Friendship, a word often used generously in our times, holds profound meaning. At moments, stories circulate of believers distancing themselves from friends, claiming protection of their bond with the Savior as the reason. While at first glance this seems disconcerting, the depths of friendships and their influence on our lives merit consideration. How did our Savior, Jesus Christ, manage His relationships? And how can we model ours on His?
Envision is one of the chosen disciples, accompanying Jesus for three transformative years. Witnessing miracles, partaking in intimate teachings, and experiencing His human moments—from shared meals to personal vulnerabilities. What a profound privilege! But let’s pause and reflect: why were some closer to Him than others?
Jesus, in His divine wisdom, established different layers of relationships. He mingled with thousands, nurtured 72 followers, mentored 12 disciples, and had three close confidants. And then there was the one, “whom Jesus loved” — a relationship beyond measure. Does this suggest favoritism or exclusivity? Quite the contrary. Jesus, often seen with tax collectors and sinners, was open-hearted. Yet, He was discerning about those he allowed within His innermost circle.
Today, in an era of vast social networks and fleeting connections, we must ask: Do we treasure friendships as Jesus did?
He defined friendship not by mere association but by a deeper bond. In John 15:13-15, Jesus articulates, “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I don’t call you servants any longer… Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.” For Jesus, the zenith of friendship converged with His divine mission. Those who championed His cause were His dearest.
Modern friendships often prioritize enjoyment, leading us to forsake companions when the tide turns tough. This is not the love Christ demonstrated. On the crucifixion day, as many abandoned Him, one disciple remained — showcasing that genuine friendship endures even in the bleakest moments.
Does this mean we shut our doors to those on different life paths? Absolutely not. Christ’s life exemplifies love for both friends and neighbors, each holding a unique place in our hearts. It’s crucial, however, to discern those we allow into our innermost sanctums, for in those spaces, influence and vulnerability intermingle.
In our journey, let’s seek friendships that mirror Christ’s — ones that are anchored in love, understanding, and purpose. For it’s in these relationships that we truly reflect the heart of our Savior.