Jesus, Friend of All

(Hello again; hopefully I’m back for a little while. I took a small vacation from the blogging world, but I hope to get back a little bit soon. Thanks for your patience.)

Jesus was undoubtedly the most influential man in the entire Bible. There were great prophets, gifted speakers, and even radical converts, but the words that weigh heaviest and are most awe-inspiring are the ones Jesus spoke.

One of the most encouraging passages in my mind of Jesus’ is Matthew 9:10-13, where Jesus is dining with Matthew at his house.

Throughout the course of the Gospels, Jesus is tried countless times regarding the validity of His being the Son of God, and I am always fascinated by His quick and applicable answers. When the Pharisees tried to trick him by asking if the tax should be paid, He had the perfect answer, which avoided stirring up anger for either the Romans or the taxpayers. The same quick wit and ability to counter these tricks is seen in Matthew 9:10-13: “10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”

Nowadays, people in high authority or power do not mingle with the lower people. They tend to stick to their high-class, enjoying the admiration they receive from the lower classes and association with the associates in the high-class. But Jesus, Friend of all, was not like that in any sense. He would eat meals on the beach with fishermen, borrow a donkey to ride, borrow a small room for His last meal, and literally lived a life of servitude to people who had no idea who He was. He did not take advantage of His being God for Himself, but used it to benefit the people. He came to heal the people, both physically in some cases and spiritual in all cases. He, in his powerful position, came not to lead but to serve the lowest people he could find. Unlucky fishermen He made his second-in-command, and a tax-collector, one of the most scorned men around, he took into His company too. He made time for the lower-class citizen’s children, and approached the ones the rest of the world avoided. He was a caring, loving God. He was a friend of all. And He still is a friend of all. He sends forth men and women to other countries, to other states, to other cities, and to their own dwellings to bring the news of Christ to the world. So how can we not speak out? How can we stay silent? How can we love and serve Jesus, who devoted His entire existence on earth to serving “the least of these”, if we don’t follow His divine example? You don’t have to be low-class to reach the needy, nor do you have to be high-class to be able to do something. Reach out to those who are neglected by the world, reach out to those who have been neglected by the rest. Serve those who have never been served before – and do it all in the name of Jesus.

The Man Behind the Door

All of us have had friends before. And with every one that has passed, there has been a little piece of hurt thrust into your life. As you get older these hurts increase. I moved to Houston when I was six or seven, but I didn’t feel much true hurt about leaving everybody I knew – I was young! I didn’t understand the meaning of true friendship. But then when my first ever best friend left our church and I never ever saw him again, that was probably my first friend-loss hurt that I’ve ever had. It happened again when we moved, except much more dramatic.
My point is that there is hurt in every one of us – hurt that is almost impossible to comfort by our own efforts. And who really wants to go around broadcasting that hurt to every person on the planet? No one wants all these sympathizers coming to them, and in reality, who would really care about a random person’s hurts?
We need to care. I am going to try to address the need to care, the desire to care, and the reason to care. These are crucial to being a good trustworthy friend.

          The Need to Care
A few months ago I learned that the person who I considered to be my best friend did not feel the same way about me. That discovery brought a whirlwind of hurt, pain, and dislike for that person into my life. The person that I called a best friend really was not my best friend. Or was it really that way?
If we are going to be good best friends, we need to understand this concept: Sometimes people are there for you, and sometimes you are there for them. You shouldn’t be able to look at your friendship as looking in a mirror. You shouldn’t be linked identical-to-identical; friendships don’t typically work that way. Most of the time, God brings people into your life to encourage you, heal you from previous wounds, mentor you, or just be a guide for you. But in order for this rule to be true, it has to go both ways. In mathematical terms, it has to be commutative. If this applies for all people, it applies to you and to your best friend. That means that if your best friend (in your eyes) does not consider you his/her best friend, maybe he is only there for you, and you are getting what you can from him. But what if there’s this guy (or girl in a girl’s case; let’s not make this awkward) that considers you his(/her) best friend, but you really don’t care for them? At all. Maybe you are there for them. But here’s something important about this rule that you have to understand: you have to care for that person! You have to desire to care. Here’s a quote I was shown today:
“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most, to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return.”

       The Desire to Care
Why should we be given the desire to care? Well, love stems from care, and the two greatest commandments are all about loving God and man; that should be reason enough.
But in case it’s not, you should remember a time when your life was falling apart at the seams, where everything was crumbling around you, and where your life was pretty much chaos and confusion. And do you remember how good prayer from another person felt? It is so nice when you are in need and receive prayer.
I heard a story a month or so ago at a church, where this speaker was talking about an uncle of his, who refused to get saved until a few months before his death (he had cancer). The speaker proceeded to say that after he (his uncle) was saved, he witnessed to more people in his few remaining months than most Christians do in their entire lifetime.
This is the kind of care we should be having. Remembering how close we came to complete destruction should motivate us to help those who are on their way there.

The Reason to Care
The reason to care is a great one. What is it? God cared about us first, and we are to mirror the image of Christ in all that we do. Therefore we should be kind and considerate and caring to those around us who love us. Also, we often care out of love for that person. If you love someone, you will mind if they get injured or are going through a hard time. It’s just something that you should do. That is the reason to care – out of love.
In conclusion, I want to draw out my original point. All of us have friends or people we know. All people are hurting. That means your friend is hurting. That means his friend is hurting. That means you are hurting. You may not realize it, but there is hurt there. There is pain there. There is sorrow there. You may be ignoring it and thus unaware of its presence, but believe me the pain is still present. So, do you want to have a friendship on the surface, or do you want to know the man behind the door?