Friendship with Jesus*
Jesus said, “This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17
I once realized that I tended to skim the surface of life like a water skier. Since then, I have been learning to dive deeper into life, especially into friendships. My greatest friendship is the one I have with Jesus.
John had no problem diving into a friendship with Jesus. In his gospel, John modestly withholds his name and calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” More than just a follower of Jesus, he became one of the three disciples considered to be Jesus’ closest friends. (The other two were Peter and James.)
On the night Jesus was betrayed, John leaned on Jesus’ bosom as they reclined at the table in the upper room (John 13:21). Did John hear Jesus’ heartbeat? Did he sense Jesus’ anguish? Later he wrote that Jesus was “troubled in spirit.” John supported Jesus through the night of accusations, trials, and beatings, staying as close as he could. He even stood fearlessly at the foot of the cross as Jesus was crucified. In his dying words, Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to John, who took her into his home immediately (John 19:26-27).
John shared with us his deep friendship with Jesus in the gospel that some have called the most profound. In his epistles, John says we can rely on the love God has for us because God is love and “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him” (1 John 4:16-17).
Let us dive deeply into our relationship with Jesus through prayer and studying the Bible, especially the four gospels. Let us receive Jesus’ love, be made complete and like Him now—in this world—so that we can pass on his love to others.
Most of the disciples deserted Jesus when He was arrested, but not John. Read John 18:15-16 and 19:25-27 to follow him as he agonized with his friend.
Read John 15:9-17. How has Jesus shown friendship to us? How should we show friendship to others?
Read John 20:1-8. Who was the first disciple to reach the empty tomb and believe Jesus was resurrected? What does that indicate about his relationship with Jesus?
Nancy J. Baker
*This devotion first appeared in The Secret Place, Spring 2009