Do you ever miss sleepovers?
I can only speak on guy sleepovers. But I remember the hilarity. The later it got, the goofier it got. Bad movies would seem hilarious, and no joke was too small. I remember one time a good buddy of mine falling out of a brown armchair from laughing too hard.
Ahhh, the good times.
As an adult I miss that fun communion. It’s been especially challenging during the pandemic to maintain close connection with others.
But we need friendship. God hardwired us for close communion (see Genesis 1-2).
In case you’re feeling adrift or isolated right about now, I wanted to share some encouragement with you.
? Set the scene...
Jesus has been talking with his disciples for a while. At this point he’s covered a wide-range of topics...
- How he is “the way, the truth, and the life.”
- The promise of the Holy Spirit
- That they’re the branches, and he is the vine. They can only bear fruit through Jesus.
Then, he shifts to friendship. Friendship with Jesus. And what it means to be a friend of Christ...
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 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. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
- John 15:12-17
Imagine sitting there. The Son of God proclaiming friendship with you. Traci Rhoades touched on this in her post: God likes you. He doesn’t tolerate you as his child. He knows you intimately and has called you “friend.”
Friendship with no return
Now, imagine a friendship where it’s a one-sided investment. Each time you meet with that friend, you...
- bring the food over
- pay for the bill
- suggest what to do
- open-up in conversation
- listen to their stories
- offer kindness first
But then that friend never reciprocates that investment. Maybe they only talk about themselves. To be honest, we all have friends like that, and it’s okay. We're called to pour out ourselves to people who may never invest back.
But do you enjoy a one-sided friendship? Do you find yourself calling that friend first? Probably not.
Friendship with a mission
The richest friendships, though, have a give-and-take rhythm. Two melodies harmonizing. Two people getting each other. Helping and sacrifice is mutual.
And in the scene above, Jesus is offering a friendship with a mission he wants reciprocated. He’s that friend who’s already invested everything: His life. His status. His power. Jesus has poured it all out for his church, his body.
Now, he wants his body to reciprocate that love outwards: “This is my command: love each other.”
"Jesus has called you friend based on his sacrificial, divine love."
Friendship with Christ is not a mystery. It’s not something to be earned. It’s freeing and beautiful.
And it comes with a mission. A costly one. But one that’s worth it.
Jesus has called you friend based on his sacrificial, divine love. The Bible calls this agape. A love marked by generosity and charity.
The exciting part is that you are free to reflect that love onto others. He's taken care of all the receipts, loose-ends, and forgiveness so you can friend like Christ.
Friend: verb - to lay one's life down for others like Christ did for the world.
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A story of redemptive friendship
Jesus ate meals with sinners–an act of close of communion. The religious elite didn't like this, but Jesus had come for the sick, not the well. He showed the way to God was open. Friendship with God is available to all.
Here's a powerful story of what it means to be a "friend of sinners." It follows the story of Harvey, who struggled yet found the friendship of Christ.
Caution: this story is for 13+. Mentions drug use and violence.
? "What am I that you might call me your child?"
Probably my favorite song on the friendship of God...