“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NLT)
Friend. Definitely a word that evokes feelings as soon as we read it, making us grateful for the friends we have, or longing for the ones we don’t. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem; a favored companion”. Some synonyms are: buddy, chum, compadre, crony, mate, musketeer, or pal. Time to resurrect the use of some of those synonyms, Chums!
You have probably heard the verse above many times, but don’t miss who is speaking these words: it is Jesus. Who does He call us in this verse? Jesus calls us His friends. Or his cronies. Can you imagine having Jesus for a friend? It would be pretty awesome, right? You’re not just hanging out with the Son of the God of the universe, you’re also hanging out with Someone who fed 5,000 people with two loaves of bread and five fish, Someone who calmed a raging storm at sea just by commanding it to calm down, Someone who so willingly took time to play with children and was capable of healing any sickness and casting out demons. Someone who also called you by name and asked you to be His friend. Someone who chose you, and then knowing the bounty on your head, took your place in paying it, even though it meant He would have to die. There truly is no greater love than that, and truly no greater Friend.
Jesus longs to be your best Friend. Is He? If He isn’t, why? There may be several reasons for this. I’ve gone through a few of them myself. At times it was my shame. I had to remember the Truth that He’s already made things right between God and I, so there was no reason for me to shy away from friendship with Him. Other times it was my anger towards Him. God helped me realize His love and faithfulness are never-ending, He is always with me and can work all things for good. There was also my distrust that kept me from wanting to be friends with Him. I had pictured Him in my mind as someone I had to strive to please, who was always slightly upset with me for not meeting his expectations. Who wants to be friends with someone like that? Then He showed me the Truth that His whole agenda with me is LOVE. He doesn’t have expectations I have to meet in order to be loved by Him, and He cares way more about me than about how much I can do for Him. I hope you know these Truths too. What a Friend we have in Him, the absolute best!