You’ve Got a Friend
November 25, 2007
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers--all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! Our title and our topic today is this: You’ve Got a Friend. Today is a great day in the Christian church. It’s a great day of celebration. It’s called Christ the King Sunday. We’ve talked about a lot of things in the last few weeks, but on this closing day of the church year, I just want to talk about one thing – Jesus, Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I would like us to leave the sanctuary today full of enthusiasm for Jesus, for your Lord and mine, for this one Rock upon whom the church is built, this one solid foundation of our faith. It is Jesus, and it is good that we pause this day and devote this time to thinking about Him.
It is King of Kings Sunday, and we’re remembering in the Epistle reading how important Jesus is. Oh yes, we have respect for people of other faiths. We bless them and ask God’s blessing in leading them to Him. But we are Christians, and we are celebrating the One who is above all others in our hearts, the One called Jesus.
In the epistle reading today, we have a magnificent description of Jesus. The apostle Paul is in an absolutely elevated state as he is attempting to describe the very nature of the Christ we worship. Let’s take a look at verse 15 – the whole thing is magnificent, but let’s start at verse 15.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
My friend, these are thoughts that are very, very elevated. The apostle is saying that the spirit of Jesus Christ is the magnetizing force of all creation, that which holds everything together. The One we call Lord and Savior, the One who has redeemed us, the One who opened the gates of heaven for us, is also intricately involved in the fabric and the fiber of all creation. At the point of subatomic particles is the spirit of Christ. These thoughts are so lofty and elevated, I cannot claim to understand them. But I can say that that is my Lord; that is the One that I worship and adore and call King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is King of Kings Sunday, and it is good that we celebrate the magnificence of Jesus Christ and His supremacy in our hearts.
But also, I would submit to you, that even as Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is even more, because in our best moments, in our moments of prayer, we can celebrate Him as such. But if you’re like me, when we are down, when things aren’t going well, when we feel like failures, when we feel disconnected from God and good, we need one more aspect of Christ. And I would submit to you, my friends, that He is your friend. Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Master…and friend.
Won’t you hear this additional reading from the Holy
Scripture? From the Gospel according to St. John, the 15th chapter,
the 15th verse: “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘I no longer call you
servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now, you are my
friends. I have told you everything the Father has told me.”
Here’s the good news of the morning: You’ve got a friend. Yes, He is the magnetic fiber that holds together all of creation. Yes, He was there at the very moment of creation. But He’s here, in your heart; He’s with you; He is your friend. And in the moments when things are low and tough, won’t you please remember that this is the best thing about Christianity? Folgers® says, “The best part of waking up is Folgers® in your cup.” Around here, we say, “The best part of waking up is”… [congregation chimes in] “waking up.” The best part of being a Christian is that you have a friend in Jesus.
You have a friend when times are good and when times are tough. You have a friend when you are down and when you are up. You have a constant friend in Jesus. You have a spiritual best friend who is the gateway to God the Father. That’s the best part of being a Christian.
Some years ago James Taylor came up with a wonderful song, and the words are something like this:
When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand,
And nothing, no nothing is going right,
Get yourself together and call my name out loud,
And soon I’ll be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and wherever I am, I’ll be there.
You’ve got a friend.
I’ve always felt that was a religious song. I always thought that was Jesus singing that song. I’d love to have you take that home personally and know it this week. King of Kings, yes. Lord of Lords, yes. Master and friend, yes.
What kind of friend is Jesus? He’s a friend who heals; He’s a friend who hears; and He’s a friend who helps.
He’s a friend who heals. He heals the broken places in our lives. He forgives us and makes us better. He forgives us when we’re not ready to forgive ourselves, and he helps us when we’re so far down we don’t know where to turn. I think that one of the greatest moments in Holy Scripture is in this morning’s Gospel. If ever there was love, it’s in the book of Luke, chapter 23, verse 24: “Then Jesus said [to those who were crucifying Him], ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” What greater love can someone have than that? Those who were crucifying Him, He forgave. And He blessed them and He healed them spiritually, even as they were putting Him on the cross. What greater love, what a magnificent friend! Your friend and mine, and His name is Jesus. We are celebrating Him today.
He heals us, not only in the great times and not only in the obvious ways, but inside the soul, where we feel broken or disconnected or lost. He touches, and He heals, because that is His way. That’s the One we worship and adore. That’s the One we hold as our spiritual best friend.
He hears us. I’m picturing Jesus as the One who took those children on His lap and hugged them and blessed them and listened to them and probably to their parents, too. Jesus hears us, and He hears you and me even in our darkest times, even in our darkest moments, even when we think no one else will listen. He will listen and He will hear. And friends, there will be a positive difference because you’ve had a conversation with Him.
He heals us and he hears us and He helps us. You know, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords said to people when they were down and broken, “Blessed are you who are poor in spirit [in other words, who are broken in heart] because yours is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when you mourn, because you will be comforted. Blessed are you who have a simple, innocent heart, because you will see God.” He always had the encouraging thing to say, to anyone who needed to hear it. That’s the kind of friend you have. Now, on the Christ the King Sunday, let us remember and celebrate that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but that He is also our dearest friend.
[Pastor Tony and congregation singing]
You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am,
I’ll come running
To see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there.
You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.
You do. His name is Jesus, and He loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2007 Anthony J. Godlefski