Friday, 22 January 2021
By: Prathab V
John 15:13-15 (KJV)
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.
15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father._
“Mike, how do you define friendship?”, I asked my roommate one night during the final year of my undergraduate studies. He thought for a while and said, “A friend is someone who…someone who…doesn’t take advantage of you.”
For a brief moment, I was surprised. I was expecting him to say something more profound, something theological or a deeply relational observation. So, when Mike linked friendship to one not taking advantage of another, it intrigued me. “What do you mean? Why is being taken advantage of an important consideration in friendship?” I probed. That set him off to pour out his heart on his past experiences with his friends, or so-called “friends”.
To cut the long story short, Mike explained how he had been betrayed by those he trusted and how some of his friends have completely misunderstood him. As I listened, I realised that friendship may mean many things to different people. Each have their definition of friendship, shaped by one’s life experiences.
Pondering on the defination of friendship, my attention shifted to the words of Jesus.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
To Jesus, giving up one’s life for those who he considered friends is the greatest expression of love and friendship. Jesus said those words as He was giving a discourse to his twelve close friends. Yes, Jesus called His 12 disciples as His friends. Later that same night He was arrested, the result of a scandalous betrayal.
Jesus had twelve close friends. Unfortunately, most of them did not fully understand Him during His earthly ministry. One betrayed him, two brothers wanted to sit on His left and right in His glory and yet another denied him three times. If there’s one person who truly knows the pain of betrayal and deep disappointment, it has to be Jesus. Despite that, Jesus continued to love sacrificially, irrespective of His friends’ responses.
Jesus left His heavenly glory above and became one among us. He emptied Himself to become a mere mortal. He did that to reconcile man to God by atoning for their sins. In fulfilling His destiny, Jesus endured great pain, humiliation and suffering.
As Jesus said, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for friends. And that is exactly what Jesus did on Calvary. To me, friendship is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us.
This morning, think about your friends, even those who have misunderstood you or caused much pain. Take those disappointments to Jesus and forgive freely. If you are one, who long for true friendship, I pray that God will send His ministers to encourage You. In the meantime, we do have Jesus as a friend for life. Let’s give thanks for what Jesus has given us – true and sacrificial friendship.
Lord Jesus, thank you for accepting me as Your friend, although I do not deserve it. Help me to also learn to be a good and true friend to others. In Jesus’ name I ask, AMEN
今天早上，想想您的朋友，甚至那些误解了您或是造成很多痛苦的人。把那些失望带去给耶稣，并爽快地宽恕。如果您是渴望有真正友谊的人，我祈祷上帝会派他的传道人来鼓励您。与此同时，我们确实有耶稣作为终身的朋友。让我们感谢耶稣给予我们的 — 真诚和愿意舍己的友谊。