LESSON 1: (SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2005, FROM
When Sister Norma and I first thought of studying the friendships of
Jesus ... I had some reservations. After all, Jesus is God!
And God needs no friends!
But then the Holy Spirit brought a verse to mind. It's found in
John's Gospel. "Henceforth I call you not
servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth:
but I have called you friends;
for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto
you." Jesus said that! (John 15:15) Look!
He has decided to be a Friend to those who are saved! I call this
Then I was shown another verse. In Hebrews 2:17 Paul tells us
something about Jesus. "Wherefore in all
things it behoved Him (Jesus) to be made like unto his brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things
pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the
people." Jesus was to come to earth to be the Saviour ...
and that required His being made like unto us! That little verb "behoved"
is "opheilo" in Greek and means obligated or indebted! Jesus HAD
to be fashioned as a man ... and that involved His having friends too!
Men, to be human, just MUST have friends! This is
DESIGNED FRIENDSHIP! God
predetermined it! It was necessary that the High Priest be
identified with His people!
Next someone pointed out to me that Jesus ... for all of eternity ...
had been in the habit of communing with a Friend, His Father in Heaven!
Never once had broken fellowship ever occurred in the Triune Godhead!
In fact, the very Essence of the Trinity is fellowship and oneness!
Therefore ...when Jesus came to earth, it was only logical that He would
not only continue to commune with His Father in Heaven ... but also with
His new friends (Believers) on earth as well! He had been the
eternal Friend ... now He would also be the earthly Friend! Such
fellowship offered to us old ex-sinners is astounding!
That's DURATIVE FRIENDSHIP! It's
constant! And it will never end!
Lastly let me mention that Jesus has not always been accepted as a
Friend! Strange as it may seem ... millions have rejected His Offer!
Listen to John 1:11 and 12. "He came unto
his own, and His own received him not. But as many as received
Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on His Name." This is
DELAYED FRIENDSHIP. It was first
offered to Israel ... who promptly refused it! Then God extended
the invitation elsewhere ... to the Gentiles! (Praise His Name!)
To Americans! To South Carolinians! To residents of
Greenville County! To inhabitants of the countryside near
Simpsonville! To a family on Bethel Road! Even to their
oldest son whose name was Michael Bagwell. And He accepted Jesus!
I, the day of my salvation, became His friend! And I learned that
He was my Friend too! (It was delayed! I got it second hand!
But it is all the more precious because of that!)
Am I writing to someone today who needs a friend?
A real Friend?
Well, Jesus is the Answer!
But ... really, your potential Friend Jesus says it better than anyone
else: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if
any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and
will sup with him, and he with Me." Revelation 3:20
"Supping" with the Lord ... the Creator of the universe and the Redeemer
Now ... that's friendship!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
(TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2005, FROM CUMMING, GEORGIA)
There is a little poem that our daughter gave to my wife years ago.
It praises Motherhood in general and Joy's Mother (Sister Norma, my
wife) in particular.
I can truly say that for 35 years those two, a daughter and a Mother,
have been friends!
In studying the life of Jesus I have sincerely decided that indeed Jesus
and His Mother were friends too! At least I believe that's the
indication Scripture gives us.
The Virgin Mary was a very special lady! No, she is not God.
No, she is not a saviour! She was a sinner who had to be saved by
Grace ... just like the rest of us born-again folks.
But she was a godly lady!
She was chosen of God to bear the Lord Jesus into this world.
And Jesus, as is true with any little boy, learned to love her dearly.
He no doubt heard his first Bible stories from her lips. He saw
her model purity and reverence and love for God's Word ... not counting
dozens of other Christian graces! Listen to how Paul characterizes
a Mom's impact upon a young boy. "And that from a
child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee
wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2nd
Timothy 3:14) Where did young Timothy learn the Word? Paul
again: "When I call to remembrance the
unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother
Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."
2nd Timothy 1:5
Why, think also of the suffering Mary would have endured just
because of Who Jesus was (and still is)! That alone would have
bound them together. Remember what Simeon told Mary when Jesus was but
an Infant ... "Yea, a sword shall pierce through
thy own soul also ...." (Luke 2:35) Think of how Mary
hurt as her Son was mocked and hated then finally crucified!
She, a godly Mom, saw to it that her Boy was taken to the Temple
at an early age too. There His love for the Scriptures became even
more known to careful Bible students through the centuries! Where
did He first learn such depth of wisdom and attentiveness to Scripture?
At His Mother's knee! "And it came to pass,
that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst
of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions."
Jesus obeyed His Mother too! Read Luke 2:51 ---
"And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto
them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." Such
obedience presupposes respect and honor!
And after that Temple event in Jerusalem at age 12, Joseph (husband of
Mary) is never mentioned again. If he died (as most Bible
teachers suggest) Jesus (the Eldest Son) would have had the
responsibility of caring for His Mother, providing her basic needs like
food and shelter. Such responsibility would have bred friendship.
Jesus' first miracle (the wedding at Cana of Galilee in John 2) involved
His Mother too. Listen to what she said to the servants when the
wine supply had been exhausted ... "Whatsoever he
saith unto you, do it." (John 2:5) Words like that
certainly indicate no animosity between the two. They were
Mary apparently followed Jesus during His public ministry also. At least
Matthew, Mark and Luke seem to so suggest. Matthew 12:46 ---
"While he yet talked to the people, behold, his
mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him."
Then maybe the most pronounced evidence of all concerning the friendship
between the God/Man and Mary His earthly Mother is ... her behaviour at
the Cross! While we are specifically told that all the Disciples
ran away ... we are just as clearly told that Mary didn't! She
stood by Her Son, her Saviour and our Redeemer! See John
19:26. That's friendship, deep friendship! Loyal friendship!
(Mothers in America today are forsaking their sons and daughter by the
thousands per day! Mary did not forsake her Son!)
And Jesus' last request to any man on earth concerned His Mother.
As He was near death on Calvary, our Lord spoke to John (who had
returned to Golgotha by then) and asked a favor. John, would you
take care of Mother for Me? Take her to your home and be her
provider. And Mother, go with him please. Here is friendship
in action! "Now there stood by the cross of
Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of
Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and
the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother,
Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy
mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
Yes, I really do believe that the first earthly friend Jesus had was a
lady! His Mother! And I would say yet today that any young
man (or young lady for that matter) who has among his or her friends ...
a precious Mother ... is blessed indeed!
My Mom was my friend! She prayed for me and loved to hear me
preach and encouraged me every way possible. I have missed her so
much since she went to Heaven!
An astounding thought!
Jesus had friends!
Are you one of them?
Our Lord said in John 15:15 --- "I have called you
friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
(THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2005)
I believe Jesus and John the Baptist were friends!
Spiritually the two recognized each other at a young age.
Prior to birth!
AS an infant still in his Mother's womb, little John the Baptist
responded to the Presence of the unborn Jesus!
Luke 1:41 tells us: "And it came to pass,
that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in
her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost."
Let's let Elisabeth tell it herself (to Mary) ...
"For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears,
the babe leaped in my womb for joy." Luke 1:44
That friendship began early!
And when John first laid eyes on Jesus (as young adults) he cried:
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin
of the world." (John 1:29)
Words indicate the presence of friendship ... or the lack of it!
Again, listen to John: "He must increase,
but I must decrease." John 3:30
Friendship is unselfish and not jealous at all!
And here's a key element in friendship. How does one speak of the
other behind his back?
Well, listen to Jesus, behind John's back, speak about his
friend! (John was in prison at this time.)
"But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and
more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written,
Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way
before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women
there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he
that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew
11:9-11) That's friendship!
And watch what Jesus did when He heard that John the Baptist His friend
had been slain. "And his disciples came, and
took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
When Jesus heard of it,
he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart:
and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him
on foot out of the cities."
(Matthew 14:12-13) Our Lord had to get away!
Such grieving surely suggests friendship! Jesus had to be alone!
And maybe the best "friendship" evidence of all is found in an incident
near the time of Jesus' Death. He had been arrested and Pilate,
not wanting to condemn Him, tried to send Him to Herod for examination.
Once before Herod, the man who murdered John the Baptist, our Lord did
something unusual. He refused to even speak to the man!
"And as soon as he (Pilate) knew that he
(Jesus) belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who
himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he
was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season,
because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some
miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words;
but He answered him nothing." (Luke 23:7-9) I
believe this uncharacteristic silence was Jesus' response to Herod's
unprovoked murder of john the Baptist, His friend.
Look at what we have studied!
Friendship ... between two Preachers!
May it happen again and again and again!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4: (FRIDAY,
JUNE 24, 2005)
The first time Jesus saw Peter ... He said:
"And he (Andrew) brought him (Peter) to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld
him, He said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called
Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone." John 1:42
Jesus had no sooner laid His holy eyes upon Peter, but that He was
envisioning in him great things!
Old Peter, unstable as he can be, known as a "rock?"
Now that's the beginning of a great friendship!
Jesus, the greatest Friend of all, seeing bright and victorious things
in the future for his friend Peter!
Did you notice that Jesus' friendship and influence was so strong that
even Peter's name and hence his nature were changed by the impact of
Notice also that this budding friendship led to a "call" to spend more
time together. Friendship costs time!
"And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch
men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook
all, and followed him." Luke 5:10-11
Close friendship also leads to intimacy. One friend will get to
know his counterpart in ever expanding ways. Peter was the first
Disciple to fully realize Who Jesus was!
"And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the
living God." Matthew 16:16
And this also needs to be added concerning Jesus' friendship with Peter:
The Lord was just never willing to "give up" on Peter!
Even after all his ill spoken words, after his misguided thoughts, after
his crazy ideas and after his curses and denials ... Jesus still loved
him and pursued him ... all the way to the end. That's the way
Jesus loved His friends! "Now before the
feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he
should depart out of this world unto the Father,
having loved his own which were
in the world, he loved them unto the end." John 13:1
I mean ... even after His Resurrection! Jesus then made it a POINT
to find his guild ridden and discouraged friend Peter. He just
MUST KNOW about the Living Lord! An angel from heaven commissioned
the women at the empty tomb ... "But go your way,
tell his disciples and Peter
that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he
said unto you." (Mark 16:7) See that?
"And Peter!" He must not be left out!
Friendship with Jesus just does not fade!
And, as you well know, one of Jesus' post-Resurrection appearances was
to Peter. That's when the Lord re-commissioned him to "Feed the
Let me rephrase that conversation please.
"Peter, I know you have failed. I know you have repented. I
forgive you and need you to spend the rest of your life caring for the
young lambs of God, His born-again children! Feed them!
Protect them! Encourage them! And stay faithful unto death!
You will be rewarded!
And Peter did!
Who wouldn't ... with such a Friend as Jesus by his or her side?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 5: (MONDAY NOON,
JULY 4, 2005)
Could Jesus and Thomas be called friends?
While we do not know exactly when they first met ... we do see them
relating to one another three times in the Bible.
The first time Thomas' name is mentioned is in Matthew 10:3, where the
Disciples are all listed!
Thomas is usually studied as an example of doubt ... but I see in him
great LOYALTY and LOVE for his Lord!
He was indeed a pessimist. He looked on the dark side. His
personality was apparently framed that way. But he did trust Jesus
completely it seems.
In John 11 Thomas was with Jesus during the death of Lazarus episode.
He well knew the dangers lurking around Jerusalem ... at least the
dangers concerning the Lord Jesus!
When it had become apparent that Lazarus was dead and that Jesus was
going back to Bethany (suburban Jerusalem) ... Thomas was determined to
return with Him ... into the very mouth of danger and possible death!
Listen to the Disciple: "Then said Thomas,
which is called Didymus, unto his fellow Disciples, Let us also go, that
we may die with him." John 11:16
This word is bleak! It is looking on the gloomy side!
But it is filled with loyalty to His Friend and Saviour Jesus!
"I'm going with Him ... even if it means death!"
That's a form of true friendship, a willingness to die for one's
Next we see Thomas in the Upper Room the night before Jesus was
arrested. He, having heard all the great teaching our Lord shared, still
had a question. A rather elementary question it appears!
Jesus had just said: "And whither I go ye
know, and the way ye know." John 14:4
Thomas, still sounding doubtful ... but perhaps just being honest,
asked: "Lord, we know not whither thou goest;
and how can we know the way?" John 14:5
But, be sure of this, when Thomas finally determined that Jesus was The
Way ... He was going that Way ... all the Way ... with His Master
Listen: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way,
the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
It is only to a Friend that one can pose such heart-searching questions!
Such deep issues of life and death!
Lastly we see Thomas after the Resurrection of our Lord! He, being
absent that first Sunday night, Resurrection night, was persuaded to
come the next week!
Here's John's account: "But Thomas, one of
the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The
other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he
said unto them, Except I shall
see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the
print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not
believe. And after eight days again his disciples were
within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being
shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you."
I personally believe that with a real friend one can so deeply express
the real feelings of his heart ... that he can even risk offending that
friend ... in order to get to the truth, the heart of a given matter!
I think that's what Thomas just did!
He loved Jesus so much that he was terribly crushed by the recent events
(the Cross and the Burial).
His love could not stand another stunning blow!
His so-called "doubt" may have been a defense mechanism to protect him
from further pain!
But ... note this ... as soon as He saw Jesus and heard Him ...
"Then saith Jesus to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my
hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and
be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto
him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet
have believed." John 14:27-29
"My Lord and My God!"
What a blessing to have in one's God ... also one's Friend!
And certainly that's what (Whom) Thomas had found!
I believe they are yet friends in Heaven today!
Now ... let's listen to Jesus one more time. This time He's
talking to all us Believers. "Henceforth I call
you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but
I have called you friends;
for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto
you." John 15:15
Did you "friends" of the Lord see that?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
(MONDAY AFTERNOON, JULY 4, 2005)
Mary and Martha were also friends of Jesus!
We shall learn of Him today as He ministers to them their great time of
Lazarus had died.
Jesus will not forsake them in their greatest hour of need!
The first thing Jesus did when Lazarus had passed ... was
to come where the grieving
sisters were. He returned to Bethany!
Jesus was THERE for them!
A friend will always try to do that!
His or her very PRESENCE helps so much!
Next Jesus talked with them ... first Martha then Mary.
Words can be so encouraging!
Just the sound of that Friend's voice!
Thirdly Jesus relied on the Promises of God!
Ladies, "Thy brother shall rise again."
Our God is eternal.
Then Jesus did something we all can do for our sorrowing friends too.
He pointed the bereaved to Himself! To the Saviour of the world!
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and
the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he
live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
Get your sad friends to Jesus!
Furthermore ... Jesus, as a Friend, also did something a bit unusual ...
at the graveside. "Jesus wept."
Tears ... our tears ... help our friends when they are sorrowful!
Call it sympathy ... or empathy, Jesus certainly had it. He was
"touched with the feeling of our infirmities."
Then came the miracle ... Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead!
Friends are still around when victory comes!
And while we cannot raise anyone from the grave ... we can (and will) be
around (in Heaven) when the victory ultimately comes as well!
Heaven is a place of "no sorrow!"
Eternal friendship ... in Glory!
"Now we know in part; but then (in heaven)
shall we know even as also we are known." 1st Corinthians
Jesus, The Friend, for evermore!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
(EARLY EVENING, JULY 4, 2005)
The world's greatest example of LOVE occurred on an old rugged Cross
some two thousand years ago.
Here's how Paul expressed it in Romans 5:7-8.
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:
yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God
commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."
Then let's place beside Paul's inspired statement something Jesus said
in John 15. "Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John
Jesus died for sinners, becoming their greatest Friend!
The next time you feel no one cares ... remember that Cross!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life." John 3:16
The next time the devil tells you no one cares, call him a liar!
So much ... that He died in our stead!
One of the most often repeated attacks against our Lord while He was on
earth was "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth
with them." Luke 15:2
He befriended the lost ... leading them to repentance and salvation!
Twice Jesus was called a Friend of publicans and sinners!
"The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they
say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a Friend of publicans
and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."
"The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and
ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a Friend of publicans
and sinners!" Luke 7:34
And listen to what that great divine Friend of mankind had to say in
Matthew 11:28-30. "Come unto me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my
yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my
burden is light."
What a friendly invitation that is!
How does anyone resist it?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
(WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2005)
some great news!
about Jesus as a Friend!
Even after His
Resurrection, His literal bodily Resurrection, He was still a
Friend to those whom He loved!
He encouraged Mary Magdalene.
"Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto
him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master." (John 20:16)
Mary was the first person to whom the Resurrected Saviour
appeared! That's friendship in action!
revealed Himself as a Living Lord to Simon Peter, a dejected
Disciple who had denied His Lord! Paul briefly mentions this
"meeting" in 1st Corinthians 15:5 --- "He
was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to
the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the
twelve." Their friendship started on the other side of
Calvary ... then continued and even deepened on this side!
What I am
trying to say is this. Jesus is STILL a
Yes, He is
God! He is Saviour! He is Lord! He is Alpha and Omega ... and
so much more!
BUT He is also
Friend one will ever have!
And, as a
resurrected and ascended Friend ... He can even do more to help
and uplift and edify His friends!
He is with us
all ... never leaving us or forsaking us!
He is touched
with the feeling of our infirmities!
He prays for
us constantly ... interceding on our behalf!
coming again to get us some day!
told us of "a friend that sticketh closer
than a brother," surely he had Jesus in mind! (Proverbs
today, do you have Such a Friend?
If not ...
listen to the Lord. "Behold, I stand at
the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the
door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me." Revelation 3:20
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell