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classic Jesus

This is how Jesus looked to me growing up.  This picture was prominently on display in my grandparents home.  It was on the wall in at least two of my  Sunday School classes.  It has to be admitted, whenever I think of Jesus, this is the image that forms in my mind.  Does Jesus look like this picture?  I have no idea.  Not only do I have a picture of Jesus fixed firmly in my imagination, I have some ideas as to who He is to me.   Savior, Sanctifier, the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, the great I Am.  He is Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.  Shepherd, Messiah and Christ.  The Lamb of God, the Chief Cornerstone, The Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the Bread of Life, the Lilly of the Valley and the Bright Morning Star.  He is the Lion of Judah, A Great High Priest, the Redeemer, Son of Man and Son of God.  He is the suffering Servant, the Conquering Christ and Soon coming King, to name just a few.   But there is one name I have for Him as well.  Friend.    Jesus is my friend!

When I received my call to preach, a family friend asked me to preach at the local rescue mission.  I was about 20 years old and extremely nervous.  This was my first sermon.  The person leading he service asked for hymn requests.  Almost as a chorus they all yelled the same page number.  I wondered what song would these folks want to hear sung?  And I was amazed that it was nearly unanimous.  Later the song leader told me that it is always  the first song requested:  What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.

 Joseph M. Scriven (1819-1896)

Joseph Scriven was from Ireland.  He was soon to be married and his soon to be bride be died.  He was broken-hearted and devastated.  He moved to Canada and again fell in love and was about to be married, and again his fiancee died from an illness.  He would remain single the rest of his life. He remained faithful to Christ and served the Lord wholeheartedly.  He would write the poem “What a Friend We have in Jesus” and sometime later it would be put to music.

The words seem to mean more to me today than they did may years ago awaiting my opportunity to preach my first sermon.  The words seem for all of us to be almost autobiographical.  Each stanza seems to describe events in our lives.  Yet the testimony is still true to this very hour.   Jesus is my friend?  And that is enough!!!!

 

 

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