Friday, March 26, 2010

Friends of Christ

Jesus Raises Lazarus

Image by Loci Lenar via Flickr

Speaking of meaningful conversation...

Jesus had many meaningful conversations, but none so dear as the ones that he had with those who were his friends.  Jesus called his closest disciples friends, I will discuss the 12 and the three beloved later.  He also has a group that were not disciples per sey, but experienced friendship with Christ. 

Lazarus, Mary, and Martha

He said this, and then He told them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I'm on My way to wake him up."
John 11:11 (HCSB)

Jesus had a deep care and concern for this family in that lived in Bethany.  Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were siblings.  It is inferred that Martha was the oldest and Lazarus was the youngest.  This family seems to be well off, based on the type of funeral/burial of Lazarus and on them owning very expensive items (See John 11 & John 12:3; 5).  Lazarus is only mentioned in John related to Christ raising him from the dead.  Jesus called Lazarus friend (John 11:11), loved him and his sisters (John 11:1; 5), was willing to risk his life for them (John 11:8), wept at his death (John 11:35-36), became angry that he had died (John 11:33; 38), and raised him from the dead (John 11:43-44).  Martha and Mary are also mentioned in (Luke 10:38-41).  Based on this it would seem that Jesus stopped in to see them whenever he traveled to Jerusalem.  He was quite at home with them and they would care for him while he was there with them.  

How does this apply to us?  We have confidence enough in our friends to trust we would be able lodge with them whenever we pass their way.   That seems to be a higher level of confidence in my mind.  So what is the quality of that type of relationship.  Well Jesus loved them.  Do we have a fond affection for this type of friend?  Jesus also loved them with His whole being so as to be moved to act in their best interests.  Do we act in the best interests of our friends?  Jesus loved them with tenderness.  Do we act with tenderness and compassion?  Jesus laid his life on the line for them (and more generally for us).  Do we sacrifice for our friends?  He shared deep spiritual truths (oh to be at the feet of our Savior and listen to what he had to say; See Luke 10:39).  We do not frankly and more often than not avoid spiritual discussions at all with our friends.

As I learn more about the relationships that Christ I am struck by how much of His life was about serving others.  Often we look at relationships as what benefit we can get out of them.  Jesus on the other hand (as if he needed anything) set that completely opposite.  His approach was what are their needs and how can I meet that need.  Tenderness, compassion, sacrifice, love, trust, and shared spiritual times are the mark of friendship according to an examination of Christ's life.  How are you doing in the friendship department? 

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