Jesus is our Friend

by: Bill Bratt


The Bible speaks of two kinds of friendship; (1) the friendship between man and God as in the case of Abraham and God (2 Chr. 20:7, Isa. 41:8, James 2:23); and (2) the friendship between man and man as in the case of David and Jonathan (1 Sam. 18:1, 2 Sam. 1:26) or Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-18).

The special relationship experienced between Jesus and His twelve disciples developed from that of teacher to disciple, through that of Lord to servant (John 13:13-17), into that of friend to friend (John 15:13-15).

The Apostle John recorded Jesus as saying: ""These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. {12} "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. {13} "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. {14} "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. {15} "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. {16} "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. {17} "These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:11-17).

Out of this passage we can compile a list of things for which we are chosen and to which we are called. (1)

We are chosen for joy. However hard the Christian way is, it is, both in the traveling and in the goal, the way of joy. There is always a joy in doing the right thing. The Christian is the man of joy, the laughing cavalier of Christ. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces. It is true that the Christian is a sinner, but he is a redeemed sinner; and therein lies his joy. How can any man fail to be happy when he walks the ways of life with Jesus? (2)

We are chosen for love. We are sent out into the world to love one another. Sometimes we live as if we were sent into the world to compete with one another, or to dispute with one another, or even to quarrel with one another. But the Christian is to live in such a way that he shows what is meant by loving his fellow men. It is here that Jesus makes another of his great claims. If we ask him: What right have you to demand that we love one another? His answer is: "No man can show greater love than to lay down his life for his friends--and I did that." Many a man tells men to love each other, when his whole life is a demonstration that that is the last thing he does himself. Jesus gave men a commandment which he had himself first fulfilled. (3)

Jesus called us to be His friends. He tells his men that he does not call them slaves any more; he calls them friends. Now that is a saying which would be even greater to those who heard it for the first time than it is to us. Doulos, the slave, the servant of God was no title of shame; it was a title of the highest honor. Moses was the doulos of God (Deut.34:5); so was Joshua (Josh.24:29); so was David (Ps.89:20). It is a title which Paul counted it an honour to use (Titus 1:1); and so did James (James.1:1). The greatest men in the past had been proud to be called the douloi, the slaves of God. And Jesus says: "I have something greater for you yet, you are no longer slaves; you are friends." Christ offers an intimacy with God which not even the greatest men knew before he came into the world. (4)

The idea of being the friend of God has also a background. Abraham was the friend of God (Isaiah 41:8). Wisdom is said to make men the friends of God. But this phrase is lit up by a custom which obtained both at the courts of the Roman Emperors and of the eastern kings. At these courts there was a very select group of men called the friends of the king, or the friends of the Emperor. At all times they had access to the king: they had even the right to come to his bedchamber at the beginning of the day. He talked to them before he talked to his generals, his rulers, and his statesmen. The friends of the king were those who had the closest and the most intimate connection with him. (5)

Jesus called us to be his friends and the friends of God. That is a tremendous offer. It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar off; we are not like slaves who have no right whatever to enter into the presence of the master; we are not like a crowd whose only glimpse of the king is in the passing on some state occasion. Jesus gave us this intimacy with God, so that he is no longer a distant stranger, but our close friend. (6)

Jesus did not only choose us for a series of tremendous privileges. He called us to be His partners. The slave could never be a partner. He was defined in Greek law as a living tool. His master never opened his mind to him; the slave simply had to do what he was told without reason and without explanation. But Jesus said: "You are not my slaves; you are my partners. I have told you everything; I have told you what I am trying to do, and why I am trying to do it. I have told you everything which God told me." Jesus has given us the honor of making us partners in his task. He has shared his mind with us, and opened his heart to us. The tremendous choice laid before us is that we can accept or refuse partnership with Christ in the work of leading the world to God. (7)


What is a Friend?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word "friend" as: "A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts; One with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade."

To be the friend of Jesus we have to learn to know Him, His likes and dislikes. How do we get to know Jesus? By reading the Bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John recorded the words of Jesus. They were eye witnesses of the life of Jesus. They saw Him perform miracles and heal many people. They heard His sermons on the Sabbath. They walked the dusty roads with Him and they helped Him as He fed the five thousand. They saw Him rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducees. They saw Him calm the stormy sea.

For us to get to know Jesus, we must read the gospel accounts, the New Testament and the Old Testament. The Old Testament prophecies tell of Jesus as the coming Messiah.

Elements of a good friendship are trust, loyalty, honesty, truth and love.

Jesus is a perfect friend. He sets us a perfect example of love, friendship and loyalty.

Jesus left us an example for us to follow: "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Pet 2:21).

If we are to follow in the steps of Jesus, then we also must set a right example to our friends and neighbors.

Jesus is loyal to His friends and He will not forsake us as He sees us struggling to overcome the problems of life: "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you"" (Heb 13:5).

We, too, must not abandon our friends during their times of trials and tests. "A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity" (Prov 17:17).

Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to lay down His own life and die for us. He is our sacrificial Lamb, our Redeemer and our Savior.

Jesus was not exclusive in choosing His friends. He was "a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Mat 11:19).

A good friendship requires that we spend time together and share our thoughts and ideas, our hopes and our dreams. We can do this through prayer and Bible Study. Jesus told us to pray to the Father as recorded in the model prayer that He gave to His disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray (Mat. 6:9-13), but there is nothing wrong in occasionally praying to Jesus. How does Jesus talk to us? Again the answer is by reading the Bible.

A good friendship requires that we love each other. What did Jesus say that we are to do to show Him that we love Him? Jesus said: ""If you love Me, keep My commandments. {16} "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; {17} "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. {18} "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. {19} "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. {20} "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. {21} "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him"" (John 14:15-21).

Notice in verse 21, that Jesus said that if we keep His commandments then He will love us and manifest, reveal and show Himself to us.

Also notice verse 18, that Jesus said that He will not abandon us as orphans. He will not forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Jesus said that He will come to us. Jesus prays for us to God the Father that He will send His Spirit as a Helper for us.

Jesus wants to be our friend. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Rev 3:20).

Open the door of your life and make Jesus your friend. Our friendship with Jesus must be personal and not a community thing. No church or organization can be between you and your friend Jesus. The Church and the ministry are to be the helpers of your joy (2 Cor. 1:24), not to come in between you and your relationship with Jesus and God.

Jesus is more than our Friend, He is our Brother!

Being the friend of Jesus is very special, but He has revealed in the scriptures that we are to have a greater relationship with Him than that of being a friend.

God the Father wants to have a family of many sons and daughters: "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty"" (2 Cor 6:18. This indicates that in this family we will be brothers and sisters of Jesus. Matthew records Jesus talking about this family relationship: "While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. {47} Then one said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You." {48} But He answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" {49} And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! {50} "For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother"" (Mat 12:46-50.

One of Jesus’ jobs as our older brother is to bring many sons to glory: "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. {11} For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Heb 2:10-11).

Notice that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren.

In Conclusion: Jesus is the best friend that anyone could ever have. He wants to have a personal relationship with each and everyone of us.

Jesus is our friend and our brother!



Footnotes: (1,2,3,4,5,6,,7): William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, The Gospel of John (Volume 2), 1975, p. 177-179.