Athlete, Jesus loves His friends


Athlete, Jesus loves His friends

Tom Petersburg

John 15:13 (NASB)

Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends.

I have seen some serious friendships built on sports teams. These guys developed a comradery that most men would give anything to experience. They had each other’s backs. They not only fought alongside each other, they got into fights to defend each other. They forged life-long friendships. Thirty years later they still travel across country to spend time with each other’s families.

But even those human friendships had limits. I never heard a player offer his starting role to a good friend on the team, or offer to trade lucrative contracts. I never heard a player wish he could suffer a career-ending injury in place of his teammate.

Jesus took it to the max. God’s wrath toward sin required that someone die as our substitute. Jesus proved His love by His willingness to suffer a gruesome death on a cross in our place. Even worse than the physical agony was the sacrifice of taking our sins upon Himself though He was totally sinless.

Jesus’ death opened the door for us to experience a relationship with God. Jesus wasn’t looking for bodies. He wanted relationship with us as friends.

It is hard to get our minds around this friendship. How do we connect His exalted deity to friendship with a fallen sinner? Love. Forgiveness. Redemption. Acceptance. Adoption into His family.

The Bible uses the word friend to refer to someone who is dearly loved and valued, a trusted confidante, a person held in a bond of personal affection. He knows our every contrary thought, word and action, yet remains our friend.

Jesus’ friendship parallels a Hebrew word used of God the Father in the Old Testament – hesed. It is translated lovingkindness, faithfulness, loyal and steadfast love.

If Jesus loved us enough to die for us, we have to ask what He desires in a friendship.

Today’s devotional is one of five this week on “A Friend of Jesus” by Tom Petersburg.

Tom Petersburg,

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