Freedom in Jesus’ Friendship

Most of us look for many things in a friend. We want someone who is trustworthy and loyal. We look for someone who has our back through thick and thin. I am sure each of us could write a long list of characteristics we want in a friend. But, how often do we think about what we need to give to our friends.

When I think of friends in the Bible, the first story that comes to mind is that of David and Jonathan. “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18:1). Can you imagine loving anyone as you love your own soul? And David felt the same about Jonathan. Upon hearing of Jonathan’s death, David calls Jonathan his brother (2 Samuel 1:26).

I have had the same best friend for over fifteen years. I consider her a sister. We grew up together. If one of us was in trouble, the other one was too! Our families are friends, and even though we no longer live in the same town, she knows if she needs something, she can call my parents or almost anyone in my family and they would be there in a minute. But, as much as I consider her a sister due to the length and closeness of our friendship, I do not love her like my own soul. Is it really possible to love someone like that?

I would like to think that if faced with a life-or-death situation, I would be the hero. I would put my life on the line to save a friend. People in our country do it everyday in various lines of work for people who are not even acquaintances, let alone friends. But, without being in that situation, it is very hard to say if I would be able to follow through. Would I die for my friend? “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” What type of friend are we to Jesus? Do we dare think that we owe him nothing for His sacrifice? Or, does the sacrifice of His life open up a freedom for us that no law offered by our country could give?

When Jesus was on the earth, He walked on water, fed the multitudes, calmed the storm, healed the sick—and died for us. Jesus died for us. He loved us like he loved his own soul. He died for us, who often don’t even consider Him a friend. He died so that we could live. He knows we are not perfect. If we were, He wouldn’t have needed to die for our sins. He is a friend who offers us forgiveness. When we obey God, through His son, we receive forgiveness. What other friend could offer us that? Better yet, we now know the greatest thing we can offer our friends here on earth–Jesus. Let your friends see Him through you. In everything you do, let them know that He is your friend first and that His friendship helps you to be a better friend to them.

The song “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Joseph Scriven comes to mind. (It is one of my favorites.)

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and grief to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Dear God,
As we go about our daily lives, help us to share the freedom offered by Your forgiveness with others. Help us to show our friends here on earth that You alone are the ultimate friend who gave His Son that we could live. Help us to let Your light shine through us so that we can be better friends to others. Above all else Lord, we thank You for Your friendship and love.
In Jesus’ name we pray,

By Sarah J. Ancheta

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