‘You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.’
Friends… where would we be without at least one? Friends whom we can talk, laugh, joke, cry, have fun with? Whom we can trust to be there when we need them? Friends who know us well enough to make us feel better when we have bad days? Friends who stand up for us in situations when we are and not around? And friends who are far from fair-weather ones – who are there with us through the hard as well as the easy times?
If we are followers of the God-man, it’s so easy to only think of Jesus as a Saviour: who, through his grace and love for us doomed to eternity without Him, took our punishment for ignoring our Creator completely and utterly on that cross. No amount of trying to be good or religious or worthy in our own eyes could ever cross the great divide between us and the God of all things, who cannot stand the fact that our hearts and bodies have rebelled against Him.
It’s so easy to acknowledge that we’ve been saved by God by repenting and asking Him for help to turn away from our rebellion (called sin), but then ignore Him for most of the day without talking to Him at all.
But why would God send His only precious Son, who has always obeyed Him, to die an excruciating death in human form?
He wants us to be his friends.
Friends? With the God of the Universe? The friend who’s always there? The friend who always cares (1 Peter 5:7)? The friend who never forsakes us, or dumps us for someone else or betrays our trust?
The friend who knew our days before we were in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:16)? The friend who calls each planet, star and galaxy by name? The friend we can always talk to, at any time, with the guarantee that He will always hear us, with no need for phone calls, letters, e-mails, texting and facebook.
The friend whom we can fully confide in and knows our heart’s darkest secrets before we ourselves are fully aware of them. The friend who’s given us His word and the gift of having it in the vernacular, so we can read and learn from Him. The friend who’s planned Heaven’s best party for us, with no need for an after party. The friend who doesn’t judge us on looks.
The friend who lets us in on a big secret millions more people in this world need to hear and read in the Bible for themselves – God’s command to all to repent (Acts 17:30): to acknowledge that we cannot get to Heaven by being good or religious, ask Jesus to take away everything we’ve done which has made Him sad and to fix our eyes on following Him, with the help of the Holy Spirit forever placed inside us.
The friend who died for us, defeated death for us and is coming back soon to crush all traces of sorrow on this Earth once and for all.
What a friend we have in Jesus!