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-Jesus as Friend and Companion

Jesus as Friend and Companion

Introduction It is difficult to separate this relationship from His teaching and discipling relationship with His disciples and followers. We are looking for passages that are more likely to show Jesus acting more as a friend, than a teacher (although the two are closely related, if you do it right, of course!--cf. Luke 12.4: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more."). God, of course, manifested this aspect of His relationship in the Old Testament, most explicitly with Abraham, Moses, and Job.


But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, (Is 41.8)
“Didst Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend forever? (2 Chron 20.7)

“and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. (Jas 2.23)

“Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off. 17 And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18 since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? (Gen 18.16)

[compare: The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Ps 25.14) and Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence. (Prov 3.31f)]

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. (Ex 33.11)

Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, (Job 29.4)
The Pattern of the interactions:

One–Communication: He shared His inner self and communicated with them, including them in His experience.

    • He opened His inner emotional life and thoughts to them.

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on. (Mark 12.41ff)
When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” (John 13.21: )

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” (Matt 26.36)

Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. (Jn 12.27)

    • He longed to share deeply meaningful moments with them.
        “And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22.15)
    • He confronted them with major disagreements in agenda.

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Mark 8.31f)
[Cf: “If your brother, your mother’s son, or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods'” (Deut 13.6)]

    • He told them of His feelings for them.
        My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15.12)

Two–Shared Experience: He engaged in common living and activity with them.

    • He celebrated with them and shared a common life.
        They traveled as a band together for 2-3 years, and celebrated all the Jewish festivals and simple daily life together. They shared triumphs of ministry (Luke 10.17) and the attendant tragedies (e.g., the death of John the Baptist).
    • He spent time with His friends
        The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ (Luke 7.34) with “And it came about that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax-gatherers, they began saying to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax-gatherers and sinners?”” (Mark 2.15ff)

He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.” (John 11.11) with “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.(John 12.1-2)

Three–His Commitments “To”: He expressed and lived commitments to them, and maintained a strong personal relationship with God, from which to fulfil those commitments.

  • He was concerned with their peace of mind
      Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. (John 14.1)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14.27)(cf: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Luke 10.40ff)

  • He let them know that their temporary failures did not affect His acceptance of them.
      Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22.31)
  • In His commitment to them, He dealt with them daily on the basis of “today”–not on the basis of the known future failures, nor on the basis of actual past failures!
      He knew ahead of time that Judas would betray Him (John 6.64), that Peter would deny Him three times (Matt 26.34), and that all the disciples would desert Him at the Garden (Mt 26.31), but this did not stop Him for experiencing friendship and closeness with His followers.

His closest moments of the Supper were after repeated failures during their travels, and His closest moments at the Great Commission and in the post-resurrection appearances were after the betrayal/denial/desertions…

  • He maintained a strong personal relationship with God, from which to fulfil His commitments to His friends.
      And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. 46 And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray. (Mark 6.45)

Four–He expected commitments “from”: He risked “friendship failures” with them, and communicated clearly His expectations of “their side” of the friendship

  • He took intimacy risks and personal risks, trusting them, even knowing the betrayals ahead
      I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ (John 13.18) quoting Ps 41.9: “Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

[cf. Matt 26.50: “Friend, why have you come?” or “Friend, do what you came for”]“For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.” (John 13.29) and “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.” (John 12.4)

  • He asked them for support in His hour of need.
      “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” (Matt 26.36)
  • He was honest about how He felt about failed personal commitments, expecting them to be loyal friends.
      “And they came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” 33 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” 37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? (Mark 14.32)
  • He confronted them with major disagreements in agenda.
      “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Mark 8.31f)

The Christian ThinkTank…[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com]

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