You can never put a price tag on the value of a friend in need. Most of us, if not all, have had the opportunity to have good friends at some point in our lives. Friends who have added joy and laughter and stuck by us during the toughest of times. Sometimes though, because of distance or our busy lives, we grow apart. Not so with Jesus. Which begs the question: what makes Him so different from all our other friends?
When our Lord was here on earth, He was known as the Friend of sinners. The King of kings didn’t hesitate to keep company with the despised and the nobodies. To the lepers, the immoral, the demon-possessed, the tax collectors and even the fidgety little children, He had only one thing to say, “Come nigh unto me.”
He didn’t treat them based on their status or their issues, but He sat and spent time with them without bias. He didn’t stop there. He cared so deeply that He didn’t allow them to wallow in their sin, but showed them a way out. He gave them a chance to have a new life so that they were no longer outcasts, but instead saints and friends of God.
The King of kings didn’t hesitate to keep company with the despised and the nobodies
How wonderful it is to know that there is no sinner too vile in this world that the Lord is unwilling to befriend and change, if they come to Him! “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
The world usually seeks the company of people who are cheerful, positive and uncomplaining. But Jesus is a Friend who asks us to come to Him in whatever state of mind we may be in — whether we are fearful, tired or depressed. He promises to stay close to us, even when we are grumpy or unlovely or a crying mess with the same sob story day in and out. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
From the tiny little worries to the big scary ones that keep us awake at night, He wants to hear all about it. Flip through the pages of the Bible and we will see how the children of God whined and complained and cried in His presence. Elijah told God he wanted to die, Job questioned Him and David mourned — God heard them all. 1 Peter 5:7 offers timely advice: “Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
Because our Lord came to live on earth, being fully God and fully man, He knows and understands every struggle we go through in this life. He experienced poverty, rejection, hunger and tiredness. It’s so reassuring to know that He can empathise and feel what we feel.
In John 11:33-35, when the Lord saw Mary and the people with her weeping at the tomb, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. And He wept along with them — despite knowing that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead! Our burdens are often so heavy and burdensome, but the Lord encourages us to lay it all at His feet. He promises to help us and carry our burdens for us. “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
The other day, a dear one was going through a rough time and was sharing her heart with me. I felt so bad and wanted to say something encouraging, but I just couldn’t find the right words to say. Finally, I said that I would pray for her, because I knew in my heart that He was a far better Friend than me.
Whenever I’ve been down, He always knows exactly what words of comfort to give me. His reassuring presence and promises from His Word have never failed to lift my spirits. He is our Maker who knows us (and our needs) better than we know ourselves. The comfort God gives always leaves us completely satisfied such that we don’t need anything more from anyone else.
The comfort God gives always leaves us completely satisfied such that we don’t need anything more from anyone else
In 1 Samuel 1, we read about a barren woman named Hannah who wept bitterly, fasting and praying for a son in the temple of God. But then God speaks through Eli and reassures her that her prayer would be answered. Hannah then gets up and eats her food and her face was no longer sad (v.18). When God comforts, He quiets our hearts, restores our souls and gives us peace. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” (Psalm 94:19).
Looking back, I can think of many instances when faced with problems I have gone to Him only when everybody else has failed. Yet, He has still accepted me and loved me with a love that I cannot understand or describe. Take the life of the apostle Peter. Peter was one of his closest friends for three long years. But out of fear, Peter denied even knowing the Lord at the time of His arrest.
Discouraged and filled with guilt, he must have thought the Lord was through with him, for he went back to his fishing again. Yet, the Lord came to him, to the exact same place where he had been when He had first asked Peter to follow Him. He didn’t wait for Peter to apologise first and then start talking to him. Instead, the Lord cared and loved him as deeply as He did before and even looked after him. He made breakfast for the hungry, tired and dejected fisherman who had fished all night and caught nothing, and He renewed their friendship all over again (John 21).
Because when He was on that cross, when He cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”, He didn’t plead for just the soldiers who had mocked and crucified Him, but He pleaded for Peter and friends like you and me who often fail Him miserably. He loved us so much that He lay down His life so that He could restore our relationship once and for all. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
He has paid the ultimate price for our every failing and nothing and nobody can separate us from His love ever again. Even if we run from Him and go to the deepest abode of hell, His right hand will not let go of us (Psalm 139:8,10). He is our forever Friend who promises to never leave us nor forsake us, even in our darkest nights. Every promise He gives us, He will keep till the very end. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31:3).
Whether you are a sinner who has never known true love or a believer who has strayed far, far away, the Lord Jesus calls you to be His friend today. “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He is waiting for you. Will you answer and heed His call?
A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.