Have you ever had a friend with a really big personality? You know the type: they are fearless, tell everyone what they think, and refuse to be ignored?
While Jesus walked the earth, His best friend, John, was just like that. The Bible reveals John was a force of nature. Jesus gave John and his brother, James, the name “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17)—which sounds like a pair of tag team wrestlers. These brothers were anything but timid wallflowers!
Jesus rebuked James and John in Luke 9:52–55 after they asked for permission to call down fire from heaven to consume and destroy an entire village of godless Samaritans. The brothers had the audacity in Mark 10:35–37 to ask Jesus, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” On another occasion, in Luke 9:49–50, John described how he tried to stop someone from casting out a demon because they were not a part of his group.
As a young man, John was—at least on occasion—prone to anger, pride, rudeness, and being unloving. But it was his strength and courage that made John a great disciple who needed to be directed—much like a wild colt needs to be broken so its amazing strength can be harnessed and focused.
Walking with Jesus changed John. In fact, five times John is referred to as Jesus’ best friend and “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20).
What is particularly encouraging about the friendship between Jesus and John is the fact that John needed a lot of work when their friendship started. The same is true for you and everyone else who is a Christian. When Jesus chose to be friends with you, it was not because you had it all together and would provide a low maintenance relationship. Jesus loves you (and me) as He did John. He sees how our personality defects can be redeemed, and by spending time with Jesus, who we are starts to become a lot more like He is.
If you are not a Christian, stop and spend even a moment in your mind asking God to help you learn about a friendship with Jesus. If you know any Christians, ask them what a friendship with Jesus is like. If you are a Christian, reflect back on how your friendship with Jesus has changed you and continues to change you, and thank God for those things His friendship has done in your life together.