What kind of friend are you? Are you loyal and encouraging? Do you have a lot of friends because you are the life of the party? What do you want more than anything else for your friends? Do you have friends so they can meet your needs? Are your friends a joy to you? These questions lead us to another question: What really is a friend? We could come up with a lot of satisfactory answers to that question ranging from, “someone I can be myself with,” to “someone I can count on.”
I like what the Jesus says in John 15: 13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It is truly moving to me to think that Jesus sees me as a friend. Not because I make him laugh (although I give him plenty of material for him to laugh at) or because I give him nice gifts. I am Jesus’ friend because he loves me. He showed this fact by his willingness to sacrifice and suffer for me. I was not able to befriend Jesus. He took me on as a friend through his initiative.
Jesus shows me that friendship is not about what I can get out of a relationship but what I give to a person. For Jesus, true friendship is a willingness to lay down personal comfort, fear, neediness, and selfishness to bring about a greater good for someone. Jesus did that for us! He calls us to be his messengers of love to our friends as well. Let’s be friends for those in our lives by speaking to them about the true Friend, Savior, and Lord they can have and need to have in Jesus.