A True Friend
…by Chuck Graham
…Breaking News Just In!….English is just the worst….more at 11….
If English is your the native language, you may not realize that it is a very difficult language to learn. Not grammar so much, but the words themselves. Their spelling. Their use. Their endless meanings.
For example, corps (a group under one direction). Forget the “p” and “s” because we say it like core (the central part of something). So that thing on a house is dore, right? Nope. That’s spelled door, similar to poor (without money) pronounced like your. Seriously. And don’t get me started on bayou.
Many Bible translations are just as confusing when one English word is used for different things. The Ancient Greeks had several words for distinct forms of love. This same is true for friend.
A true friend is not about a title, but a commitment.
Jesus used different words to describe a person’s relationship with Him. Yet all are often translated as friend. We find friend for strangers and sinners, for those He was especially close to as well as His disciples. But didn’t Jesus call Judas friend just before His arrest? More on that later.
Jesus once healed a crippled man lowered down through a ceiling.1 He called him anthropos which some translate as friend. But it actually means man. No other time did Jesus use that word when addressing someone. Perhaps He wanted to emphasize He was not a mere man.
But throughout the Gospel, Jesus’ favorite word for those around Him was philos. We might call these “true” friends, whose relationship was based on deep brotherly love shown through actions, not mere words. These were the men and women who followed and obeyed Him.
There’s nothing better than having the King for a friend.
But Judas did not hear that word as he and the guards approached.2 When Jesus asked, “Why have you come?”, He called him hetairos, or one who is part of a group, but where no personal, committed relationship exists. Jesus did not call Judas friend…because he wasn’t one.
It’s interesting that Jesus never used another Greek word, gnostos . Though sometimes translated as friend, gnostos refers to an acquaintance relationship where no one knows each other intimately. Maybe that’s because while people may not know Jesus, He always knows them.
So where do you stand with Jesus? Are you philos, one who follows Him, or hetairos, one who betrays Him? Are you His friend or His enemy? Personally, I prefer philos, for though I may fall short at times, Jesus is a true friend and always by my side.
Whoever loves a pure heart, whose words are full of grace and mercy
will have the King for a friend. (Read Proverbs 22:11)
Take care & be God’s,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
1. Read Luke 5:17-20
2. Read Matthew 26:47-50
2nd Photo: the painting “Jesus Heals The Paralytic” by Harold Copping