Friending Jesus

January 8, 2016

Jesus had an odd set of friends and they were the source of all sorts of insults and a bad reputation among some circles.  Here’s Jesus’ own words about himself:

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Luke 7:34)

Just because of who he hung out with, his enemies accused him of drinking too much, eating too much, and (AGHAST) having some friends they didn’t like.

It’s actually amazing who Jesus decides to be friends with…people like me.  I’m sure his enemies would have had a field day if Jesus spent some time with me and my Life Group.

But we tend to have to same sort of problem with our “friend Jesus” as we have with our “brother Jesus” and that is we’ve never had a friend quite like him so we define our relationship with him based on our other friends.  Let’s take a look at one passage of Scripture where Jesus pretty clearly defines what being his friend is like and then think about our relationship with him.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 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. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:12—21)

Did you see all those bolded parts?  Jesus says this about his friends:

Jesus’ friends do what he commands them to do (which is “bear fruit,” and it appears that fruit is love)

This may seem like a weird friendship, right?  How often do we get to tell our friends what to do?  This is what we need to remember about our friendship with Jesus.  Even though he calls us “friend,” the following is also true:

Jesus’ friends are still his servants and he is still the master

I once heard someone say it this way: a master (or boss) can be a friend with a servant (or employee) but it is always understood to be an unequal relationship.  If he is not the person’s friend, he will just boss them around.  But if they are a friend, he does so differently.  How so?

Jesus tells his friends what God wants them to know

Jesus had that kind of relationship with his disciples. He didn’t keep stuff to himself, but what God the Father told him, he passed on.  It’s the same with us.  We have all we need to know from God in his Word.

Jesus gets to pick his friends

Most friendships are two people each saying, “I pick you.”  Our friendship with Jesus is different.  He does the picking, just like God did with Abraham (Isaiah 41:8) and Moses (Exodus 33:11).  This should cause us to be amazed.  With all the sinful crap I have going on in my life, he picks me!  Even when people could look at me and say of Jesus, “Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of Noel’s!’ (Luke 7:34), he picks me.

That’s a good friend to have.

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