While there are some who don’t think they need friends, most people I know, respect and appreciate the value of a good friend.  A true friend, it is said, is someone who knows you, good things and bad, and loves you just the same.  Jesus is a true friend, and as we try to know and understand Him even better we can become a friend to Him as well.

When we look at the life of Jesus as recorded in the gospel accounts there are events that illustrate the true friendship of Jesus.  We looked at four this past week and began with Jesus as a friend to the outcasts of society.  This is seen by His acceptance of the leper who approached Him for cleansing and His call to Matthew as one of His followers.  Secondly, Jesus called or treated his enemies as friends, to include Judas, those who crucified Him and one of His more devoted followers, Peter.  Thirdly, His forgiving nature cries out “friend” by our definition above as we see Him save the adulterous woman in John chapter 8, and the criminal crucified with Him who asked to be remembered in Jesus’ kingdom.  And lastly, we cannot forget the compassion Jesus felt for those suffering grief over losing a loved one.  Read about the widow from Nain in Luke chapter 7, or better yet, the raising of Lazarus in John chapter 11.

Do you know Jesus?  Is He your friend?  If you have ever been a social outcast… and someone was there for you, or if you have reached out to an outcast, you know Jesus; If you have been an enemy of someone… and they reached out to you in compassion, or if you have reached out to an enemy in compassion, you know Jesus; If you feel the pain of being a sinner… and know He’s there for you, or if you have felt the pain of being sinned against and forgiven, you know Jesus; If you have mourned… and received the comfort and peace of God or if you have wept for those who mourn in compassion for them, you know Jesus.  Why do I believe this?  Because it is what Jesus has done, would do, and in imitating Him, we would do.  If you can find yourself in these roles then you know the Jesus I have discovered and read of in the scriptures.

Copyright © 2003, Nolan P. Rutter

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