The story of Jonathan, son of King Saul, is often lost between the larger than life story of David’s defeat of Goliath or the dramatic story of Saul’s jealousy and repeated attempts to murder David, ultimately leading David to spend years on the run. However, Jonathan is one of my favorite people from the Bible. He is the picture of a Christian friend.
Jonathan sees in David godliness, courage and humility in the way he spoke to Saul and in his confrontation with Goliath. Thus 18:1 tells us, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” In the following chapters, Jonathan risks his life for David several times. Perhaps equally admirable, Jonathan loves and supports David at the cost of his own advancement. It might be easy to forget that Jonathan is in line to become king after Saul and that the advancement of David comes at the expense of Jonathan. But such is the heart of a friend.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Many people value friendships and other relationships from a position of what they do for you. How does this person make me feel? Do they listen to me? But Christian friendships should directly mirror the kind of self-sacrificial, self-giving, other-focused love that Christ had for us. The kind of love that Jonathan had for David.
Are your friendships examples of the love of Christ? Do you love others with a sacrificial love or are your friendships centered around what they do for you and how they make you feel?
May we all strive to be a Jonathan to someone today.