Crossroads: Friends

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John 15:9-17

My Story

We do things for our friends. When I was in seminary, my great-great-aunt passed away. She was the last of my great-grandmother’s siblings, and although she was in her 90s, she had been pretty healthy. But then she had a car wreck and her health deteriorated very quickly. I was at school when I got the call that she was gone, and a friend of mine found me crying in the hallway. He comforted me and then we went our separate ways. But that night, he and a few of my other friends brought dinner and ate with me. They listened to stories of my family and reminded me that I didn’t have to grieve alone. One of the best things about friends is their care and concern and willingness to be there for you. As friends, we do things like bring food, give rides when cars are being fixed, and help people move. We help each other and confide in each other.

Your Story

How have you helped/been there for your friends? How have your friends been there for you?

The Bible Story

Read John 15:9-17. Here it is from the New Living Translation: I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.

Jesus called his disciples “friends” because he confided in them, he helped them (and in turn there were times when they helped him), and he cared about them. He chose them and he loved them. We are called to love others the same way that Jesus loved his disciples and that Jesus loves us. Jesus gave us everything he had when he died on the cross for us. Jesus commands us to love each other not just by saying that we love them, but by showing it. That means being there for others, listening when they are in pain, joining with them in grieving, celebrating their happiness, and caring about them. Jesus chose to be friends with us. If it were up to us, we would have stayed in our sin, lost and broken without really knowing it. But Jesus knew and Jesus cared so Jesus chose to be our friend. He chose to meet us where we are so that we could always be friends with God. We are called to show others that same caring and compassion, pointing the way to the One who wants to be their friend forever.

Discussion

• Ask your children about ways they have helped their friends or their friends have helped them.
• Explain to them that God wants us to treat everyone like they are our friends. We are called to show God’s love to everyone, to be there for them and to help them when they need it.

Prayer and Action

• Thank God that Jesus chose to be our friend. Ask God for helping in showing others God’s love.
• Talk about ways to be a good friend this week. Pick at least one to put into action.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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