Christina Baldwin

Friendship with the Gardener

Christina Baldwin
Friendship with the Gardener

by Meghan Adams

When Christina asked me to write about friendship with Jesus, I was immediately interested because, as Christians, I think we tend to spend more time focused on Jesus as Savior, Father or Redeemer, which is GOOD and RIGHT, and TRUE, but I wonder, are we missing something by not considering His friendship? 

What does the Bible tell us about Jesus as our friend? What is our inheritance as friends of Christ and how can we pursue our friendship with Jesus in our daily lives?

So, what does the Bible say about this?

If we read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we can see that Jesus started His ministry with friends. Of course I'm talking about His disciples or "Learners" (as it means in the original language), but they were also His friends. They ate together, traveled together, weathered storms, celebrated and mourned together.

You know that saying about friendship that goes something like, "Friends are the family you get to choose?" Well, Jesus CHOSE each one of His friends, the disciples, and the great news for us is that He has chosen us as well! I believe we can learn a lot about our inheritance as friends of Jesus by looking at His time with the disciples and the hurting people He met along the way.

In John 15:15 Jesus is talking to His disciples and He says, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I call you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." 

Kings don't tell their servants about their plans!! Jesus let the disciples in completely and didn't keep secrets from them. He invited them into, not only His company, but His ministry and personal journey as well. 

We, too, are invited into the company AND ministry of Jesus!

I love the example of friendship Jesus reveals to us through His relationships with the disciples, and those He healed and set free. He consistently surprised the people around Him by operating more like a friend or a servant than a king, which is of course, exactly the type of King that I think we'd all like to follow! 

He certainly showed us He is a friend to all while He walked this earth.

Because of the Bible, we can discover so many examples of His surprising kindness, compassion and patience towards people who were in need of a friend. One of His own disciples, Matthew, a tax collector, was in desperate need of redemption, acceptance and unconditional love, and that's exactly what Jesus gave to him.

He didn't just offer divine forgiveness and move along, either!

He asked Matthew to come with Him and be one of the few who got to be close to Jesus during His years of ministry and miracles. Matthew was one of the friends Jesus chose to love, teach, invest in and bless despite his sin and brokenness! This is SUCH GOOD NEWS because, we too, have been chosen! At some point in every believer's life, Jesus came towards us and offered everything our hearts were desperate for and He offered it with pure love, no-strings-attached, like the dearest of friends would do. 

You don't need to read all of the gospels to see that Jesus didn't sit regally on a throne in the center of town while people walked for miles to fawn over him. He walked TOWARD the fearful leper and touched him, who had not been touched in love for who knows how long! He sat with the woman at the well, He went to the sick and the dying. He walked into Lazarus' tomb! That's not what a typical King would do, that's what a close and beloved friend would do, yet Jesus did all those things and more with the full authority of God! 

Thinking of Jesus as the King of all Kings AND Emmanuel, "God with us," reminds me that He doesn't wait for us to figure out how to come to Him! He comes towards us, knowing full well the extent of our brokenness and need. Isn't that good news? Because of Jesus, our incredible, sovereign God is accessible in a completely personal way. The vast space that came between us and God when sin entered the world, has been healed and filled in by Jesus. Hallelujah! 

Psalm 56:8 says, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." 

Jesus sees our tears, bears witness to our wounds and He's the Only one who knows them all by heart. What an incredible Friend, to remember our sadness, take note of our disappointments and watch over our secret sob sessions! I have great friends, and I've definitely cried in front of them, but none of them have seen every tear.

That is something only Jesus can say.

Jesus is certainly worthy of our friendship, so how can we pursue our friendship with Him in our daily lives?

There's an old hymn, called "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" that goes,

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. 

And what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.

Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear.

All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials or temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share? 

Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer."

This song reminds me of the hope we have IN Christ and BECAUSE of Christ. He is one willing to bear our sins, griefs and sorrows, who knows our weaknesses, and still He draws NEAR!

I want to encourage you, wherever you find yourself in need, to open your mouth and speak His name. Pray and then pray some more! Invite Him in, who is already at your side. Remember that nothing we are bearing will disqualify us from His grace and friendship. He sees it all and knows it all and I believe He longs for us to trust Him enough to bring it to Him. If there's a place in your heart that is lonely, discouraged, losing hope, feeling ashamed or unworthy... If there are things you are bearing on your own, don't wait!

You have the greatest friend there ever could be waiting to meet you exactly where you are. He alone can fill our cracks, make us whole, sustain us and recreate us, but He won't push that on us. He is, after all, a kind Friend.