One of my favorite songs to lead is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It really captures the greatness of being able to go to God the Father through Jesus. No matter what struggles we are going through, whatever weight we have on our shoulders; whatever the need may be, we can take it to the Lord. “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear.” We don’t have to go through life’s struggles on our own, we can have a friend in Jesus and look to Him for guidance to get through any troubling times we may have.
This song also reminds me of a very special passage from the Gospel of John, where Jesus is talking to His disciples and letting them know about what will soon be happening to Him. I’m sure everyone is pretty familiar with this verse:
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
In the context, Jesus is telling them how much He loves them, and how much He loves all of those who will seek forgiveness of their sins through His sacrifice. Notice here that He also calls those people who He will be laying His life down for His friends. But does this mean that every person on earth is Jesus’ friend? We know that Jesus came and died and was resurrected so that all of us could have the hope of defeating death and going to Heaven, but does that necessarily mean that everyone will be going to Heaven in the end? It’s a sad truth, but the answer is no. Take a look at the next few verses:
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
If you want to be Jesus’ friend like in verse 13, then you have to follow His commandments as He says in verse 14. This isn’t the only time that Jesus made this distinction. In Matthew chapter 7 as well, we know Jesus had these words to say:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Jesus here even goes as far to say that He will declare that He never knew those who will not do the will of the Father, which we know from John 15 Jesus Himself came to make the Father’s will known.
Are you doing the Father’s will today? Have you obeyed the gospel? Are you doing what the Lord has commanded? Have you befriended Jesus so that you may find a home in Heaven in the end?