By Not Known
Proverbs speaks about the value of a friend who sticks closer than a brother and
who loves at all times (Pvbs 17:17, 18:24).
It is wonderful when we have a friend who comes close to this ideal. However, it
is a sad reality that no earthly friendship is fully like this.
Our earthly friends may lack the will and the ability to be such a person. Our
friends may be busy, they may be tired of us, or they may be self-absorbed and
unwilling to be there when we need them. Or they may want to help, but are
unable to do so because their abilities are not equal to our need.
Indeed, it is a ‘trap‘ to invest all our hopes in any earthly friend. That sets us up
for disappointment, despair and desperation as we try anything and eveything to
try and move the friendship up to this level. When we do this we are making an
idol of our friend. Idols like this will always disappoint us for they cannot
‘deliver‘ what we seek.
The friendship of Jesus is a refreshing contrast. He is the dependable friend who
perfectly lives out the ideal spoken of in Proverbs.
Firstly, Jesus is willing to help. He was sometimes exasperated with people who
misunderstood him and abused his help (eg. Jn 6:26), but we never read of him
turning away a sincere and needy person. Thus we read of a man (probably
Jewish) who wanted Jesus to come and heal his son. His faith depended on a
supply of signs and wonders (Jn 4:47-48). (Compare him with the non-Jewish
centurion who simply trusted Jesus’ word – Mt 8:8-10). However, Jesus still
helped and this led the man and his family to a deeper faith (Jn 4:50-53).
Secondly, Jesus is the friend who is able to help. Who else can heal with a word
raise the dead, feed a crowd from one boy’s snack, remove demons, still the
storm, pay for our sins and give hope of eternal life?
No help is beyond Jesus’ ability and no need is beyond his will.
So let’s thank God for our good earthly friends, enjoy their company and look for
their help. But let’s not ask more than they can give by expecting them to be like
Jesus. He is the only friend who is always ready, willing and available to help us
in our greatest needs.