The Love of Friends
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”1
“When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and seem Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’”2
Relationships were, and continue to be, important to Jesus. During his time on earth, he was constantly in connection with the people around him, but he had special friendships that the Bible speaks of as well, in which he invested quality time. This was the case with his friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. These siblings lived in Bethany, and were disciples of Jesus. As mentioned in today’s scripture, Jesus loved them and the memories they would create together would be unforgettable!
Martha and Mary had the privilege of experiencing God’s grace and unconditional love firsthand, which was something that not many women experienced in those days. When Jesus visited, Mary was the first to sit at his feet and although Martha’s gift of hospitality sometimes caused her to lose sight of the important things, the times Jesus spent with his friends was special for all.
When Lazarus fell ill, his sisters quickly sent word to Jesus saying, “Lord, the one you love is sick”, yet Jesus was going to use this for God’s glory. The death and resurrection of Lazarus was going to be used to bring many to a personal relationship with Jesus. Although Jesus knew the bigger plan with Lazarus’ sickness and death, Mary and Martha didn’t know at the time, so the sadness and grief was real. When Jesus arrived and saw his friends weeping, he shared in their pain and cried with them. His compassion for his friends was tangible, and that was a testimony of his love to those watching.
As Christians, we know that everything in our lives happens as part of God’s bigger plan for us. It may be painful in the moment, but God can use our pain for something greater when we allow him to. This is our hope, and is what we should strive to share with our friends as well. The love we show to others, especially in times of suffering, can be the greatest testimony of who Jesus is and our relationship with Him.
Suggested prayer: Dear God, help me be a channel of your love to my friends, and all those you place in my path. Even in times of grief, may my faith and hope in you draw others to a personal relationship with you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1. John 11:5 (NIV).
2. John 11:33-36 (NIV).
Today’s Encounter was written by: Crystal B.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.