Few people realize how much Jesus actually valued friendship. Before he went to the cross, Jesus said to his disciples in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is an intimate glimpse into the heart of Jesus. As the nails were piercing through his hands and his feet, no doubt, Jesus thought about you and me, he thought about the world he was saving, he thought about those who would believe in him after… but as he hung on the cross, I bet you that Jesus thought about Peter, James and John–his closest disciples, his best friends.
Jesus values friendship. He went to the cross for it.
Can you imagine how heart-wrenching it was for Jesus to learn that Peter would deny him three times? Three and a half years of ‘doing life’ with his disciples, and now one of the ones closest to him, the disciple who confessed that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the Living God–now, Peter, would go on to deny he ever even knew Jesus. Not just once, but three times. That’s a burned bridge if you ever saw one. Most people would consider that a definite end to a relationship.
But for Jesus, there is no end.
After Jesus had risen from the dead, the angels said to the women who came to the tomb, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” The very first thing Jesus was determined to do after his resurrection was show Peter how willing He was to rebuild the bridge with him, i.e. to restore their relationship. That’s how much Jesus values relationship.
Are there any burned bridges in your life?
When it comes to marriage, we’ll often say, “Take counseling. Take classes. Do everything you can. Just don’t get a divorce.” And the same thing when it comes to our relationship with God, “Repent. Pray. Turn around. Just don’t forsake the Lord.” We know it is our responsibility to keep those bridges intact.
Yet, for some reason, when it comes to friendships… it’s okay to burn bridges. “This person offended me. Burn that bridge. This person spoke behind my back. Burn that bridge. This person betrayed me! Really burn that bridge.”
We will spend a whole season of our lives building connection with someone, sharing our deepest secrets, and doing life together. Yet, when something happens that creates a riff between the two of us, we decide to burn the bridge and think we can just press “Reset” with someone new.
Friendships were not meant to last for only a season.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Friendships go way beyond convenience. It’s the decision to say “Yes!” a thousand times over a period of decades that builds wealth in a relationship. It creates depth. Continue reading “jesus died for friendship. will you?”