Terry R. Baughman
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12–13).
There is nothing like a true friend. Someone who is concerned about your wellbeing will sacrifice their person comfort to help you out and just show up when you need them. These are the most are outstanding qualities found in a friend. You kind of expect your family to be there in a time of need, but a friend goes beyond what is required and shows support in unexpected ways.
Jesus spoke of the love of a friend being demonstrated by extreme sacrifice. No greater love can be imagined than to sacrifice one’s life for a friend. To put yourself in danger when it could cost your life is the extreme example of true friendship. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is the love that God has for us and the sacrifice Jesus made. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus challenged the disciples, and by extension it challenges us, to love as He loved. It was His intention that we should love one another after the same pattern that He has revealed, “As I have loved you” (John 13:34; & 15:12).
Jesus gave us a parable of the man who received a late-night guest and had no bread to offer with his hospitality. He turns to another friend, a neighbor who is already asleep, and prevails on him to provide bread for his guest. Though the parable is to illustrate the persistence of the one asking for bread until he got a favorable response, it was noted that he was a friend. Sometimes our friends may not be so “self-sacrificing” as to give unconditionally, but they are still supportive and eventually come through when they see the need is important to you. On the other hand, when we have a friend in need, though it may not seem so important to us, let us respond in charity even when it is an inconvenience, for the love of a friend. (See Luke 11:5-8.)
One of the more endearing stories of Jesus as it reveals His affinity for His friends was in the story of Lazarus. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus who lived in Bethany were all siblings. They loved Jesus and always opened their home to Him and the disciples as they traveled through the area. Meals were provided and they were blessed to hear his teaching and see His developing ministry.
When Lazarus became extremely ill it was a natural response to send for Jesus to come and heal Him. However, Jesus did not show up in time and Lazarus died. Mary and Martha were devastated and numbly stumbled through the preparation for burial and tending the guests that came to honor his life. When Jesus and the disciples appeared Lazarus had been dead four days. Jesus felt their pain and the loss of their beloved brother. He asked to be taken to the place of burial and openly wept over the loss of His friend. Those who stood by commented, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:36). Then the miracle! Jesus asked them roll away the stone and Jesus spoke life into his body, “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43). Jesus love for a friend brought about a miraculous resurrection!
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).