Katherine wondered when this post would come out. Well, here it is at last. You can read the first part here and the second here. As I’ve said, relationship entails a variety of components.(Read part 2) Perhaps then, we should be more watchful when we say “christianity it’s a relationship.”
I would like to suggest that we change the word relationship for the word friendship. Jesus had all kinds of relationships with the people He met. (Ask the pharisees what kind of relationship they had with Him.) But He called His disciples friends. The implications are staggering. He simply did not come to rule over people. The people wanted Him as a ruler, but what He wanted was friends. How lonely He must have been at times. He had all these expectations of the people around Him, but they all missed the fact that He wanted to be a friend. He had to state the obvious to His disciples, otherwise they probably would never catch on to it. Joh 15:15 “I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.”
Of course His Father was a Friend to Abraham. Isa 41:8 “But you, Israel my servant, you are the people that I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham, my friend.” He spoke to Moses as a friend. Exo 33:11 “The LORD would speak with Moses face-to-face, just as someone speaks with a friend.” When we look at the Old Testament, God as a friend, is often overlooked. Again, I think it is overlooked, because we do not expect Him as a friend. Our point of view simply do not allow God this close.
Lucky for us, the Old Testament has a lot to say about friendship.
Pro 16:7 When you please the LORD, you can make your enemies into friends.
Pro 17:17 Friends always show their love.
Pro 18:24 Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers.
Pro 27:6 Friends mean well, even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts his arm around your shoulder—watch out!
Pro 27:17 Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Now of course, the some of the drawbacks in relationships are also found in friendships. You get artificial friends. Some stick with you, but when hard times come, they betray you. Proverbs 14:20 says, “No one likes the poor, not even their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.” Does that rich person have an intimacy with his/her friends, or are the so-called friends waiting around just for the feast? Mmmm. Perhaps the word friendship is also to easily used.
But friendship implies closeness. It entails intimacy. There is a familiarity about the “feel” of the friend. As friendships grow, we begin to open doors to each other that we do not show to other people. If we know Jesus as a friend, we know Him in ways that makes no sense to others. 2Co 4:8-9 “We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.”
Jesus knows something about friendship. He met strangers and called them to follow Him. He spend 3+ years with them. They became His friends, but when the big test came, they faltered. What they did not know was that He fullfilled Joh 15:13 “The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them.” and when they thought it was all over, He came back to them and told them that He will always be with them.
What a friend we have in Jesus!!
In these three posts I’ve tried to show that we sometimes use a sentence without really thinking on the message we send out. We latch onto the newest cliché without it being relevant in our lives. We prefer that our mouths do the talking, instead of our lives. Christianity is not a religion, it is a friendship. Can we throw this sentence at others to show that we have a superior faith? Yes, we can, but when we do, we are no friend of Jesus.