Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15b NIV)While attending a wedding banquet, Peter saw a colleague of his from a different division seated at another table, so he walked over to greet his colleague.
"Hi, John, what brings you here?" asked Peter.
"Oh hi, Peter, I'm surprise to see you here,” John responded. “Are you a friend of the bride or the bridegroom?"
"I'm a close friend of the bridegroom. What about you?"
"I'm a close friend of the bridegroom too! That makes two of us his close friends, yet we are not aware of that until now."
"Well, if Emanuel is a close friend of yours, that makes you my friend too," said Peter, not because he wanted to sound cordial, but because he knew the type of friends Emanuel would consider close to him. "Let's do lunch together sometime, shall we?"
Some of us are probably familiar with the scenario described in the story. I personally have experienced such a situation before, and I know how relationships can be drawn closer together because of a mutual friend.
As Christians, we know we have a mutual friend who draws us close together. This friend is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (John 15:15b). Jesus said, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32 NIV). We know this is true, because our hearts are closely kindred within us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Regardless where we are in the world, visiting a church or having fellowship with Christians while abroad, we know we are at home among friends, even if we are with people we do not know.
Having friends is a blessing, and all the more so with Christ as our mutual friend. Our Lord unites us together as a family of believers. Whether we know each other personally or online through social media or other Christian communities, we can all come together with one mind and spirit in the Lord. This is possible only because our Lord has brought complete and perfect unity to the world through His love (John 17:22-23; Colossians 3:14), and we have all been baptized by one Spirit into one body in this bond of love (1 Corinthians 12:13).
With Jesus as our mutual friend, when we are gathered together in His name, we know the type of friends we are with because we know who our Lord considers close to Him. Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15 NIV), and “whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me” (John 14:21 NIV). If we consider ourselves a close friend of Jesus, then we should love Him and do as He commands. By this everyone will know we are His disciples, if we love one another (John 13:35).
As siblings of one body, and with Christ as our mutual friend, we ought therefore to encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We need not be anxious for anything, but in every situation we should bring our requests to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6). For in Christ, we are a family, and there is no need for us to struggle or fight our spiritual battles alone.
Our Lord is our mutual friend; He is the one who willingly died on our behalf to save us (1 John 2:2-6). Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). All our sins and grief Jesus had bored in His body on the cross that we might die to sins and live for righteousness (Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:17; 1 Peter 2:24). Let us, therefore, clothe ourselves with humility toward one another, humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, and cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Dear Lord, thank You for being our mutual friend, and for bringing all of us who believe in You close together. We know Lord we are not alone in our struggles because You have given us spiritual siblings to build each other up. Lord, we are forever grateful to You for bearing our sins and grief, and for laying down Your life for us. We praise and worship You Lord because You alone are worthy to receive all glory, honor and power forever and ever. Amen.
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