Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jesus is our Friend

How did Jesus reveal Himself to mankind? In the most non-descript, non-threatening, not worth knowing kind of way. He didn’t come with all the bells and whistles. The day he showed up He would have been mocked as a bastard and the taunts would have been His to bear growing up in small town Nazareth.

He had no land, no money, no houses. He wasn’t part of any special group. He essentially said by the way He came that He wanted to know us as a friend not for what He could do for us. He didn’t want the celebrity status or the rich man status that does not allow a person to know if they are real friends or simply somebody that gives people status or things through association with them.

How could God become our friend if He was busy showing off His Godness? Even when He performed miracles He often told people not to tell anyone. Why? Because people are self serving and we only seek after the next loaf of bread or healing instead of a beautiful friendship that is being offered.

It is no small idea that throughout history people have used the Bible to define doctrinal statements of belief in order to know who is in and who is out. I was staggered that when I looked into the creeds and statements of faith by many denominations that the idea of being God’s friend and His being our friend is not there. The word love is not used in the Apostle’s creed or the Nicene creed. The word friend can't be found anywhere.

Friendships only count when we don’t force them to do anything for us. When they do something that is not forced it is icing on the cake but it is not the basis of a friendship.

The other side of the coin is that when we are friends with Jesus we are friends with those who are His friends as well. Again very few church models define themselves through friendships and yet Jesus literally says that this is the only way to define our relationship with Him and others. He uses the strongest language possible to show how important this is. He literally made it a commandment that we love each other.

The message of the cross is that Jesus died for His friends.

Why did Jesus die? This is the most revolutionary thought ever. Because He is our friend.

John 15:13 (NIV) Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.