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How to be a Loyal Friend

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25
How to be a Loyal Friend Book Cover

As we read about yesterday, Mary Magdalene was present during Jesus’s ministry, at the foot of the cross, at his burial, and at his resurrection. She was the friend that remained, the one that refused to look away. She is mentioned a total of fourteen times in the New Testament, more than most of the apostles. She is almost always mentioned first, identifying her as an important person and leader in the community. The only list where her name is not first is when she is standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus’s mother.

show up when everyone else runs away

Suffering is hard to bear witness to. No matter how good of a friend you are or think someone else is, when tragedy happens, people run. Think through your own life. In the hardest moments, were you surprised by who was and wasn’t by your side?

In the Gospels, we are told that Jesus was abandoned by the disciples. One betrayed him with a kiss, while the others ran. Peter, the very disciple Jesus would later command to build his church, denied even knowing him (Matthew 26:69–75). Only “the disciple whom he loved” is mentioned as being present at Jesus’s death (John 19:25–27), surrounded by the women who never left. But Magdalene was always nearby, likely with the women who followed behind weeping as Jesus carried the cross to Golgotha, and most definitely standing beside his mother, identifying as one of those closest to him in life (Luke 23:27). She showed up.

From the very first time she is introduced, Magdalene shows up and takes part in Jesus’s ministry. Grateful for her healing, she is transformed in both body and soul. Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan, an associate professor at Saint Vincent College, describes Magdalene as “one of Jesus’s success stories.” Her healing resulted in “faithful ministry as well as social reintegration, leadership, and recognition.”


Magdalene’s presence and the presence of those with her are the reason the Gospel writers had the eyewitness testimony they needed to write the details of what happened that day at the crucifixion. Jesus’s death and resurrection that followed would become our second chance, and Magdalene was there to bear witness to it all.


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When has someone shown up for you during tragedy? What are some ways you could be more proactive about simply being present for those you love when they are going through hard times?

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Comments (13)

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When I struggled through physical heath issues, my closet at friends and family showed up, prayed for and with me and checked on me often! I try my best to do that same for those I’m close to! When I am aware anyone is suffering I try to send encouragement in the form of prayer, my presence, cards, food or just simply a text or hug to lift him or her up!

I remember not passing my test and my friend Cherone was right there. Her words helped me she said “ you are already a teacher the test doesn’t make you!”
In that moment I felt so much peace!

My sister was there with me when my husband had his accident in 2016. She has been with me and stood by me so many times and is God’s true daughter and faithful follower. I am learning how to be there more for those around me as I walk on the path God has for me.

My friend Beatrice was there for me when my parents died and she was in another continent but I felt her love….love and distance couldn’t keep her away.
We can become proactive by checking on friends, family and people always even those who seem strong. Always be intentional and pray before you check on people so God can direct and use us. Amen.

My friend Kathy before I met my current husband. When my x would come get the kids she would be there. He would verbally attack me when the kids weren’t around. She stood beside me so there would be a witness. Later my husband did the same and protected me. Later, we all made peace.

My ex partner walked alongside me when my mother passed away. He listened to my hurt and helped me understand my feelings. He helped me not to make life changing decisions out of the pain that I was feeling. He accompanied me on breaks when I needed them. He remained a consistent and constant person in my life.

– Helping people to know I’m there
– Being proactive with phone calls and texts
– Sending them encouragement during their difficult times
– Being consistent
– checking into them afterwards

When my father was dying I was in the hospital room alone with him as he was taking his last breaths. His doctor came in and asked if he could stay since I was alone. It wasn’t too long till the Dr. went over to him and said a prayer over him and he took his last breath . I was so grateful for the Dr. staying with me.

When you are there you are supporting them. You don’t have to talk, a hug or holding their hand shows you care. Bring their favorite comfort food if you know what it is. That is comforting.

Back in September, I found out that my dad and step-mom were getting divorced. I found out early in the morning on my way to work at a restaurant, where one of my closest friends also works. I have a very hard time compartmentalizing and I just couldn’t separate my personal life from my work life; and, I broke down to my friend. She just stood there and listened, didn’t have to say anything. She then offered to have me over at her house that night so I didn’t have to be alone to my thoughts. She and her boyfriend cooked me dinner, and I spent the night there just chatting about life and eating good food. That’s something I will never forget: she was present. Of course, it could’ve looked differently if I wasn’t with her when I found out; however, she has always been that kind of friend. She knows when I’m feeling down, she knows when I just need a distraction. I am so grateful for her and I think this is a kind of friend we should all strive to be to others. She was there for me when I needed someone the most. She didn’t have to do anything crazy – I just hung out and ate food, that’s something we can all do! I think it is important to really listen to your friends and what is they need. I’m the type of person that just needs someone’s presence – you don’t necessarily need to give advice or talk, I just like when people listen. Other people may feel differently about that. It’s all about being observant and listening to others’ needs.

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