Soul friends nurture our souls and point us to God.
The purpose of soul friendships is growing together in Jesus Christ. Jesus had demonstrated love for us and had commanded us to love one another.
Soul friendships aim to nurture the life of our soul. Saint Brigid of Kildare, a 6th century saint in Ireland, who honoured the tradition of having soul friends, said God is very near when we are in the company of a true soul friend.
Soul friendship is distinctive because it is a relationship that is marked by vulnerability, self-disclosure, compassion and understanding and bond by a love that is centred by prayer and joy. It aims to support growth in holiness and in love for God and for others.
Saint Brigid has been a soul friend to many others. It is definitely hard, or rather, impossible to walk on our faith journey without spiritual companions.
May God provide soul friends for us as we journey on in our Christian faith so that we can enjoy the rich blessings of having spiritual companions in life.
Jesus came to show us the example of what it means to serve one another
Jesus knew He would be crucified soon. The passage gives us an intimate glimpse of the last few moments Jesus have with his disciples.
(1) Jesus knew He would be heading to the Cross
“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.” (John 13:1)
The final moments of someone’s life were especially important. When someone was dying, the loved ones would gather around to spend the last few precious moments together. Jesus knew His time on earth was coming to an end and so He treasured the time alone with His disciples by teaching them the most important lesson to His disciples.
Jesus had been with His disciples for 3 and a half years. He had called the 12 of them from their ordinary work: some were fishermen, there was a tax collector whereas we were not told about the professions of the others. These men were just ordinary people. They were not the rich or influential people. They were not the best in their professions, but still, Jesus called them and their lives were never the same again. Although they were unnoticed by the society, Jesus saw their potential and knew they could change the world with the Gospel.
Likewise, Jesus has called us, not because we are rich, not because we are people of status, or because we are talented not because we come from influential families. But Jesus called us because He loves us. He came to bring us out of darkness. And He knew we would impact others around us with His love. Our lives were never the same again. It is the sweetest relationship that we can have: our relationship with Jesus Christ, who came to seek us and found us while we were still lost.
Jesus knew His disciples did not fully understand Who He was but He loved His disciples still.
Jesus knew one of His disciples would betray Him in a short while, but He would still wash His feet.
Jesus knew none of us were perfect. We are sinners. We are sinful but Jesus still chose to die on the Cross for us.
Nothing could change God’s mind about you.
“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1).
Jesus loved His disciples as He carried the Cross to the place He would be crucified.
Jesus loves you and I as He died on the Cross. Jesus loves us to the end.
The Bible tells us there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.
Jesus doesn’t love us because we are good. He loves us unconditionally.
Do you know you are the beloved child of God?
Jesus knew you are worth it so He died for you and me to reconcile us to God.
What are you going to do about Jesus’ love for you? Remember, Jesus has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light so that we can shine for Him. Don’t hide your light.
(2) Jesus knew Who He was
By then, Jesus already knew one of His 12 disciples, one of His close friends, Judas Iscariot would betray Him. But Jesus knew Who He was.
“3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;” (John 13:3).
Jesus knew He was the Son of God. And He would be returning to God soon. Although everything was in the power of Jesus, He was obedient to God and submit Himself to God’s will. He could have call 10,000 angels to rescue Him from the Cross but He did not. He chose to die for us (Matthew 26:53).
Although He was the Son of God, He knew His missions on earth. Without wasting time, He went on to teach the most important lesson to His disciples.
“4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5)
In those days, feet are dirty because people walked from place to place on the dusty roads. Before visitors entered into a home, the lowliest servant would wash the feet of the visitors.
Jesus did the work of a servant, showing us the example that we are to love one another and serve one another.
(3) Jesus knew He had to set the example
Jesus Christ had set the example for us in obedience to God when He came down from Heaven to Earth. This was in obedience to His Father in Heaven. He also set an example in how He has lived His life.
At the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus demonstrated the meaning of serving one another. Although He is the King, He came to serve, not to be served.
“14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14-17)
Jesus as the teacher has set the example for us. Many of you are teachers, you know that your students look up to you. What you teach them but more importantly, your example in the way you live will impact them. Your students are watching you and learning from your examples. Jesus showed the example to His students. In the Kingdom of God, we don’t fight for titles or recognitions. In the Kingdom of God, we serve one another. The Kingdom of God has different values than the values of the world.
The world puts an importance on status of someone, but Jesus looks at the way we serve others. In the society, we put importance on climbing to the top, of protecting our rights, or using our power to protect our dignity. We are always guarded, having our weapons and will try to take down those we see as competitors. To reach to the top, we need to pull strings, know influential people, play some tricks. This is not how God’s Kingdom works. In God’s eyes, real greatness is not in what we have or how influential we are. It is how we serve others, not how many people are serving us.
Who will you serve today? Who can you love today? May someone experience the love of God through you.
We are blessed because Jesus seeks us, calls us His own and He loves us unconditionally.
We are blessed because Jesus is the Son of God who will one day come back again in victory.
We are blessed because Jesus has shown us the example in the right way of living. He shows us what truly matters in His eyes.