On Valentine’s Day we often focus on the love we have for others. While this love can be steadfast or sometimes be fleeting, the truest love of all came to us from God over 2,000 years ago. But God provides earthly love through many people He gifts into our lives. It is often said that true friends are a gift from God. They stand by you in difficult times, they lift you up in prayer, they are loyal through-and-through and they love us as God first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Today we look at two snapshots that demonstrate the love of friends.
The First Snapshot:
A paralyzed man is being carried through crowded city streets on a mat. His friends, sweating and bumping past all the people, grow increasingly frustrated—they can’t get through!
Jesus, the man they call the Christ, is preaching inside a house in front of them, but the door is blocked by people inside and out who are straining to hear His teaching.
What do the men do? “…They went up on the roof and lowered [the paralytic] on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus” (Luke 5:19).
A picture of unrelenting, unembarrassed, unapologetic friendship. These men knew that their friend needed Jesus Christ, and nothing could stand in their way. Their reward was to see their friend go home praising God, on his feet.
The Second Snapshot:
Jesus is teaching His disciples over the Passover Meal on the evening before His crucifixion. As He urges them to love one another, Jesus begins to speak about friendship. He says:
“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. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:15-16)
Jesus modeled friendship by sharing His knowledge of the Father, and then went on to “lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
He calls us to this same friendship, for we, too, have learned from the Father and experienced His life through the Spirit and the Word.
As we take part in My Hope with Billy Graham this year, let’s partake in deep friendships. Relational evangelism is walking through life with our friends, co-workers, and family members. As Jesus urged and the paralytic’s friends demonstrated, let’s bear fruit that lasts through sharing the hope we find in Jesus Christ with our dear friends.
In your friendships this week, remember Jesus’ command: “Love each other” (John 15:17).