None of us was alive two millennia ago, so it is difficult for us to relate to the time that Jesus lived. I thought it would be interesting to measure Jesus’ life and lifestyle against today’s standards of a successful life. I want to do this by asking, “Did Jesus” questions. I will consider one of these questions per post.
“Did Jesus have a lot of friends?”
There has never been, in the history of the world, anyone who garnered as much attention as Jesus did in His day. Surely this man was the most popular and well-liked individual ever. With all that said, surely He had a huge number of friends, right?
Before we look at how many friends Jesus had, I think it is important to note that He had a lot of enemies. He regularly frustrated and angered certain groups of people. The group that hated Him the most had to be the religious leaders of His day including Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, lawyers, and the highest-ranking religious ruling council. He spoke the truth to them and it cut to the quick. He challenged them regularly and never backed down. He pointed out their flaws and their hypocrisy. They felt threatened by Him. In a word, they hated Him.
But our original question was about friends, so let’s get back to it. In order to answer the question we must first define the word “friend.” Since the word can be defined in several ways, we may have several answers to our question.
If a friend is someone who admires you for the things you have done, for the things you stand for, for the way you live your life, then Jesus had many friends.
If a friend is someone who likes to spend time around you, then He had more friends than you could count. He was constantly surrounded by throngs of people or was being chased by crowds.
If a friend is someone who wants hang out with you for the things they can get from you, then He had thousands of friends.
If a friend is someone who will share their problems with you or seeks you out when they need help, then He certainly had a lot of friends.
If a friend is someone who you are with everyday, eating, traveling, and socializing, then He had about a dozen friends.
If a friend is someone who says they will follow you to the ends of the earth, He had at least twelve.
If a friend is someone who will defend you when others attack you, then He had one friend (Peter, in Gethsemane)
If a friend is someone who would stick with you no matter what happens, He had no friends.
If a friend is someone who really “gets you”, then He had only a couple (John and Peter).
If a friend is someone who will stay up all night praying for you when you are in crisis, He had zero friends.
If a friend is someone who, when you are arrested and sentenced to death, will come to your execution, then He had one friend (John).
It is said “there is no greater love than a man lay down His life for a friend.” So if a friend is someone who would die for you, then Jesus had zero friends. On the flip side, Jesus WAS THAT FRIEND… for you and me, for everyone! I feel the need to add, however, that even though Jesus didn’t have anyone willing to die for Him while He was living on earth, after His resurrection ten of His disciples did die as martyrs for Him, as did countless others who never even saw or met Jesus while He walked in the form of a man on earth.
Jesus led a life surrounded by people, but with few close friends and even those friends let Him down. He was not only a friend to those who loved Him but also to those who hated Him. He proved it by dying for the sins of ALL of them.
I guess in the end, Jesus is a much better friend to me than I am to Him. He just keeps loving me, forgiving me and helping me to slowly become more like Him.