On Friendship Day each year, we are reminded of the fact that as believers we are friends of Jesus. Yes, without a doubt, we are! Jesus himself said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:13-14). Yes, Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). Did you stop to notice that the passage in John 15 tells us that with the privilege of friendship comes the responsibility of obedience? The word “if” in John 15:14 makes Jesus’ offer of friendship even conditional to our obedience to Him (of course, an obedience that is moved by love). Did you ever slow down when you read that to know that with the blessing of friendship with Jesus comes the implied bond of obeying Him as well? Did it ever occur to us that the joy of being Jesus’ friends brings in the “job” of obeying Him as well (again it can be another ‘joy’ when that obedience comes from the heart!)! With the pleasure of being Jesus’ buddy comes the perspiration of daily obedience (enabled by the Spirit)! With the honor of being called Jesus’ chums comes the hardwork of obedience to the words of Jesus (propelled by the Spirit)!
Judas who enjoyed the “friendship” of Jesus did not fulfill the responsibility that came alongside it and he went to Hell, eventually! Jesus even called Judas his “friend” (Matt. 26:50). “Friend, do what you have come here to do!” – Jesus told Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas had exhausted all the gracious chances that Jesus had given him. Jesus gave him chances even though he knew Judas stole from his treasury (John 12:6). But that secret sin became a stubborn habit. Love of money was eating up Judas alive and he allowed it to happen without fighting that sin enabled by the Grace of God and the Spirit of God. For a price, he was ready to betray His master. When Jesus knew Judas had crossed the line of no-return, Jesus told him to do what he came to the Garden of Gethsemane to do. In those days, there was no Facebook. No Instagram. People who had not meet Jesus did not know how he looked like. That’s when there was a need to identify Jesus to the Roman Arrest Party. And Judas pitched in to make that extra buck. And after he did that, he felt miserable. “My life sucks after I chose an illegal way to make that extra buck!” he must have told himself! And he eventually committed suicide to land in eternal damnation – forever hell punishment (John 17:12).
Are we friends of Jesus? Absolutely! But that privilege must move us to the responsibility of obedience, empowered by the Holy Spirt as we continually cooperate with the Spirit!
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org)