Summary: Jesus our Lord has given His disciples an honorary promotion by elevating our status from servant to friend. What a Friend we have in Jesus! To have a friend, be a friend - as was Jonathan to David.
THE WONDER OF HAVING A TRUE FRIEND
How does the honorary promotion that Jesus gave you make you feel?
Remember: Jesus elevated your status from “servant” to “friend” (John 15:15) -- when you proved your love for Him by loving one another as He loved you.
As one of His followers, you became a disciple in whom Christ resides and abides, but then you graduated and became his friend - one in whom He confides – a true friend. Based on your love and loyalty, He chose you to be His friend.
What is a friend? It is said that a British publication offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. The winning definition was this: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
O, the wonder of having in your life someone who believes in you, comes in to be with you, props you up when everyone else has left you “out in the cold” to sink or swim on your own!
Rather than let you “drown” in your misery, Jesus threw you a “lifeline” of hope and encouragement. “Come unto me (all of you who are “down in the dumps”, discouraged, wondering where to turn, burdened with uncertainty) and I will give you rest (encouragement, something to live for, peace of mind, the certainty of a glorious future).
Most of us have acquaintances to whom we can turn - with whom we can talk - when we feel lonely and afraid, or need cheering up, but everyone needs a friend to whom to go in times of exasperation, desperation, even contemplation.
One of the real heroes of the Bible, David, had such a friend - one that stuck closer than a brother – a true friend who, you might say, “came in when the world had gone out” --- I Samuel 18:1-4 . . . 19:1 . . .19:4-7 . . . 20:4 . . . 20:10-13 . . .
Jonathan - eldest son of Saul, a great military leader like his father, but best remembered as David’s friend! Jonathan’s love for David began the day the two first met - after the slaying of Goliath (I Samuel 18:1-4), and his love for David remained strong despite knowing that David, not him, would one day be king.
When Jonathan first realized his father’s animosity towards David, he did what he did not have to do – interceded for his friend (19:1-7) - then later, more than once, Jonathan risked his life for David – “no greater love than this”!
Jonathan, a person of integrity, refused to take part in Saul’s evil schemes to kill David - forced to live in hiding in the desert. In the desert, these two friends met after a long period of separation. There, Jonathan voluntarily surrendered his claim to the throne and threw his support behind God’s chosen one, his friend David.
Why were these two friends bound together as if one and the same spirit?
Jonathan and David had a lot in common as warriors but, more importantly, were men of God who put God’s Will ahead of their own. Isn’t this the same spirit of oneness that binds our hearts together with Christ whose prayers reflected His desire that God’s Will be done? True friends put God the Father first.
That these two friends became one in the bond of love is evident. You see, when our spirit is like unto the spirit of Christ, easily we recognize others whose spirits are in harmony with Christ who always did what was best for the persons whose needs were brought to His attention. True friends do likewise.
On the personal level, if one friend recognizes that the other is going to rise to a higher level of acclaim (he or she is bound to do so for whatever reason), rather than become bitter and begrudge the second fiddle role that has become the lot of the “lesser”, true friends encourage and support each other.
A true friend wants to see his partner succeed, and vice versa. In wanting what’s best for the other, true friends give each other permission, freedom to be themselves, never sitting in judgment on them - the kind that berates or belittles. The text tells us that David and Jonathan wept together!
When your heart is broken, you can have a complete “meltdown” in the presence of a true friend, and you can do so freely without him or her trying to stop you from being yourself by telling you to get over it, or saying, “Don’t cry”!
When my youngest son died, a close friend of mine said, “If you need me, anytime of the day or night, just call or come over.” I took him up on his offer on Saturday night one week after Stan died.