2006-05-11 - Through the Pain
Prov 18:24 A man of many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother . (NASB)
I am not a man of many friends. I am friendly with a number of people and thankful for the people around me. But I will distinguish between acquaintances and friends. I will go a distance out of my way for an acquaintance - a student, a co-worker, or someone I know around town. These are not unimportant people and the deserve a definite measure of respect and cooperation. If they ask for prayer or need a suggestion, it is rarely a burden or a problem. If a student is struggling and needs help, a few extra minutes after class is easily given.
But then there are friends. These are the people we have invested our lives into and they are invested into ours. These are the people who know who we are with our flaws, faults and foibles and still accept us and care about us. They know when we are up or down, usually without a word being spoken. Friends apologize when they have hurt us, and, more importantly, accept our apology when we have hurt them. They have permission to invade our personal space deeply at times. They can tell us things we don't want to hear, but need to be told.
They will hear us when we need to bare our souls without judging us, and chase us when we run to despair and drag us back. They kneel at the Throne of Grace for us in our joys and our trials.
Jesus' inner circle of friends fell asleep while he prayed for them in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was facing an agonizing death. And while would be bad enough, for Him there was more. Jesus Christ was facing the sins of all mankind through all eternity. And, He was facing something He had never experienced - separation from the Father on the cross. He, who had never known sin, took on the every sin to satisfy the price of sin. And He rose again to break the power of death over us. Facing all of this, Jesus prayed for his friends who had promised to pray with Him, even after they had fallen asleep. As the omniscient Lord of Creation, He knew that they would.
After his resurrection, Jesus met His Disciples on the beach and had cooked them breakfast. He ate with them and gently brought them back into His fellowship. This was even true of Peter who had denied his Lord three times publicly and was terribly humiliated at his failure to stand with Jesus. Jesus gave us this as our example. This is seventy times seven in flesh and bone, forgiving and restoring important relationships even when they have faltered. It is a reflection of the love that Jesus Christ has for us, and it is a light to the world that doesn't understand the love we know.
John 15:15-17 "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have 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 of the Father in My name, He may give to you. 17 "This I command you, that you love one another. (NASB)
Grace & Peace,