Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Jesus took his disciples to a vineyard to teach them a spiritual truth.
He often used things in the natural to convey a spiritual truth. He looked at the vines and branches in the vineyard and compared His relationship to the disciples to a branch and a vine, saying I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) Jesus then described His relationship to His Father and how it related to them: As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. (v.9) Jesus knew that the love He had for his disciples and the world would send Him to the cross; it was His love for them that enabled Him to obey His father and lay His life down for them. He tells His disciples that there is no love greater than laying one’s life down for his friends.
Friendships are important. Everyone needs a friend, and everyone needs to be a friend. A true friend will love unconditionally, and a true friend will be willing to set aside his own needs to serve the needs of another. I remember an occasion when some friends at school hurt my feelings. My mother told me that I should feel blessed if, in a lifetime, I had five true friends. Her words have returned to me many times as I have gone through life.
The story of David, who eventually became king of Israel, illustrates a God-ordained friendship in which Jonathan, King Saul’s son, willingly lays his life down for David. Jonathan could have been jealous of David, thinking that he should rightfully follow his father as King of Israel. But Jonathan was more concerned with God’s will than his own ambition or desires, and he knew that David had been anointed to be the next king. He protected David from Saul, and he did all that he could do to ensure that David would fulfill the call of God: And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. (I Samuel 18:3)
Jesus talked about friendships. He even said that it was His desire that we each are His friend. Friendship with Christ is the most important friendship we have on this earth, and out of our relationship with Him, we will be able to be a true friend to others.
Help me to be a genuine friend, willing to look to serve a friend and consider that friend’s interests above my own. Help me to build godly relationships based on my friendship with You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen