Hebrew Highlights 54 - FRIEND
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
JOH 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” In Hebrew this reads, “Ein ahava g’dola mi ahavato shel hanoten et nafsho lma’an yedidav.
In Israel we use 2 words for friend, the one in the verse I just read, “yadid”, which is a little more like a pal, and “chaver”, which is slightly more intimate. You may remember hearing the second one when, after the slaying of Israel’s former Prime Minister Itschak Rabin, Bill Clinton made his famous emotional speech in which he said goodbye to his friend by ending in Hebrew, “Shalom Chaver”.
The root letters also form the word, “mechubar”, or “connected”. So we could say that in Hebrew, a friend is someone we are attached to. This makes a lot of sense in light of the familiar scripture from 1CO 12:18-21, “God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
We members of the body of Messiah are indeed connected to one another. We need each other. We are truly friends. You may sometimes notice the fact that whenever you make a new believing acquaintance at some conference, or picnic, or other venue, you feel an immediate association, as if you have always known the person. Whereas people in the world intuitively sense a mild distrust of fresh contacts, we saints experience a natural link right from the beginning.
Continuing in 1CO 12, verses 24-25, we learn that “God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. We read further in EPH 4:4, that after all, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling”. This is not theory, but fact. It is not up for discussion or debate, but an integral truth to the working of the congregation of God.
We read in MAR 12:28-31 that, “one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Yeshua answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Yeshua of course was known to befriend just about anybody, as we read in LUK 7:34, "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!' From Messiah’s standpoint, that friendship is always available to those who are willing to accept it. Someone once said, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved!”
There is a famous old hymn’s first line which goes like this, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grieves to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.” Yes, it is indeed a privilege. We have a wonderful friend.
I guess my question today is, “Are we willing to be this kind of friend to each other?” Are we willing to share one another’s sins, grief, and suffering? Are we willing to lay our lives down for one another? After all, when Yeshua said, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends”, he was giving us an example to follow.
I’ll leave you today with the blessing from 3JO 1:14, “I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem.