True friends help to shepherd one another. That is to say they guide, nurture and otherwise help to tend to each other's needs. Friends in this sense affirm one another's true identity.. This was the kind of friend that God and Moses were to each other which is borne out in the actual Hebrew root the Bible uses to describe their relationship. It is "rah" and means literally "to tend a flock. "And long after that when the disciple Peter correctly identified Jesus Christ, Jesus renamed him petros "the rock. " Some of the last words Jesus spoke to Peter were about tending and feeding his flock, being a shepherd in other words. Friends tend to and care for each other like affectionate and faithful shepherds. They don't run when wolves show up in the pasture or the fold. They do what they must with the rod to fend them off and away from the flock. That is what Jesus did when the chief priest and his squad came to arrest him. He told them, "let these go their way.," referring to his disciples in the 8th verse of John 18. And Peter almost blew it when he responded by cutting off the servant's ear. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10 v13 that that God will always make a way of escape when we are tempted that we may be able to endure it. No wonder Jesus is called the Good Shepherd, Jesus could say in John 18 v9 that of all the Father had given him, he had lost none.
We have all probably failed a friend by shying away from a dangerous situation at some point in our lives. But now we are learning that good friends like good shepherds both tend and defend and, and are inclined to strike the right balance between these two.
John 15 gives us some more insight into how biblical friendship works. Jesus said in that chapter that we are his friends if we do what He commands us. This involves laying down our lives for one another. This is where Jesus goes from preaching to meddling with us. This is where it might get uncomfortable from time to time. Again as Peter demonstrated, it's easier to talk about this than to actually practice it in practical ways. Doing that, we are able to abide in His love. Abiding there in His love with Him He makes known to us things that He is hearing from His Father. Friends delight in sharing with one another those things they are hearing and learning from their Father in heaven and from Jesus Himself by the Spirit, seeing how their learnings align and harmonize with each other.