We began our Christmas blog series focusing on the supernatural shift that takes place under the new covenant. In the Old Testament, we would have to go to an altar, or rather someone would go to an altar on our behalf. In the New Testament, the altar has come to us (i.e. Immanuel meaning ‘God with us’).
Another incredible truth about Christmas is that the coming and birth of the Savior means that we can become friends with God. Over and over again in Scripture the Lord is presented as good and desiring good things for his people. The psalmist wrote: Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6). The greatest example of the goodness and unfailing love of God pursuing us can be witnessed in the birth of Jesus. For when Christ was born, He was making it possible for us all to become friends with God. Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:13-15:
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.
In this portion of Jesus’ discourse to His disciples, we can extract three characteristics of how He values and esteems friendship:
The glue of friendship is God’s kind of love
Friendship is a two-way street that is often times paved with sacrifice
Friendship is a relationship that is a catalyst for God’s love and message
Jesus’ friendship with the disciples demonstrated God’s love, sacrifice, and message for His people. This text teaches that Jesus ‘confided’ in His disciples because He shared God’s desired will with them. Jesus the Messiah was born to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world and thus be the Savior of mankind…so that friendship with God could be possible. Maybe we can further understand this idea by saying it this way:
Jesus is God confiding in His people because Jesus was the literal embodiment of love, sacrifice, and God the Father’s message for mankind.
So as you lean in this Christmas season, peak over the edge of the manger scene and try to visualize the Christ-child not even a few hours old. I pray that image will stir up within you the understanding that God desires to call you and me, friend. And, of course, that can only be accomplished through the redemptive work of Christ Jesus.