Jesus is the greatest friend this world has ever known. In fact, Jesus was called “a friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). The gospel of John tells us that “God did not send His Son in to the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).
When people came to Jesus with all their burdens and sins, He didn’t set them on edge; He put them at ease.
Jesus was so tender with His disciples that His very presence offered rest to weary souls (Matt. 11:28). Because of this, broken people flocked to Jesus while He walked here on this earth, and He still offers rest to weary souls today.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29, ESV emphasis mine).
To be a friend like Jesus is to be a friend who embraces people amidst their brokenness, who doesn’t condemn or judge individuals, but instead looks upon others with the eyes of love and even sets sinners at ease with the grace of God above.
True friendships are marked by honesty, transparency, vulnerability, acceptance, empathy, and desire for the good of others. These types of friendships offer a context where we can be truly known and yet deeply loved, simultaneously. The beauty of the Church and the beauty of God-glorifying relationships shines brightest against the backdrop of our own brokenness. That’s where the grace of God meets us most profoundly – in our need.
Jesus doesn’t condemn us in our mess; He welcomes us in our mess. The Lord embraces sinners, sufferers, and anyone whose lives are in complete disarray -- anyone who will come to Him with their failures, weaknesses, sins, and needs. So, the garden of friendships begins to thrive as people can safely open up about their own brokenness in the light of the One who is able to bear all our burdens, Jesus Himself.
Pray now that the Lord, the friend of sinners, would draw near to you in your own brokenness, and that He would enable you to be a comfort for your friends in their brokenness, so that they feel His love when they interact with you.