By Elizabeth Prata
I’m watching the Netflix series, The Crown. As she is portrayed in the series, the Queen (Elizabeth II) doesn’t seem approachable, relaxed, or in any way inviting toward friendliness. She is royalty, majesty, remote.
As her TV-husband character put it regarding the immediate royal family, “Everyone in this system is a lost, lonely, irrelevant outsider, apart from the only person person that matters. She is the oxygen we all breathe. The essence of all our duty.”
That’s how we view Jesus as royal king. He is our raison d’etre, the oxygen we all breathe, our sole focus. He is high and lifted up, remote, unapproachable, as a King should be.
But that’s not all He is.
Jesus is supreme king yet He calls us friend.
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15).
So the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11a).
How can this be? A deity so remote, powerful, omniscient, and holy, being our friend? When we think of friends we think of childhood escapades, playing in the brook, skipping stones, high-fiving after the touchdown. As adults, having girls’ night, laughing over silly things, babysitting each other’s kids.
Yet it is so, say the scriptures. As RC Sproul wrote in A Friend of God, “Friendship with God is not a privilege just for Abraham; it belongs to all who follow Jesus. … Divine grace establishes and completes this friendship.
Jesus is our friend. Who better than a friend to comfort us in our difficulties? Who better than a friend to appeal to for help? Who better than a friend to celebrate with all of life’s joys? Who better to simply enjoy being with? We do that with our friends. All the more reason to do these things with THE Friend, perfect friend, everlasting friend, who’ll never betray, leave, or forsake us?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had friends who left me. Friends who disappointed me. Friends who turned out to be enemies. That’s life. But eternal life with Jesus is that He is our perfect friend who will never leave, betray, or disappoint.
In one sense, it’s easier to enjoy Jesus as King, because He is remote and we’re not supposed to be emotionally intimate with a king. So our flesh indulges our tendency to self-sufficiency that Jesus abhors. We think, why would a king even care about each of our emotional or spiritual lives? But Jesus is not only willing but able to care for us from His heart as well as His throne. He wants us to depend on Him as friend, casting all our cares upon Him.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you. (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Ah! There it is. Friendship with Jesus requires humility. And why not? He is gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). He humbled Himself, to the point of the cross, first. (Philippians 2:8). Why? So he could have intimate fellowship with us, normally called friendship here on earth, without sin coming between us.
Therefore humble yourselves (and myself), open your heart to Him in prayer. Seek Him in intimate friendship, pouring out your cares and concerns. Jesus is King. He is also Friend.