Jesus our Perfect Friend
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). What a joy it is to have a friend, one we can confide and trust in, receive help and encouragement from, one who knows and loves us just as we are. To have a friend walk beside us in the darkest times is a great blessing.
But friendship, like all things in this fallen world, is broken. Because of sin, we have conflicts with others. We seek our own way. We hurt and betray one another. We know what it is like to have a friend fail us and let us down. We’ve probably had friends betray our confidences with others. Perhaps we’ve even had friends turn their backs and reject us. Certainly we know what it’s like when close friends from the past fade further away through time and distance. Some of us may know the heartache of losing a friend through death.
As a result, it can be easy to grow cynical about friendship. We can be distrusting and cautious. We might find relationships online or through social media to be more appealing than flesh and blood friendships. We may keep the relationships we do have at a distance, never trusting enough to share what’s really going on in our heart. And some may give up on friendship altogether, preferring to handle life on our own.
Yes, friendship is hard and sometimes even hurtful. But Jesus came to redeem and restore all things, including our relationships with one another.
There’s an old hymn titled that says,
Jesus! What a Friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Saviour, makes me whole.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Oh! To be able to say ‘Christ is my friend,’ is one of the sweetest things in the world.” While Jesus was mocked for being a friend of sinners (Luke 7:34), those who have been rescued from sin through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross know the sweet taste of singing the words, “Jesus! What a friend for sinners!”
Though our earthly friends may fail us and earthly foes assail us, Jesus stands by us, our perfect friend. His love for us is unconditional; it’s not based on who we are and what we’ve done. His love is not fickle or temporary. He doesn’t make promises and then fail to keep them. He won’t turn on us and reject us. Jesus’ love for us is eternal, extending all the way back in eternity past, before time even began (Ephesians 1:4–5). And nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:38–39). Even now, he is at work for us, interceding before the Father on our behalf: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
As our friend, Jesus not only wants the best for us, but he knows what is best for us and ensures that only the best ever happens to us. He works out all the details of our life for our good and his glory. He comforts us, guides us, hears our every cry, knows what we need even before we do, and works in us at all times, transforming us into his own righteous image.
He is the friend we never had, the friend we never deserved, the one friend we all need - our perfect friend.
The friendships we have with other believers are rooted in our friendship with Christ. They blossom and bear fruit out of our relationship with him. In fact, our friendship with Jesus creates and shapes our friendships with others.
Jesus describes himself as the vine and us as the branches, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4–5) Just as a branch receives its life and sustenance from the vine, we too receive our spiritual life and health through our union with Christ. We grow and bear fruit from what he provides.
We all come to faith the same way, by grace through faith. Not one of us has it all together; we all rely upon the grace and favour of God. Because we know the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus, we can be patient and forbearing with one another (Ephesians 4:32). Jesus’ constant grace toward us when we sin and fail him enables us to forgive others when they fail or sin against us.
Jesus is our first friend, creating and shaping our friendships with others. We love out of the overflow of his love for us. Jesus is also our perfect friend, the one who loves at all times. When friends fail us and let us down, we can continue to love them because we know we have been loved with a perfect and unfailing love. Because, as the old hymn says "Jesus is with us to the end."
Christians think of Jesus as their Lord, Saviour, King and Master. However, believers rarely think of Jesus as being a close friend. Though that might sound strange to you at first, Jesus actually wants us to think this way.
Jesus is our King, but He never wants us to feel that we are beneath Him. He wants us to talk to Him, come to Him during our times of trouble, and build a loving, long-lasting friendship. Jesus has the non-negotiable attributes that a best friend should possess – such as honesty, listening skills, and ability to accept you for who you are. When you boil it down you realise that Jesus is the example of what a perfect friend should be.
Once you see all the things that a friendship with Jesus offers, you will realise that He is the best friend that you could ever have. A truly happy life is made possible when we choose to have a friendship with Him.
Find a Real Friend in Jesus: Ten Amazingly Easy Steps -Gary Zimak
Jesus (The God Who Knows Your Name) - Max Lucado
Jesus is our Friend: A Common Man's Search for Jesus Christ - Carl Butcher