Jesus had many friends. Sometimes people were surprised at the variety of people Jesus befriended. And undoubtedly, many were also surprised at Jesus’ unique approach to friendship. What can we learn from Jesus about being a friend?
Jesus mingled with a very diverse crowd. He had friends of different genders, ages and stations in life (rich and poor). Jesus befriended many who did not have the same ideologies He did. Jesus was inclusive, rather than exclusive. Everyone had an equal shot at being a friend of Jesus.
Jesus listened to the opinions of others, but He didn’t let His Friends shape Him. Jesus was shaped by His Father alone. Jesus warmed others, so they could also be shaped by His Father.
Jesus challenged His Friends to think about Life in a different way. He asked questions that caused them to consider new things. He subtly opened their souls to receive God.
Jesus did not nag His Friends about their sins and bad habits. Jesus did not approve of sin, but He loved the sinner. He simply shined His Light into their dark world and revealed anything that threatened His Friends’ happiness.
Jesus saw God’s Creative Design for His Friends. He looked beyond their lack of faith and immaturity to what they would become at their best. He identified their strengths. Even knowing Peter’s potential to deny Him, He called out the best in Peter, telling him that he was the Rock upon which He would build his church.
Jesus prayed for His Friends in sickness and in health. He prayed satan would not be able to lead them astray through temptation. While Jesus recognized their weaknesses, He also realized their strength would come from God alone. Jesus continues even now to intercede for us.
Jesus was a “there for you” Friend. When His Friends called on Him, He always answered (even if He was sound asleep, as He was in the boat during the storm).
Jesus grieved at the loss of a Friend. Even knowing Lazarus would be raised back to life in a few minutes, Jesus felt the sting of Lazarus being temporarily absent. Jesus shared the grief of His Friends, Mary and Martha.
Jesus forgave His Friends, even when they went to sleep on Him during His crisis times … even when one of them (Peter) denied he even knew Him. Jesus continued to believe in him. It was Jesus’ Love that would not let go that brought Peter from denial to truly being the Rock.
Jesus didn’t stop His Friends from making bad choices. No doubt Jesus agonized, not only over His Own impending suffering, but also over that of Judas. Jesus could have stopped Judas from making a terrible mistake. But He realized that God had already given Judas a gift He would never take back … the right to choose, even wrongly.
Jesus never went away. He promised He would be with His Friends always. He kept that Promise into Eternity and beyond. He is still here every second as the Holy Spirit.
Jesus kept all of His Promises. If He told His Friends something, they could count on it. Jesus’ Words were always True and could always be trusted.
Jesus confided in His Friends. He was willing to share the greatest secrets of all times with them. He revealed Himself to them.
Jesus was willing to suffer and die for His Friends. He took all their sins on Himself. He was wounded for their transgressions. He was bruised for their iniquities. He gave His earthly Life for His Friends.
Go back and read the qualities of Jesus, the Friend.
Are you the kind of Friend Jesus was and is?
Will you let Him be your Best Friend?
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.
Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.