We’ve already explored Jesus’ definition of deep, loving friendship – to lay down one’s life for his friends. Looking back, of course, we can see that when he said that, he knew what was coming for him. Within just a few days, he was crucified. He intended to lay his life down for his friends, sinful and broken as they might be.
But there’s more – he then says they aren’t his only friends. He defines a friend as someone who learns from him, and obeys his commandments – summed up in his greatest commandments, to love God, and love your neighbour as yourself.
The friends he intends to die for, are those who are learning true, sacrificial friendship themselves, and practicing it, not just those who were with him at the time.
He’s saying: If you truly experience my friendship, and are really my friend, you’ll be a friend to others. Love of neighbour and love of God go together. When we love Jesus, we love God, and we love God’s beloved children. You can imagine God’s love flowing through us and then to others.
You’re his friend if you know you are loved, sacrificially by him, and want others to experience the same, and are willing to do something about it. It’s an active thing, not a passive, sentimental thing. It’s hard, painful at times, but infinitely worthwhile. When he dies for us, he releases us from the penalty we owed for sin in our lives.
So, clearly it’s good to be a friend of Jesus.
But to show Jesus we are truly his friend, we truly understand his sacrificial love, we need to show it to others.
Challenge: What can you sacrifice for someone else today? Is it a financial sacrifice, like a gift? Is it a sacrifice of pride, admitting you were wrong? Is it a sacrifice of time, maybe visiting someone in need?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]