draw their sustenance from their connection to the vine.