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There’s Not A Friend Like jesus

The Bible tells us "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24). But instead of sticking close to us, some "friends" could better be described as "sticking it to us!" You may know the story about George Bernard Shaw, the prolific British playwright, and Winston Churchill, the great prime minister of Britain who guided and goaded the English people through the dark years of World War II. Before one of his plays opened, Shaw cabled the following instructions to Churchill: "Have reserved two tickets for my first night. Come and bring a friend, if you have one. Shaw." To which the quick-witted and inimitable Churchill tersely replied: "Impossible to come first night. Will come second night . . . if there is one." Do you have any friends like that?!

Since 1895, millions of people have thrilled to the soul-soothing and heart-helping words of Johnson Oatman's beautiful gospel hymn, "There's Not a Friend." The lyrics include the words, "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus, No, not one! no, not one! None else could heal all our soul's diseases, No, not one! no, not one. No friend like Him is so high and holy, No, not one! no, not one! And yet no friend is so meek and lowly. No, not one! No, not one! Jesus knows all about our struggles; He will guide till the day is done; there's not a friend like the lowly Jesus, No not one! no not one" (verses I and 2 and the chorus). I have long wondered if Oatman had the words of Hebrews 4:14-16 before his eyes and in his heart as he penned those penetrating, stirring words. That passage never mentions the word "friend," but it absolutely describes and depicts Jesus as the "friend who sticks closer than a brother." Hear it — "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Oatman's song captures the profound truth the Hebrews writer wanted readers to grasp — Jesus Christ is in a class all His own. By means of His sinless performance in life, He, and He alone, qualifies as high and holy enough to save and sanctify us from sin and thus bridge the gap between us and a Sinless, holy God. And yet, amazingly, His high-risk and self-emptying journey to earth as a human being proved Him meek and lowly and fitted Him to sympathize with our weaknesses! How so? Read it again, soak it in, and sit in silent awe — He "was in all points tempted as we are," and yet He never sinned! His 100-pound test line of humanity was tested to a hundred pounds and beyond — but, unlike ANY person dead or alive, Jesus never once broke or sinned. Sometimes we feel that no one understands or knows how we feel. Praise God, Jesus does! Verse 15 in the KJV says that Jesus is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Jesus is able to feel what we feel. He tasted every kind of temptation we face — but remained sinless. Political candidates often assure us they feel our pain and care about our plight — while making clear they really don't. But the author of Hebrews makes clear Jesus does. He is our high and holy, meek and lowly Friend. Truly, there's not a friend like Him.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ