Relatives, Friends, Servants and Strangers for Jesus

Jesus not only mentions different people differently but also treats differently.  Apart from Jesus referring people as snake, wolf, fox, dog, goat and finally sheep as symbols which we saw in an earlier post, He also mentioned people as His relatives, friends and even strangers.

Relatives for Jesus

Luke 8:21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.

Mark 3:35 “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

Doing the will of God is synonymous to hearing the word of God and doing it. All those who hear the word of God and do it are His mother and His brothers (or Christ’s relatives).

Matt 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Christ gave so much importance to His brethren (those who hear the word of God and do it) that helping the least of them is doing it to Christ Himself.

Lev 25:25 ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.

1John 3:17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

It is very  important to note that only a relative can redeem his relative. A friend cannot redeem his friend. Hence, being a relative of Jesus is very important for us to be redeemed by Christ. If we are not a relative of Christ, He cannot redeem us. Being a brother or sister of the Son of God (Jesus) means, we must be born of God or born again (John 3:3). To be born of God, we must be sinless and holy, having the seed of God who will be unable to sin (1 John 3:9). In short, a brother or sister of Christ will do what God wants, doing His will.

To illustrate the difference between doing what God wants and doing what He commanded, we will look into the wisdom given by God.

1Kgs 3:25-27 And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.” So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.”

If you carefully look into the above passage, the woman whose child was living doesn’t want the king’s command to be executed but did exactly what a true mother would do, but the other woman wants the king’s command to be executed, not what a true mother would do.

Obedience is more than sacrifices. But, I desire mercy not sacrifice.

It is like you living in a persecuted country and a missionary is running for your life and trying to hide in your house. When you are questioned, if you kept the missionary safe by “lying” to authorities, you are a relative of Jesus by doing what He wants (what a true brother would do), but if you spoke the “truth” to show where the missionary is hiding, you did exactly what God commanded that is to speak the truth yet you didn’t do what He wants.

Friends for Jesus

John 15:14-15 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

A friend is merely a promoted status from being a servant who had obeyed Jesus on everything. Jesus calls His servants who had done whatever He commanded as His friends. Friends of Jesus are different from being a brother or a sister of Jesus. While a brother or sister of Christ does the will of God (or does the word of God), a friend is a servant who did everything Jesus commanded to do.

Luke 11:5-8 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’ and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

As we saw earlier, a friend cannot redeem his friend. Further, there is no mandatory requirement for a friend to provide timely assistance either (Jesus used the parable to show how we can persistently ask).

Matt 22:12-13 “So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

We also see the King referred to the person who came without the wedding garment from the highways and streets as His friend, yet punished him.

Matt 26:48-50 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

Ps 41:9 Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

Jesus even referred Judas the betrayer as His friend, fulfilling the prophesy in psalms.

Matt 9:15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Matt 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Jesus referred to His disciples (including Judas) as His friends during His earthly ministry. But after His resurrection, He called them as His brethren. There is no guarantee of eternal life for friends of Jesus. To inherit His kingdom, we must be born of God, to be a brother or sister of the Son of God who can redeem us.

A friend is a loose term where mutual trust is required. Jesus trusted Judas as His own friend (Ps 41:9), yet Judas didn’t. In the same way, Jesus can call you as His friend, yet you can even betray or deny Him after obeying Him for a while. Unlike a relative who can redeem, there are no obligations on both parties for being friends. Based on how Jesus used the term “friend”, its a seasonal appreciation of His servants who did what He commanded, rather than a life long commitment like a brother or a sister. Hence, we must not be merely a friend of Jesus, but a brother or sister to Jesus.

Servants for Jesus

John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. … (18:36) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Servants are those who serve the Lord by doing what their Master commanded them. They neither knew what Jesus is doing nor He will redeem them. These are the people who decided to serve Him by obeying Him.

Luke 19:17 “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ … (22) “And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.

Servants had to obey what their Master commanded them to do. Servants who do not obey are called wicked servants but those who obey are called good servants.

John 15:14-15 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

It is these good servants who remain faithful in obeying God will be called as His friends. It is these friends, Jesus will reveal what He is doing. As we saw earlier, we must become a relative of Jesus and not just stay as a friend.

Strangers for Jesus

Matt 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Luke 13:25-27 “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

Jesus even taught us to consider some unrepentant people as strangers (Matt 18:15-17). Many may be surprised to know that there are strangers for Jesus too. Several Christians may know Jesus, serve Him and even consider Him to be their friend and brother but Jesus may never knew them. All who practice lawlessness and does iniquity are strangers to Christ.

Conclusion

Are you born of God to be a brother or sister of the Son of God? Or, are you a friend of Jesus, the same relationship with which Jesus called Judas? Or, have you just decided to serve Jesus to be His servant? Or, are you a stranger to Jesus by working iniquity? Only a relative can redeem a relative. Neither a friend can redeem his friend, nor can a master can redeem his servant. Who are you to Christ?