Friday, 02 December 2022
"Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany …So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him …..” -John 12:1-2
The first eleven chapters of John’s Gospel records the whole ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ covering a period of 3 years. From Chapter 12 till the end, it only covers one week or the Passion week. We see both unbelief and belief in peoples’ reactions to Christ—deciding their final destinies- eternal life or eternal death. Here we have both these types of people—Mary, Martha and Lazarus, true disciples of Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot, the poser (Vs 4-6). There were others who came to see Jesus and Lazarus who He raised from the dead but with different intentions. But many who knew Him gathered to greet Him and cried out “Hosanna!” Yes, He is our Saviour, the One who came to seek and save the lost. We also see Him as One who spent time with His friends at Bethany. Remember He calls us friends too in John 15:15.
Friendship is knowing and sharing one’s heart with another. Our innermost thoughts are shared because we trust those who care about us. This is why we confide in Jesus through prayer for we know He wants what is best for us. Have you ever considered that Jesus also confides in His people? Jesus called His disciples friends rather than servants because He had entrusted them with everything He had heard from His Father (John 15:15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”) Jesus trusts us to use the information He gives us for the good of His Father’s kingdom to bring others into friendship with Him. Do we listen to what is in His heart? Or do we only want to tell Him to listen to what is in ours?
Let us look at the qualities of a true friend:
1) Friends spend time with each other especially in trying circumstances. Jesus is at His friends’ place before His passion. Proverbs 18:24: “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
2) Martha is always taking care of her friend’s needs. Romans 15:1: “…who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” 1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
3) Mary is eagerly listening to all that her friend has to say. Mary always sat at Jesus’ feet—never missing a chance to hear what the Lord had to say to her. Matt. 4:4: “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
4) A true friend has the confidence to openly rebuke. Jesus openly rebuked Judas V.7. Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
5) Lazarus is enjoying His companionship in quietness as he reclined at the table with Jesus. He did nothing but rest in Him. One can say that it was easy for him to do so because he was resurrected by Jesus. We fail to remember what Jesus said to Thomas, “…you believe because you see but blessed are those who do not see yet believe” (John 20:29). So let us take great encouragement from this confirmation by our Lord and learn to rest in His presence, receive from Him and share with others.
Let us always remember that Jesus laid down His life for us “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-1)
“……, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy.” (James 4:4)