Summary: This is the second in a series of Hymns you love, looking at how Jesus loves each one of us

#What a Friend We Have in Jesus

John 15:13-15

This morning as we look at our second hymn in the series Hymns You Love

I want us to take a look at another favorite

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

John 15:13-15

The words of the hymn "What a friend we have in Jesus" were written by Banbridge man and church minister Joseph Scriven. He was actually in Canada when his mother was unwell and feeling down, so he wrote her a poem to cheer her up - it found its way into the local paper. The story goes that it was used as the inner wrapping of a gift sent to someone in New York, and the person who opened the package happened to glance through the pages. He was so taken that he saw to it that it was published. The music was added later, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history! Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends! What a powerful statement Jesus is making

And what is even more important is that He made this statement in the upper room

Just hours before He was to be betrayed, arrested, tried and crucified

No doubt these words – lay down his life for his friends- would ring through His disciples minds

As He was crucified in their place

Being a friend of Christ means that you have His sacrifice

And our sins and griefs to bear

That sacrifice that you as a friend of Jesus partake in is what carries those sins and burdens away

Far to often I feel we as Christians take for granted what it means to be a friend of Jesus

Many years ago a young Canadian man, his wife, his two children and another young man were pursued by a large pack of wolves

When about to be overtaken, they shot some of the wolves

This stopped the pack for a short time while they devoured the fallen beasts

Again about to be overtaken they cut loose the lead horse

This slowed the pack once more as they pounced on their next victim

The group was trying to reach the place of safety

But before they could do so, the wolves were upon them

The young man accompanying this family said

The only hope is for me to give myself to the wolves

Then he immediately jumped from the vehicle into the pack of wolves

Of course he was devoured immediately

The family rushed into safety just before the pack was on them one last time

They could hardly rest

They said “Our friend gave himself for us. We are living because he is dead” REPEAT

This is Jesus

What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer

We always pray or end our prayers with some version of the statement “In Jesus name we pray”

That is the privilege

If He hadn’t died on that cross

If He hadn’t rose again the third day

If He hadn’t ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father

We would never be able to approach God with our prayers

We pray to God the Father, and Jesus carries those prayers to Him

If it wasn’t for Jesus’ sacrifice God would see each of us as nothing but vile wicked sinners

It doesn’t matter how much or how little we have sinned

In God’s eyes all He sees is a sinner

I can imagine this conversation in Heaven

It starts with me

Lord, I have sinned, I have done this awful thing and I pray for you to forgive me

As I pray God is listening and He says

Look at that filth, he disgusts me

His life is full of sin makes me want to puke

How dare he approach my holy throne in such a manner

Does he not know I am a holy God?

But Father, Jesus says, my blood paid for his sins

I died on that cross to cover all of it

He is not approaching you in vain, or of his own accord

Let us look at his sin record Father

And as Jesus hands the Father a list of my sins

It is supernaturally changed from a white sheet covered in black as coal print of my sins

Into a solid blood stained sheet, washed white as snow

And the Father says, he is forgiven

All God sees is the blood of Jesus, nothing else

What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer

Now sometimes we may forget our opportunity for peace and needlessly bear the pains on this earth

Why? Because we do not carry everything to God in prayer

Carry those burdens, carry that pain, carry those sins to God

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