I’ve been thinking about whether Jesus likes us or not? We know the Bible says Jesus loves us. But sometimes that’s hard to understand. After all, God is holy. God is all powerful. God is eternal. His ways are not our ways… So maybe His love is something totally beyond our understanding. And in some ways it certainly is.
Love: A Word Overused And Abused
Also, how many times have we heard a church acquaintance tell us “I love you brutha!” I cannot tell you how much I cringe at this! You love me? Really? You don’t even know me!
Sadly, the word Love is way over used. We say it to each other reflexively. We grow numb to it. And our eyes glaze over. It’s said so much that it loses its meaning.
So when we hear that Jesus loves us, we’re left none the wiser on how to relate to Him. Or for that matter how He relates to us.
Like Is Hard To Mistake/We Know It In An Instant
But “like” is different. I can love people and not like them. Yet when I like them, it means I actually enjoy their company. Like is practical and down to earth. There’s no guessing if I like someone. For when I like someone I look forward to being around them! (That’s how I feel when I see you Ron. I’m glad to be with you.)
So if Jesus likes us (enjoys our company and looks forward to being around us), then shouldn’t we should feel the same way about Him too?
But is this true? Can the God of the universe like us? The test is not about what I think. It’s about what the Bible actually says. If God actually likes us then it should change our day to day life with Him. For if He likes us, it means He wants to spend time with us. And if we like Him, we will want to spend time with Him. No, not out of obligation. But out of affection.
Does The Bible Really Say God Likes Us?
I checked the Bible and it never says specifically that Jesus likes us. The word “like” doesn’t appear at all. But the word friend does! We don’t always like our family even when we love them. But friends are another matter.
Scripture Says God Is Our Friend So He Must Like Us Too!
We like our friends. So below I’ve included lots of Bible verses on friends. This is the ESV translation, but check other translations to be sure. If there’s no mention of Jesus as a friend, I owe you $100!
The two big verses are “God was Abraham’s friend.” And to His disciples, Jesus said “I no longer call you servants but friends.”
The great thing about the Lord is that He’s a good father. And like every good father, He uses terms his children can understand. Virtually everyone has friends. So you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to figure it all out. Even a little child has friends. And to enter the kingdom of heaven, we need to be like a child. (Mark 10:15)
A Simple Definition of “Friend”
We Are Friends When We Know God And What God Is Doing
In John 15:15 Jesus says to His disciples: No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. And in John 15:13 He tells us; Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Yes, Jesus laid His life down for His friends and that’s Us!
We Are Friends When We Do Truly Believe Him And Do What He Commands
In James 2:23 we learn that Abraham’s faith in God was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called a friend of God. In John 15:14 Jesus says: You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Friends Meet Needs In A Practical Way
Friends spend time with each other, comfort each other and eat with each other. Friends meet the needs of one another. Jesus does this for us. For He really is a friend.
Revelation 3:20 says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Matthew 11:28 Says: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
While Jesus is holy and totally perfect without us, He still enjoys our friendship. He came as a man so we could relate to God in ways otherwise not possible for us. And it’s not a distant relationship like some had in the Old testament. Though even then, King David danced and rejoiced before the Lord. (2 Sam.6)
Jesus came to earth and chose disciples. And so by example, He could show us how He thinks of us. Jesus was not remote and aloof to the disciples. They were certainly his friends.
My favorite example is John, who even leaned back against Jesus while eating. (John 13:23) Why did he do this? John knew Jesus was the king of the universe. He saw Jesus cast out demons; he was there when Jesus healed the sick and calmed the waves in the storm.
On the mountain, John witnessed Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. And God saying THIS IS MY SON WITH WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. LISTEN TO HIM. (Matt: 17:3-4)
Yet John dared to take such liberties with the God of the universe! Without a doubt John knew Jesus was holy and not to be trifled with. But John knew something else too. John knew that Jesus had affection for him. And it was clear he had affection for Jesus. Real emotions, real intimacy. From a real God.
John had seen Jesus love people in practical ways. John had been with Jesus in the ordinary day to day times. The times when He wasn’t doing miracles. The times when He was simply being a friend. The times when they were eating together, drinking together and praying together.
And He knew Jesus was tender and loving in real down to earth ways. So he could trust Jesus and relate to Him as a friend. And that meant he could lay back on Jesus’s chest and take comfort. To delight in simply eating with Him. In being with him doing ordinary things throughout the day. Friends enjoy each other in the little things.
So like St. John we can spend time with Jesus and delight in Him. We can praise him and ask him what what brings joy to His heart. We can say “Lord, can you give me a hug please? I need it.” Or simply “Hi Jesus, I love that you made me so I can run. Thank you!” Or “You know there are somethings I actually like about being this tall, Thank you!”
The Lord is so much bigger than us. He is big enough to be our friend. Jesus enjoys being around us in spite of our flaws. Did He not know Peter would betray Him? Three times mind you! And Peter saw all the miracles. Peter knew who he was betraying even though he was one of the first to say Jesus was the Messiah!
But did it stop Jesus from hanging around Peter? Did Jesus throw Peter out of His inner circle? No He didn’t. And don’t for a moment think your sins are worse than Peter’s. (That would be pride at its worst,) Jesus will not forsake you. He sticks closer to you than a brother. See Proverbs 18:24
Some Ways to Actively Be Jesus’ Friend.
Friends delight in brightening each other’s lives. Think of the people you’ve been friends with. You got to know them. And you got to see the simple things that brightened their day. The God who ate with John and Peter wants us to embrace that we’re also His friend. Friends enjoy each other in the little things.
“I want to make you smile. I want to know your heart and what brings You joy. Is there something little I can do? Sing you a song? Give a coworker a funny gift? Take a walk with you and praise what you have done in my life and others? Enjoy nature, which you created …”
For how to cultivate your friendship with God, see the steps below and this link as well. https://thinkaboutsuchthings.com/friendship-with-jesus
Habits To Strengthen A Friendship With Jesus
1. Talk to Him often and tell Him how wonderful He is. Reflect back on how He has blessed you and those you love. Your praise is just as important as your prayers. Friends appreciate each other and delight in the friendship this way.
2. Tell Him how happy you are with the way He has made you and how blessed you are to be His friend.
3. Don’t try to change your situation, He brought about your situation to change you.
4. In everything give thanks” (1 Thes.5:18).
5. Agree with God and stop arguing with Him.