When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
It is a sweet gospel. God’s favor is to be savored. This divine favor, this gospel, is underappreciated, however. Shame on us. Do we not realize what it took? Do we not understand that God became man not because we were so worthy but out of pure love? We take it for granted, no doubt about it but its sweetness never depended on our appreciation of it. It is a part of its sweetness. This divine favor given by our Friend. And not a friend like a buddy but a friend in high places who befriended us at the moment we had none. There is nothing about us that would attract Jesus to us as a friend. This is not a reciprocal relationship. He is our Friend by grace.
There are moments when you seem to have no friends. It’s not true. We have each other, but still, I know, the horror of being one is always on our minds. But even if it were true, that you hadn’t a friend in the world, you have one out of this world who then came to this world. This is what the Magi came searching for, a friend, a Friend in High Places. They were not lonely, they traveled in caravan. But none of their entourage could be the friend they needed. A friend who was King, in high places, a friend who could love unconditionally, here on earth, right now, a friend who could do something about this predicament, a friend who would die for them. They found him by a star in Bethlehem.
You find him in his Word preached which points you to the cross. Here is where you see your true Friend. During this Epiphany season our Friend is revealed to us. He is teacher, miracle-worker and parable speaker. Above all he is the compassionate Lord who befriends sinners. He is Lamb who dies for sinners. He is our Friend in high places. His favor is to be savored that the King of Kings would stoop so low to befriend us. It’s our highest joy.
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