What does it mean to be a friend of Jesus?
How does that even work when we can’t really see him, touch him, or have a normal conversation with him?
It’s hard for us to think about Jesus as a friend. Our friends are people that we hang out with and talk to, people that we share stories with and laugh with, people we tell our secrets and our struggles too. So how can Jesus be our friend?
John was around 14 years old when a guy by the name of Jesus came and told him to start following him. For three years John got to know Jesus, talked with Jesus and was there for the big moments of Jesus’ life. He would have learned Jesus’ habits, would have joked around with Jesus and would have known things that we’ll never know about Jesus like if he snored or what his favorite color was. He would have known every detail about Jesus and was one of Jesus’ closest friend.
When Jesus chose three people to see his power revealed on the mount of transfiguration John was picked to see it. (Matthew 7)
When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane and knew he was about to die he had John and two others join him for support. (Mark 14)
When Jesus was hanging on the cross it was John that Jesus asked to take care of his mother Mary after he went away. (John 19)
John ran into the empty tomb and knelt down to touch the slab of rock where Jesus should have been and felt the shock of realizing that Jesus might have actually done what he said he was going to do. (John 20)
John was there on the sea fishing with the other disciples when the resurrected Jesus came to meet them at the shore and John saw with his own two eyes, Jesus going into heaven. (Acts 1:6-11)
John was there for all of it, through the highs and the lows, a true friend of Jesus. The Gospels say that he was the disciple that Jesus loved (but to be fair he wrote that about himself) and the story about Jesus that he wrote, the book of John, has more personality and emotion than any of the other gospels. That’s because he knew Jesus, and he understands more than anyone who has ever lived what it means to be a friend of Jesus. He knows how to be connected with him, how to live in a relationship with him and how to experience joy through knowing him.
Decades after Jesus returned to heaven, the early church community was in a challenging time. There was pressure on all sides and the whole thing could have easily collapsed at any moment.
It was in that space where old man John, the last disciple, the last person who had known Jesus on earth sat down to write a letter that today we call First John to the churches telling them, in a time of intense struggle, the simple message of what it means to be a Christian.
To be a Friend of Jesus.
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. 1 John 1:1-2
John’s letter tells us that he’s a friend of Jesus and that he wants you to be a friend of Jesus too. He wants you to experience the connection of a real relationship with him. He shows us that there are real friends of Jesus and fake friends of Jesus, how to tell the difference between the two and how to avoid the trap of being a fake friend.
If you’re not sure where you stand with Jesus or what you even believe about Jesus then join us this summer as we look at what Jesus’ best friend had to say about him.
Series Starts: May 27