To The End
By: Ava Marcarelli
As Lent was beginning, I felt Jesus inviting me to deepen my relationship with him. As I persevered in prayer throughout Lent, he revealed many things to me and set me free from many things that had been preventing me from growing closer to him. One of the things he revealed completely shifted my relationship with him: he told me that he wants me to be his friend.
Honestly, that’s all Jesus really wants from us. He wants us to love him and to be his friends, and as we come to love him more, he’ll transform us. I had heard it before, but it never really sunk in what that meant. I ended up asking myself, what does a true friendship look like? True friendship requires vulnerability, I concluded. I should be vulnerable with my friend and allow my friend to be vulnerable with me. It struck me that, while I had poured out my heart to Jesus, I hadn’t allowed him to speak and be vulnerable as well.
Jesus isn’t a just some man who lived 2,000 years ago—he is alive today and we are capable of forming a relationship with him. He has thoughts and feelings just like we do. And he is often still offended and hurt by what we do. There are very few people today among Earth’s eight billion inhabitants who actually console him. The way to console him is to be a friend to him, which also means avoiding sin and immediately asking for forgiveness if we do sin. As we become better friends with him, we’ll begin to see how our sin hurts him and we’ll naturally want to avoid it. Over time, spending time with him will also stop feeling like some kind of burden. Do we dread every time we have to hang out with our good friends? Perhaps when you’re first forming a friendship there might be a bit of discomfort because you’re still getting to know each other and not many people enjoy small talk, but over time it shouldn’t feel like a great effort just to go meet them. It’s the same with Jesus. You might think you don’t know what to say or that what you’re saying isn’t important, but you need small talk in order to get to know someone on a deeper level. Why should I reveal to you my deepest, darkest secret that I’ve never told anyone before when you don’t even know basic things about me, like where I’m from or how old I am? You don’t really deserve to know something like that if you haven’t shown any interest in getting to know me as a person. And so you won’t hear Jesus speak as much if you don’t bother getting to know him through prayer first, seeking him out as a person and not just an idea of him you’ve created in your head.
As Lent has come to an end and the season of Easter has begun, there’s one verse that has stuck out to me a lot. It’s John 13:1:
“He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.”
The Apostles that sat with Jesus at the Last Supper were Jesus’s friends here on Earth, as we should be. He loved his friends so much that he died for them. Many of us may have people we say we would die for, but saying it and actually doing it are two very different things. The kind of death Jesus died for his friends was terrifying enough that the fear and anxiety caused him to sweat blood (it’s actually a real condition called hematidrosis, look it up).
Which of the Apostles are you most like right now? Are you John, Jesus’s best friend, who didn’t hesitate to recline against his chest and who was with him throughout his Passion and at the foot of the cross when he died? Peter, who truly loved Jesus, but when faced with adversity became fearful of what others may think or do to him, so he ran away and even denied his relationship with Jesus, suddenly ashamed of the person he said he would die for just hours before? Or maybe you’re Judas, who traded God for the things of the world and gave into despair, believing he could never be forgiven? Jesus loved all these men. Some of them hurt him more than others, yet he loved them all just the same. He died for all of them just the same. And so it is for you and me. So, don’t be discouraged, no matter which one you are, because Jesus can make you his greatest friend so long as you are willing.
A new season has begun, a season of hope and new life, a season of forgiveness and redemption. Jesus has conquered sin and death, so that whoever wishes to be with him in Heaven can be. Allow Jesus to transform your life this Easter season by letting him love you. He wants you to be his friend and he will love you to the end.
Ava Marcarelli is a 23-year-old college graduate and barista trying to follow the Lord’s plan for her life. After living and working in South Korea for 6 months, she now hopes to help spread the Gospel and to be love to God’s people in Asia and throughout the world. Her love of art, beauty, people, writing, and Jesus motivates her to pursue the Lord everyday in everything.