As we all know full well, Jesus gave Himself up and died for all of us – even those who murdered Him.
By His way – God’s way – even our Lord’s enemies were His friends.
Just from that one consideration, can’t you see why we’re all here today?
Again – Jesus died for His killers; Jesus called His enemies friends.
We are here greatly to honor that, to pay homage to that, to continue to help keep the spirit of that alive.
We must – it’s a charge from God. It’s also a movement from our hearts.
I know that I’m not alone in this when I write that in my wildest dreams, even now as a believer in Christ, I can’t see me giving up my life for an enemy.
I don’t even see me doing that for a friend.
Yet because of Jesus, I’m not conveying that such a happening could or would never take place.
I mean when I consider what His enemies did to Him and He asked His Father to forgive them for it, I cry.
They beat Him; they scourged Him; they forced Him to carry a heavy wooden cross up a rocky mountainside.
At the top of that mountain, they affixed Him to that cross with hammer-driven spikes.
And He considered them all friends, for whom He was lying down His life.
Through my tears, I ask myself: “Why can’t I make an effort to, in even some small way, emulate that great sacrifice?” But my answers are never consistent.
Sometimes I think I know I can do it.
And sometimes I think I know that I can’t.
Still I know that I can’t give up trying to be like Christ. The Holy Spirit won’t let me give up.
And I keep coming around for worship.
It re-stokes the fires in my soul to be among the gathering of saints on a Lord’s Day.
With those fires going too, it’s hard for me not to, at least, think that I can do anything.
So I’m in such a spirit one Sunday a while back when I cross direct paths with a saint who seems to always make me uncomfortable.
I’ve never even considered him a friend – to me he is a kind of “unfriendly fellow saint.”
But the Holy Spirit isn’t hearing that on this day and neither is my rekindled soul.
After a customarily casual exchange of, “’Ay, what’s happening man?” I stop and strike up a conversation with the brother.
We first talk of each of our old hometowns. And then we talk a while about each of our own conversions to Christ.
In the middle of it all, too, an inner voice keeps telling me, “Hey, this guy ain’t really so bad – he could even be your best friend.”
To this day, as God would have it, that saint remains among my favorite brothers anywhere.
Now I’m not suggesting that my making friends with a seemingly hostile fellow Christian in any way resembles what Jesus did.
But I am saying that, in its way, it’s a reminder that the love we need to pass on to our enemies and call them friends is in us.
And Jesus can and will bring it out.
Jesus said: “A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
November 25, 2018