With regards to the state of the world in recent times, and how governments across the planet are being driven further and further towards globalization, an image of a complex and intricate spider web begins to slowly take form in my mind. Even the slightest touch or ripple can cause the entire structure of the web to vibrate in due course. This analogy certainly held true back in July of 1958, when the small country of Paraguay pioneered the first ever “Friendship Day”, which would later be fully recognized by the United Nations. On April 27th, 2011, the UN officially declared that “World Friendship Day” would be held on every July 30th. The UN even declared that the new celebration would have its own mascot: the adorable and largely iconic Winnie the Pooh! In India, we celebrate World Friendship Day on every first Sunday of August.
However, long before the world ever thought of celebrating friendship, the immortal song “What a friend, we have in Jesus”, which was written by a faithful Christian named Joseph Scriven, was released nearly a century beforehand (specifically in 1856.) While during his own personal tragedies, and under the guise of that memorable song, he let his sentiments flow out from deep within his heart and thus, had experienced the Lord’s almighty embrace (See2 Cor. 1:3-4).
What makes the Saviour our unique friend? Well, at a time where the world celebrates World Friendship day, yours truly will bring to you a three part series that will show the unique traits of friendship with Christ the Redeemer and the responsibility that comes our way by being the beneficiaries of it.
Let it be said that it takes a great act of selfless love to win over the heart of a person. Our Lord’s friendship credentials of sacrificial love is best captured in this Scripture portion which states:
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (Rom 5:10)
We have all heard and seen tales of legendary heroes who are born, or chosen to defeat great evil. For example, Indian Scriptures are overflowing with tales of avatars being chosen by deities for the sole purpose of destroying malevolent forces. But on the other hand, we have the sinless, eternal and almighty God donning flesh and blood specifically to die for His enemies who wouldn’t hesitate to crucify Him themselves! How’s that for a role reversal?
When hearing about these deeds and sacrifices, people would naturally wish to seek friendship with such a compassionate and loving individual, who would go to any extent for ensuring the welfare of others. I am no exception to this either. On October 16th, 1983 as the nuances of the Gospel were being explained to me, I sought and sealed my own “Friendship pact” with the one who was willing to stoop to such low levels (SeePhil. 2:4-11) in order to conquer my heart.
Prayer: Lod Jesus, I can never adequately thank Thee for delivering me from my hapless state of sin. Let me always display gratitude for loving me first at a time, I was your enemy. I magnify Thee for the display of Your everlasting love. Amen
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “What a Friend” mini-series, please click here.)