It’s like all the best qualities of all the greatest heroes throughout history, all rolled into one person – Socrates and the Greeks, Maimonides and the great rabbis, Augustine and the church fathers, Aquinas, Newton, Einstein and the great scientists, Washington, Lincoln, Churchill: all in one man, only greater by far. And here you are, being introduced to him:
Tom, this is Jesus. Jesus, this is Tom.
Hi, Tom, good to meet you. Can I be your friend?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. We’ll hang out together. All the time. Wherever you go, I’ll go with you. I’ll be your sidekick.
He is the Son of God, yet he loves me and wants to be my friend! How and why can that be? It must mean at least two things. One, he must have an enormous capacity for love, and two, there must be something valuable in me, indeed, something loveable. And the cross is the divine and conclusive declaration of that, demolishing my guilt and self-loathing.
We follow him haltingly, turning to him and turning away, and returning again. Yet he is constant.
Friendship. How many true friends does each of us have in a lifetime? Or rather, how few? How many are worthy of our friendship? How worthy are we? And we wonder why we are lonely, and why our relationships are so superficial.
Jesus not only wants to be our friend; he also wants to make us to be a friend, to be worthy, capable of friendship.
Jesus not only reveals God to man: he also reveals man to man: this is what you will be. A true friend among true friends. Your loneliness is not forever.