True friendship is life-giving. It is life-sacrificing. True friendship is willing to be wounded for the sake of the other. Hours before he would be betrayed in the garden, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).”
Jesus was a friend of sinners. Jesus loves even when he is not loved back. A friend who ask nothing in return and yet, is willing to give all for our love. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard because of whom he chose to call friend (Matt. 11:19). When Judas, the betrayer, shows up with a legion of Roman soldiers to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, he responds, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for” (Matt. 26:50). The one who betrays, Jesus calls friend.
Jesus lays down his life for his friends. He bears the sins of his friends. Toward the end of his life, he says to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants . . . Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15). The cross is his claim that he has not given up on his friends. It is on the cross that Jesus befriends humanity. On the cross, Jesus dies a friend of sinners, so that we may become a friend of God. On the cross God battles for those he longs to call friend.