Meet My Friend
I got this friend you've gotta meet
If you don't know him, you really oughta
I've known this guy a long time, and yet I learn something new about him all the time. He's really easy to make friends with, but it takes a lot of work to understand what he's all about ... and some of the stuff he says will leave you scratching your head. His advice is radically different from anything else you're going to hear from, well, just about anyone.
I'm going to tell you a little about his life. When my friend was born, his dad asked a good friend to go out and find people who were real outsiders, hard working folks, but the kind nobody liked or wanted to associate with. My friend's dad wanted to make sure these people were the first to hear that his son had been born. My friend's dad asked this good friend to take along a really great gospel choir with him and sing for these outcast folks. That choir really brought down the house and those outcasts felt loved and included for the first time ever. As it turns out, my friend really takes after his dad. He's always hanging out with the outsiders, the disenfranchised, and the poor. In fact, when poor and downtrodden people are suffering my friend is right there with them, calling everybody he can to come and help.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Despite who my friend tends to hang out with, powerful folks from early on tried to make him these crazy offers, most of them had to do with staggering power you just can't imagine. Like being a lottery winner and declared king or president all in one. My friend turned those offers down flat. Didn't even have to think about it. I guess it had to do with his upbringing in a modest ... well, many would say poor, family of craftsmen.
He's generous too. He went to this wedding one time, and when the happy couple was about to run out of drinks for the party, my friend brought in the very best that could be had anywhere, even though it was late and nobody would have noticed if he'd just dropped off some of the cheap stuff. Another time, he was having this outdoor conference with thousands of people and it was getting late, they were all getting hungry, and my friend (he had a small band of followers who went with him everywhere by this point ... once you know him you just want to follow along and see what he'll do or say next) is so hospitable he fed them all and when that crowd was done, there was enough left over to feed all the friends who were his followers. He's just that generous. Doesn't even consider the cost.
He's also a healer. He has the most remarkable gift for making sick people well--men, women, children, people others have written off for dead. Physical ailments, mental issues, it doesn't matter. And the most amazing thing about it is, when my friend heals someone, he also liberates them. It's really hard to explain if you don't know him. But he takes people who have been ostracized for their diseases and not only makes them well but rejoins them to society. And they're better than they ever were before. And boy do those healed folks talk about my friend after they're better. He gets modest sometimes and asks them not to, but they do anyway. Heck, would you keep quiet about it if you were healed by a guy like that?
I have to tell you, though, my friend can be tough. Following him, sometimes your ego can get puffed up, just by being associated with him and all the wild things he says and does. Hey, he's a great public speaker too. Real life-changer. You ought to hear him. But, if you start thinking you're better than others, he'll deflate you in a moment ... but when he does, even though it stings, you know he's doing it out of love, you learn from it, and you both move on together.
If there's one thing my friend despises, it's pretentious people in power who use the law to lord it over others and make their lives miserable. He is a kind man, but for these folks he'll mince no words ... and I have to say, they hate him for it. One time, these power hungry types set up a shopping mall where poor people came to worship and my friend went berserk. He drove all those rich, powerful people right out of that place, overturning tables and stalls as he went. There's never a dull moment when you're with my friend. He has some pretty harsh words for rich people who worship their money as well, who think they're better than everyone else. Whew. You should hear him.
There is a dark side to this story. My friend enraged the powerful leaders, those legalistic folks he's so hard on, and they called in some really dark, powerful people and ... they murdered my friend, right out in public. His immediate followers started to drift away, even though my friend had warned them this would happen and said they ought to stick together. But, you know how people are.
Then, three days later, my friend was back. He's irrepressible. Not even death will keep him down. I love him for that. He kept his followers together, told them to go out all over the world and tell his story and spread his name. They have. My friend is also my savior and the lord of my life. I'll follow him anywhere, even if it kills me. His name, if you haven't guessed by now, is Jesus, he's known as the Christ, or the Savior, or the Messiah.
He wants to be your friend. Heck, he wants to be everyone's friend. He has a way of living he wants to show you, a way that's better than you have known, better than society tells you you deserve. Take a look at the book his followers wrote about him, the Bible. It's a good place to start to learn his story. Then ask some of his friends what Jesus has done for them personally. It's surprising.
He's also got a few surprising gifts for you ... but that's another story or two. I'll be happy to tell you if you really want to know. Any Christian will for that matter.
May the peace that my friend, lord, and savior has to offer you be accepted by you and follow you all the days of your life.
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