In our last article, we looked at having Jesus as our best friend, and I hope you have made that quality decision to have Him as your only trusted friend.
As for me, he is the only friend I can trust with every detail of my life. But claiming him to be our friend is not all that it is. We should be able to point Him out to others without being ashamed of what they should think or say about us. A friend should be someone you are proud to introduce to others as a friend.
The question at this point is this: how often do you, as a Christian, talk to others about this particular friend of yours? Is your friendship with Him only known to you and not to anyone else? Are you bold enough to talk to your friends and family about your relationship with Him, or do you prefer to keep it private so that you don’t upset them? Do we value our relationships with others more than we value our relationship with God? What answers do you have for these questions?
Our relationship with Jesus as a friend is a special one, so special that He transforms us completely so that everything about us becomes Christlike. When we enter this unique intimacy with Christ, we no longer live for ourselves, but Christ lives in us. When our brother St. Paul finally understood this, it radically changed his life, and he declared thus: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
This is the transformation I am talking about. When we embrace this intimate relationship with Christ, He influences us such that, unconsciously or consciously, our attitude and behaviour reflect Him. Those who did not meet Jesus but heard about Him saw Him in the lives of His friends. This becomes true of the saying, Show me your friend, and I will tell you who you are, and Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”
This is what happened to the friends of Jesus in the Bible that made people call them Christians for the first time in the city of Antioch (Acts 11:26). This was because they saw the life of Jesus reflected in their behaviour and attitude towards each other and others that encountered them.
Today, we all claim to be friends of Jesus, but the question is, “Do people see Jesus in us?” Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ but are aware that we are Christians, encounter Him through us when they come into contact with us and then have the desire to know Him. Do people meet us and feel they have met Jesus because of how we speak to them, help them, and welcome them? Do they mistake us for Jesus? Or do they leave us regretting ever meeting us?
There is a story of a 16-year-old girl who a salesman helped after some other salesmen accidentally kicked over a table that held a display of the apples she was selling. They all rushed off to catch their flight, but only one stopped to help this girl, even without knowing she was blind.
At the end of that encounter, as he was walking away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister… He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued… “Are you Jesus?” The young man smiled and slowly made his way to catch a later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul.
Remember to be a friend of Jesus is not just by mere words, but is seen in our commitment to love others as Christ has loved us; “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another”.
As we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, let us ask ourselves this crucial question: “Am I like Jesus?” Do people mistake me for Jesus?” I pray that when people see us, they will see Jesus in us. I pray that in all we say and do, we will spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14). May God give us His grace to become a true reflection of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in this world of ours. Amen.