There are friends who pretend to be friends,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Today’s verse is a favorite for greeting cards with gooey sentimental pictures of the Jesus with high cheekbones, blue eyes, and sob sister aspect that was so popular about 100 years ago. The real Jesus though, so far from being a sob sister, unfailingly tended to provoke either adoration, fear or intense hatred. The sob sister Jesus always looks like he’s sighing helplessly, surprised and taken aback by naughtiness. The real Jesus spent his time dealing with customers like foaming demoniacs, serious-minded people with serious questions about Life, the Universe and Everything, or bitter enemies. He was canny, sharp-witted and even funny. His talent for poking holes in the clever rhetorical devices of his foes was well-known. The sob sister Jesus wasn’t so much pretending to be our friend as pitifully hoping we would be his friend. The real Jesus sticks closer than a brother, not because he needs a thing, but because he has already faced down the worst we can dish out in our cravenness as a race and has resolved to love us no matter what. When somebody is that serious about us, he is a real friend!