I AM yet to be told or read about any powerful king who humbly called his subjects his friends, and died for the eternal salvation of their souls. Most kings of the world are proud and exert excessive power over their subjects. They lord over their people and will hardly descend to their level and call them friends.
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of Babylon. He was full of pride and would never call his satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates and all officials who served in his kingdom his friends let alone lay down his life for their deliverance or rescue.
He had dreams and he himself could not interpret them. One day, he summoned his servants and asked them to tell him a dream he had had and interpret it.
“Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dream. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, ‘I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream. Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, ‘O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.’
“The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, ‘The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins” (Daniel 2: 2- 5, ESV).
Kings make decrees and if any servant disobeys them they are harshly persecuted (often to death). Have you not read or heard about how king Nebuchadnezzar threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace for refusing to participate in idol worship and also how King Darius threw Daniel into the den of lions for praying to his God against the king’s command?
Even great kings of Israel like David and Solomon who led their people to conquer nations and create prosperity never were humble enough to call their subjects friends. David fought for his nation, but he never voluntarily abdicated his throne and gave himself up to be gruesomely murdered for the propitiation of the sins of his people. Rather, David slept with his soldier’s wife and eventually killed the soldier to cover up his sins. But he could not hide; God saw him and judged him justly.
O, how the kings of the earth fail to genuinely love their people; they try to love, but they fail miserably. The only King whose acts of love supersede the love of all other kings is King Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. He has no peer, and none can be compared with Him in love, humility and all His divine attributes.
Not only did Jesus Christ who was in the form of God, emptied Himself of His unsearchable divine riches, supremacy, pre-eminence, and taking the form of a servant and being born in the likeness of men, but He humbled Himself to the point of dying on the cross to secure eternal salvation for all who sincerely believe in Him. And before He died, He had called His servants friends. Jesus said:
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…” (John 15: 13- 15)
Jesus Christ, the everlasting King of kings calls some people friends. He spoke these words to His disciples. But the Lord never said everyone who calls himself apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher or Christian is His friend.
Many preach, heal the sick and give prophesies, but they are not friends of Christ; they are His enemies. These are people who call Jesus, Lord, Lord, but never do the will of God. They use the Lord’s name as a cover-up for their wicked deeds; they are self-styled religious people who peddle the Word of God. They appear like ministers of Christ but they are wolves in sheep’s skin as they refuse to preach the crucified Christ.
However, friends of Jesus Christ do the commandments of the Lord. They learn to listen to the voice of Christ Jesus and follow Him gladly as the First Apostles did. They “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28: 19- 20). They obediently remain in Christ, knowing that He alone is the Vine and without Him they can do nothing.
“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1: 17, ESV).
From James Quansah, Kumasi