As I wrote the previous post on true riches being in our relationships, I couldn’t help thinking about what Jesus said to His disciples the night before He died.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
What an incredible statement. No power distance here. No insistence on position. Around the table, sharing a Passover meal together, He called them friends, knowing exactly who they were. Friends share all kinds of things, depending on the level of trust – desires, motivations, struggles, aspirations, failures, joys.
His qualification for that word was sharing His heart with them – all that He had learned from the Father, He had shared with them. Servants do as they are told; friends understand their friend’s heart.
His disciples were not His only friends. He was known as a “friend of sinners” because He ate with people outside the socially acceptable circles. He was criticized for that kind of love, for receiving hospitality from unlikely sources.
Something about Jesus’ calling to Zaccheus, who had climbed a tree in order to see Him, “I must come to your house today!” brings a sense of the openness of Jesus, the welcoming of people that He lived. That act, seeing and reaching out to Zaccheus, has kind of captured me. It required a change in His line of sight- He had to look up to see him. Jesus has this way of noticing people and inviting them in.
He both draws us into His circle of intimacy when we love Him and welcomes those who are seeking Him. And somehow, we are the link that He’s counting on.
You know how it is when you want one group of your friends to meet another set of friends? I think that’s how it’s supposed to be with Jesus. My knowing Him means that His circle of friends expands because I know He wants to meet those I meet everyday. He is seeking each one out and wooing them. And He’s given us the privilege of making the introductions!
The question is - am I willing to be the visible demonstration of His extending hand of friendship today? I have to believe the world will be a more welcoming place if I am.
What do you think? how can we reflect the love of Jesus to those we encounter everyday?