“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
It’s not easy to be a real friend. Consider this question. Do I have a true friend, if so, what makes them a true friend? Would anyone consider me to be a true friend, if so, is it for the same reason?
As we’ve been approaching Easter I thought about Jesus, His “time of adversity”, and the role of His friends during those days.
Here are a Few Examples
The disciples: much needed friends who slipped and slept.
As Jesus was preparing Himself for the ordeal of the cross, we read that He was “sorrowful and troubled”. He leaned on His friends for support in the garden that night. “Stay here and watch”, He asked. I have no doubt they wanted to, but because they were weary, they couldn’t keep their eyes open. I'm ashamed to think of the times I’ve been asked to pray for a friend, only to let the distractions and fatigue of life win out.
Q: Are we the kind of friend who is faithful or forgetful?
Peter: a true friend who meant well and failed.
Peter wanted to be a loyal friend but blew it, like many of us often do. In the hours just before Jesus' death, like a prior event on the sea, Peter took his eyes off Jesus and let fear produce failure. Proverbs teaches us that a real friend “loves at all times and that a brother is born for adversity”. To be a real friend we must fix our eyes on Jesus.
Q: Are we a friend like this?
Judas – a false friend who meant ill and succeeded.
There are probably differing views on whether Judas was ever a true friend of Jesus. I have my doubts. Judas represents the self-serving, disloyal kind of friend we all have had and been. Judas seems to be the kind of friend who is present for the benefit of friendship but will “sell us out” when a better offer presents itself. Remarkably, while Judas was not a true friend to Jesus, I believe Jesus was a true friend to Judas. On the very night of Jesus betrayal, He greeted Judas with these words? “What do you come for, friend?”
Q: Are we a friend to those who are not a friend to us?
Joseph: a prominent friend who risked and sacrificed.
In the Gospels we’re told that Joseph of Arimathea was a prominent man with money and influence. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which meant that he was educated and religious. Most importantly, he was a believer and a follower (friend) of Jesus. I’m impressed by this man because he was willing to risk it all by “boldly” declaring his relationship to Jesus in view of those who were hostile to Jesus.
Joseph got his hands dirty by taking the body of Jesus from the cross. He used his influence to secure a personal, and risky, audience with Pilate. He used his assets to provide a tomb for the Lord, and he was willing to sacrifice his reputation by leaving the crowd to follow Jesus.
Q: Are we the kind of friend who would risk our reputation and resources for our friends?
MD5 Lab Facilitator