Jesus told his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion that he was no longer calling them servants, but friends, in a favored, intimate kind of way (John 15). They were those who were learning to love each other and Jesus was opening his heart and teaching to them.
Jesus also, was accused, and rightfully so, of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34-35). This was certainly a new way of living for his disiples who lived in a society that valued in its religion, separation from those who were unclean, not part of the cleansed community of Israel. But Jesus was showing a new way. A holiness that touched the unclean, and rather than becoming unclean itself, made the unclean clean. Zaccheus saw it and was glad. His life was transformed (Luke 19).
Our churches or faith communities, communities of Jesus- if you will, really don't live up to their name if friendship isn't a major priority. Not just being friendly (a great start), but being friends (Rich Mullins). No matter what else is going on, if our communities are not characterized by sacrificial, difficult love, than everything else can go out the door, and will in time (1 Corinthians 13; Revelation 2:1-7).
Jesus came not to condemn, but to save sinners (John 3:17); God reconciled the world of sinners to himself in the death of his Son and commissions us to share that message of reconciliation, calling those who are his enemies into a new acceptance and friendship to him (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). We come to all as friends, offering along with our friendship, the very friendship of God. We do so as those befriended by God in exactly the same way.