To be a Follower or Friend or Both?

This morning I was dwelling on the use of the word relationship as it pertains to Jesus and confessing sinner. We have come to use the word relationship almost exclusively in certain contexts and corners of Christianity. While I think that this shift in vocabulary is by and large a good thing (Jesus is called the friend of sinners and one of my favorite old hymns is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus) if we aren’t careful we begin to forget that this relationship clearly has a master and apprentice aspect to it.

Our friendship with Jesus is entirely initiated by Him. He is the authority in the friendship, he is the one who leads by both example and directive. We are called to be followers and then by His gracious condescension we are called friends. Jesus is our friend but he is also our master and Lord and this shouldn’t be cause for separation, but it does and should keep us from misusing our connection with Him for deceitful or nefarious ends. Jesus isn’t beholden to us, we are beholden to Him. Jesus isn’t going to go with us to or condone our going to a strip club or party to get wasted or any other such thing.

don't Follow Me 1The impression of Jesus that I am seeing in some circles is that Jesus is my buddy is a great guy to have a beer with.  It makes me wonder sometimes who is following whom?  Are we asking Jesus to follow us? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus will never compromise His holiness to enjoy a relationship. He was loved by sinners, but not because He excused or participated in their sin, but rather because He freely forgives and frees from sin!

Jesus is my friend and I am His follower. As I read the epistles I see that our foundation, the apostles referred to themselves as bond-slaves. They understood better than we do the relationship we can enjoy with Jesus. They ate with Him and walked with Him daily for 3 years and forever afterward by faith. They probably played with Him, laughed with Him and wept with Him. Yet as close as they were to Jesus, they also understood and I believe were in awe of HIM. So it should be with us. Jesus is my friend and I am His follower. If he decides to call me His friend, well, that’s just awesome.