“There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b)
Tons of song lyrics come to mind from the title of this blog:
- “No one ever cared for me like Jesus, there’s no other friend as kind as He.”
- “O what a wonderful friend is Jesus, I am so glad he came. Never alone is His promise to all who believe His name.”
- “Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? …In His arms He’ll take and shield thee. Thou wilt find a solace there.”
When considering friendship, Jesus is the supreme example. He spent much time talking about this aspect of our relationship with him just hours before his arrest and crucifixion.
Important truths about friendship Jesus demonstrated:
- Friends make sacrifices. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Friends can be fun to hang out with, but true friendship goes deeper than that. In an emergency, a true friend thinks of his buddy first.
- Friendship is reciprocal. This is an aspect of friendship that gets lost in the flurry of social media hype. Jesus said, “Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). Jesus gave his all for us and if we’re his friends, we offer a life of service in exchange. If we always expect something from our friends but don’t give anything back, we aren’t following the example set by the Master.
- Friends share their hearts. “I have called you friends: for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:16). If you have a burden and can’t share it with someone, they aren’t truly your friend. Jesus shared “all things” with his disciples, even though they weren’t ready to hear or accept much of it at that moment. A true friend listens more than they speak.
- Friends put themselves out for each other. Jesus talked about true friends going above and beyond in Luke 11:5-8 to teach an important lesson about prayer. If we can trust our earthly friends to help us out of a bind, how much more can we trust our omnipotent friend, Jesus?
- Friendship isn’t about social status. Jesus came to befriend everyone, even publicans, sinners and non-Jewish folk (Luke 7:34). Our basis for friendship should not consider what a person can do for us or how much of a drain they might be on our time. Everyone needs friends, and befriending sinners is the best way to introduce them to our best friend, Jesus Christ.
- Friends share in joys and sorrows. In the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:6) and lost coin (Luke 15:9), Jesus infers that true friendship endures through good times and bad. Who do we call with our good or bad news? The person who we know will share our excitement or help us bear our sorrow.
In order to truly know the meaning of friendship, we must reflect on the life of Jesus Christ. Each day and in every way, he demonstrated the art of being a friend. His friends wrote down the experiences and we can read about them today in God’s Holy Word.
Jesus is just as much our friend in the 21st Century as he was to those first century apostles and disciples. How can I say this? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Jesus died for sinners because he considered us worthy of his friendship. When we were his enemy, Jesus died for us to prove this desire for friendship (Rom. 5:8).
What sacrifice have you made for your friends lately? Do you pattern your friendships after the supreme example, Jesus Christ?