Summary: Jesus does not float above all the people around him, he has true friends.
Jesus Who? October 28, 29, November 01
Jesus The Friend
Taking the halo off.
We’ve looked at Jesus’ public persona, what about his private persona?
Although Teacher, Rabbi, Revolutionary and even “Guru” might come out of most people’s mouths when asked who Jesus is, “Friend” is not a common answer, even among those who call themselves followers of Jesus. We think of Jesus as having followers, disciples, people that he healed, touched, and cared for. But what about having real honest-to-goodness friends?
Jesus says, “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ’He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ’Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ’ Luke 7:33-34
As an insult, the religious leaders called him “friend of sinners!” It is not a light slur, to say that someone was a friend of sinners in his day was like saying that you were a friend of commies back in the McCarthy Era.
Friend of sinners – meant as an Insult, taken as a badge of honour by Christians, A guy named Paul Oakley wrote a worship song called, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners, Jesus, Jesus, friend of mine”
Jesus was the life of the Party: so much of what happens in the Gospel happens around a meal with friends
At the end of his ministry, the night before he went to the cross, Jesus said this to his disciples:
“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.”
Even with this, it may be hard for many of us imagining that Jesus has people who are first his friends and then disciples or people he ministers with. But if much of what Jesus taught was about reconciled relationships, you would think he would have a few good friends himself.
Lazarus Mary & Martha
Lived in Bethany, a village just outside of Jerusalem, when Jesus was traveling in the area, he would usually stay with them. When I read the stories of Jesus interaction with these three, I see that he is “Jesus the friend.”
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells this story about a rich man who cares nothing about the misery of a poor beggar at his gate.
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named … Lazarus, … covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
Now, there is nothing to say this here but I think that Jesus is giving his friend Lazarus a hard time & inserts him into the story just to raze him, like I might tell a story and insert Nancy or Andrew just as a loving tease. Lazarus doesn’t come off too bad in the end. …
"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ’Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
"But Abraham replied, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
"He answered, ’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
"Abraham replied, ’They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
" ’No, father Abraham,’ he said, ’but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
"He said to him, ’If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ "
You might tease the ones you love, you might hang out with good friends, but I think that if you are really close – you will also have a few good fights, and your friendship with survive, or even be stronger because of the fight.
Me and Barb Rudd working together in ’87 – “we even had a few good fights”