October 2002 by Asher Intrater
There are many things in life of which it is said "you can't take it with you" into the world to come. One of the things that you can take with you is true friendship. One of the goals of this life is to develop true friends that will be with you eternally.
Yeshua said that you could use money, even ill earned money, to make that kind of friends.
When Yeshua was on the cross He told John, His beloved disciple and best friend, and His mother, Miriam (Mary), to receive one another as if they were family members (John 19:26-27). It is the cross that brings us together and enables us to develop true friendships that will last forever.
At the last Passover Seder before the crucifixion, Yeshua made this profound statement:
It was Yeshua's fervent desire to enjoy this time of food and fellowship with his beloved disciples. His desire here, of course, is also the will of God. There are three periods here in sequence: first, fellowship with His disciples; then suffering death; then eternal fellowship in the kingdom.
One of the reasons that Yeshua went to the cross was to purchase the right to have eternal friendship with his chosen disciples. Before He went to the cross, He wanted to experience a bit of that friendship and fellowship, and to make sure that His disciples were ready to continue on that relationship into the world to come.
In this world we develop relationships in the midst of suffering. In the world to come (the kingdom of God), we will continue those relationships, but without the suffering. In this lifetime we have the kingdom of God within us (the love we have for one another through Yeshua), in the midst of an evil world. In the world to come, those relationships will continue, but the evil elements will be removed.
One of the beauties of the world to come is the sphere of relationships that we have developed in this world. That is the eternal kingdom. That is the goal of discipleship. That is why the great commandment is to love God and to love one another. That is why it is so important that we invest ourselves to building trusted and intimate friendships in this life.
Ultimately God will remove all the suffering from this world (Revelation 21:4). In the meantime, God makes use of that suffering to provide an opportunity for us to be tested as to whether we will be loyal friends or not. Yeshua referred to His disciples as, "you who have continued with me in my trials (Luke 22:28)." The world has a saying, "Nobody loves you when you're down and out." But it is also true, that when you are going through a difficult time, you can find out whom your true friends are.
We can use times of adversity to prove our loyalty of one to another. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17)." During times of success and prosperity, you might not know which of your friends are truly loyal. "The poor are rejected even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends (Proverbs 14:20)." (That was one of the reasons that Yeshua asked the rich young ruler to give his money away.
At this Passover meal, Yeshua offered His disciples the New Covenant.
This blood covenant was a bond of loyalty between Yeshua and His disciples. In that communion meal, Yeshua was asking them to swear an oath of eternal friendship. He wanted to make sure that they were committed to maintain the relationship for which He was about to suffer.
At that very moment Yeshua revealed that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. "Woe to that man by whom He is betrayed! (Luke 22:22)" We should say not only "woe" to Judas, but also "woe" to any person who betrays the intimate relationships in his life.
The commandments not to lie, steal, kill, etc. have to do with acts of betrayal. Adultery is not just a matter of sexual immorality, but of betraying your closest covenant friendship. Woe to the man who does not develop trusting relationships in this life - for he will have nothing to take with him into the world to co.
It was also at this moment of intimacy that the disciples broke out into an argument.
Yeshua was offering them a covenant of eternal and mutual loyalty - and they missed it! This is still one of the great problems in the community of faith today. Ministers are often more concerned about who is to be considered the greatest, than they are about developing intimate friendships in the Body of believers. Too much of the ministry has become an ambition for success, rather than a desire to build a network of trusting relationships.
How Yeshua fervently desires to have that intimate fellowship with you and me!
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