Without my dear college friends and sisters, my wedding would not have been possible. A photo of my bridesmaids shows them in their pretty dresses and bearing bright smiles, but these belie the many hours and days of frantic efforts to put a wedding together in spite of a famously indecisive bride. The photo also doesn’t show them changing into T-shirts and sweatpants for some intense cleaning up after the wedding was over.
Because of them, and because of the presence of so many other dear friends and family members, it was a beautiful wedding. My husband and I had only recently graduated from college at the time, which meant that many of our close friends were, like us, were burdened with college debts and still struggling to find a job. Yet, they somehow managed to scrimp and save enough to travel from near and far to join us. Some even travelled as far as 12,500 kilometers for a two-hour ceremony.
I should not have been surprised. I know these people, and I know how deep our friendships go. The girls in the photo would do anything in their power to show up and witness this joyous occasion with me. And I know that if I were ever to be down and out, these sisters would be willing to drop everything and do whatever they could to help me.
It reminds me of what Jesus said: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
The greatest test of friendship is whether we’re willing to go to the extent of dying for our friends. And Jesus is our perfect example and greatest friend. He is God, but for us—before we even knew him—He became man and lived a humble life. And in the end, He laid down His own life, in an incredibly gruesome and painful manner, for us. Have we ever stopped to think about the magnitude of this act? What greater love is there than this?
Jesus goes on to say, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14–15).
Jesus called us His friends, and died for us so that we may live. And having made known to us all that He has learned from the Father, He urges us to love each other (John 13:17).
It’s got me thinking about the way I live out this sacrificial love in my own life. Do I show my friends the love that Jesus commanded? Am I laying down my life for them daily?
Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has shown us what it means to love. And my friends’ acts of love and commitment to me truly reflect Jesus’ sacrificial love in their lives. I pray that I will do likewise for them, and for Him.