There is a wonderful picture of friendship expressed in Mark 2:1-22. The first example of friendship involves 4 men who take their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Apparently these men knew that Jesus was the only One who could help their friend because they would not let any barriers keep him from Jesus. The first barrier they encountered was the physical act of carrying the man to the house where Jesus was teaching. Another barrier they encountered was the fact that the house was full of people - standing room only as Jesus continued to teach. These determined men hoisted their friend up onto the roof where they cut a hole in the roof large enough for the man to be lowered through. Can you imagine being among those listening to Jesus teach? What would you think as a man on a pallet was being lowered down from the roof? How far would you go to bring a friend to Jesus?
Another example of friendship is found in Jesus Himself. Jesus encountered Levi and called out to him, "Follow Me!" (verse 14). The next words are tremendous regarding Levi's reaction. We read "So he got up and followed Him" (verse 14). Jesus befriended a man that the religious leaders of that day despised. This is evident in the religious leader's reaction to Jesus eating in Levi's home gathered with additional tax collectors. They questioned Jesus' display of friendship with the question, "Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?" (verse 16). Jesus' response is priceless: "Those who are well don't need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn't come to call the righteous,but sinners" (verse 17).
Oh, that we would befriend people knowing that they are not perfect but in need of the Great Physician, Jesus. How far will you go to bring people to Him? Are you willing to befriend them? Are you willing to cross whatever barriers exist? How far will you go?
(1) Lake O' the Pines = Mims / Avinger Cutt-off
(2) State = Alaska
(3) Nation = Dominica
(4) American Peoples throughout the World