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Jesus, James, John, and Peter

And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.

Mark 5:37
Jesus, James, John, and Peter Book Cover

the core group

Ever noticed that we have different levels of intimacy with our friends? Some are as close as sisters, and others are wonderful, but for some reason aren’t in our inner circle. Do we attempt to grow all of our friendships to “bestie” status? What if not all friendships were destined for forever, or the same level of closeness? In today’s reading, we will explore the fact that friendships have varying levels of intimacy.

All over the New Testament, we see Jesus had multiple followers and disciples. Jesus taught the masses, sent seventy out on mission (Luke 10), and of course, recruited twelve disciples—yet just three were in his innermost circle.

Jesus had friends of different levels of intimacy. In today’s passages, we see that Jesus regularly retreated with Peter, James, and John. First, let’s talk about who these men were. Peter was a fisherman who dropped everything to follow Jesus. James and John were brothers, the sons of Zebedee (Mark 3:16–17), also known as the Sons of Thunder. We are not given a reason why Jesus chose these men to be his closest friends, but we do see that he does.

Over the course of their friendship with Jesus, Peter, James, and John continued to grow in faith and trust. In Mark 5:37, Jesus allowed Peter, James, and John to witness the resurrection of a little girl. Then he “strictly charged them that no one should know” (Mark 5:43). Following that event, Jesus brought the three up to mountain where he transfigured, or had a metamorphic change, into a glorified state. He charged them again to “tell no one what they had seen” (Mark 9:9). There was an increasing trust that grew between these four men that resulted in a greater bond and deeper intimacy. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus specifically asked these three men to watch over him as he cried out to His father in agony. Jesus, the Son of God, needed close friends. The Savior cultivated close relationships. Jesus gave these men access to his identity, his power, and his pain, trusting that they would keep his confidence.

Listen: if the Son of God, the one person who would not need others in his life, cultivated close friendships, we can, too. To be a good friend, we show ourselves as trustworthy. We keep confidences, so that we make it safe for other women to be vulnerable, to grant us access to their heart, their struggles, and their fears. By being trustworthy, we glorify God in our in our friendships. These men were not perfect and they did not always do the right thing (looking at you, Peter!). Yet, they were regularly at Jesus’ side. Our intention in friendship should always be love and loyalty.

No matter the season, or the reason for earthly friendships, every relationship is an opportunity to glorify God—to share Jesus. May all of our relationships seek to be firmly rooted in Him, for Him, and to Him who gives all good things.

inventory

  1. Which friendship from the Bible resonated with you the most? Why?
  2. When does a person transition from being an acquaintance to a friend?
  3. Do you think about what role, if any, God plays in your friendships?
  4. Most of the time, “commitment” is a word we hear mostly in reference to marriages, and maybe parenting. Have you considered committing to your friends? What would that look like?
  5. What are some ways that we can intentionally cultivate trust in our relationships?

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