“You are my friends, if you do what I command” (John 15:14).
“’What a Friend We Have in Jesus,’ is my favorite hymn,” Billy Graham said when being asked by a reporter. In the Bible, Jesus is called by several names. He is called Christ, Saviour, Lord, and Master. I believe “friend” is the favorite among those who actively follow Him.
Being a friend implies a close relationship. It means that He knows us and loves us, and we know Him and love Him. We love Him because He first loved us, and as the old hymn says, He bore our sins and grief.
Jesus was the best, kindest, and sweetest man ever to walk on the face of this earth, but He was treated like a thief or murderer. He was arrested, hauled off to jail, and tried several times. He was falsely accused, and witnesses lied about Him. He was beaten and tortured. A crown of large thorns was put on His head and beaten down until they pierced His flesh. Blood flowed down His face, making Him almost unrecognizable. In His bloody, weakened condition, He was forced to carry a heavy wooden cross to the top of a hill called Golgotha. The crowds along the way spit on Him, called Him names, and laughed at Him.
At Golgotha, they stripped Him of His clothes, and nailed Him to the cross, hammering large spikes through His hands and feet. They stood His cross up between two thieves. There, He suffered great thirst and pain for many hours before He died.
As the prophet said, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Because He paid the price for our sins, we don’t have to.
Oh, what a friend!
Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.peopleforthechristianway.com