“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends… I have called you friends….” (John 15:13, 15 NASB)
A friendship with Jesus, just like any human friendship, needs cultivation. Once that cultivation begins, there is no turning back. The friendship must be authentic. It must be born of more than a warm and fuzzy feeling. When we make a decision to be friends with Jesus we put ourselves out there, on the long, thin, frail branch; because we know that’s what He did for us. Our devotion to Him is reciprocal, and not of selfish human nature. Our human friendships, if they are authentic, require much the same kind of devotion.
It is a life or death decision to lay one’s life down for Jesus, and it requires us to submit and surrender unto Him in a world that laughs behind your back when they see it happening. However, once we know this is required, to not do it is a bad thing. It becomes a place of shame, sorrow, and grief. Our human nature doesn’t want us to submit; but if we do submit, our life is never the same.
Would we die for a human friend? Just ask any Marine about his Iraqi or Afghanistan experience. We can’t comprehend willfully throwing ourselves atop a grenade to spare the lives of those around us, or being beaten, tormented, and hung up on a wooden cross so that we might live for eternity, but we can comprehend giving ourselves to our human friends in life and death situations.
Jesus is my best friend, not only because he gave up his life for me, but because of who he is.