Friends. We all need a good friend—a close companion with whom we can share a part of ourselves; with whom we can be totally honest and vulnerable and not be judged; to accept us the way we are, yet love us enough not to simply leave us as we are.

Unlike members of our family, we can choose our friends. We connect with someone—whether it be through a common interest, similar temperaments perhaps, or because of something in another that we long for in our own lives—and a bond develops. A bond of trust, loyalty and self-sacrifice.

One would think that Jesus’ intimacy with His Father, together with the closeness of the Holy Spirit, would have been sufficient to satisfy His need for companionship. Yet, even though He spent much time in prayer talking to His Father, Jesus still valued to company and interaction of friends. Although Jesus wasn’t able to choose who He wanted as His family, He was able to choose whom He wanted as His close friends; and within the Gospels, we discover who some of His closest friends were. Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-39); Peter, James and John (Matthew 17:1).

Is it surprising that Peter is willing to defend Jesus with a sword, and that John is the only disciple at the cross, or that Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wipes them with her hair? Jesus was the friend of all, yet He spent most of His time with a small group of friends and allowed only a select few into His 'private space' (John 13:23-25).

Build into the life of someone who is special to you. Invest time and emotional energy into that friendship. Too often we are content to get by on shallow relationships—acquaintances—and believe that as long as we have a good spread of friends, there’s no need to get too close and personal with anyone—and that’s safe. But what when our lives fall apart and no one knows us well enough, or cares enough, to see us through the messiness of life? Do we have someone who will be there for us in our darkest hour? Jesus did. He chose Peter, James and John to pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-34).

Thank you, Lord, that you have made us to need each other—to need a special friend: the kind of friend that will stick closer even than those in our family (Proverbs 18:24).