Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoeservants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of ver I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. John 15:13-15

Dear brothers and sisters,

Guided by the Holy Spirit to write, the Apostle John mentions the word “friends” thrice to emphasize its importance. Therefore, it is hard to imagine of those who live in the world and are yet without friends. A friend is one we can talk to and enjoy spending time with. Moreover, a true friend is one who will not walk out on you when you have a certain problem but will be concerned about you, asking how things are with you and waiting to hear the answer.

In life as we go along, we meet many people but we don’t necessarily have to make friends with all. Although it is not deliberate on our part to look for friends, opportunities do present themselves. However, in the end, making friends is by our choice, but we may want to consider some to be our special friends. A strong friendship can still shrivel up if care is not taken to uphold it.

Today, the Lord has allowed our lives to be blessed with friends, but do we consider the Lord to be a Friend who is special to us, the sinner’s Friend? We do not call Him Friend but He calls us His friend. If the Prime Minister of Singapore were to call you his friend, he is bringing you to his level to be on par with him. What a Friend we have in Jesus is greatly different from what Jesus says that He has a friend in us.

John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

His friendship to us can be seen in His sacrifice for us. “To lay down His life” is a willing and voluntary act on His part and He never regretted what He did.

The Lord states clearly that it was for His friends that He gave up His life, Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Also, no man could take His life away from Him and against His will. John 10:18, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

“To lay down His life” may not give us a full graphic account of Christ’s death but a search of the Scriptures allow us to see clearly the price paid by Christ’s suffering to the intent that He may call us His friends.

* The betrayal by Judas Iscariot and deserted by His disciples—Matthew 26:47-56

* Man-handled by the soldiers—Luke 22:63-64

* Scourged—Matthew 27:26

* Mocked and crowned with thorns— Matthew 27:26-29

* Stripped naked—Matthew 27:35

* Nailed to the cross and bled to death—Matthew 27:35

* Marred beyond recognition—Isaiah 50:14

May we not see these verses as a tragedy but as the most glorious act that was so pleasing and satisfactory to the Lord, that He would raise Jesus from the dead three days after.

Jesus is not ashamed to call us His friends; He loves us and wants to walk with us and this is what we call a Friend indeed.

Palm Sunday Reading and Meditation [Luke 19:28-44]

28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. 31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. 32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. 33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him. 35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. 36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Was the first Palm Sunday a fulfillment of Bible Prophecy? YES!

Zechariah 9:9—“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

John 12:14—“And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,”.

Z is for Zeal for Zenith

Reflections of Brethren on the Study of God’s Word (Life in my Father’s House) in Sunday School

The 2 topics have opened up new realms of our understanding and perspectives on Church and Church membership. This is encouraged us greatly and spurred our hearts to be always looking forwards to the next lesson. (Brother Teck Meng and Sister Doris)

I have greatly benefitted by this Sunday School class. The book ‘Life in my Father’s House’, is extremely practical as it deals with common problems in the Church. I have learnt how to respect the leaders and make sure that my focus is correct when in Church. One very important lesson that I have learnt is the command for commitment as a member of the Church. We must do our part, not for ourselves, but for the good of the Church. (Brother Jeshua)

I realized the importance of a local Church and why we should be committed to one. (Brother Desmond)

Thank God for this opportunity to learn His precious Word. May God help us to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”, II Timothy 2:15. (Sister Ruth)

It’s a good reminder for me concerning my responsibilities and duties towards the Church, for whom the Lord Jesus gave up His life. Thank God for Tabernacle where He has placed me in!! May more come and learn with us!!  (Brother Caleb)

Sunday School helps me to be better equipped in God’s Word and have a better understanding in the things I don’t understand. (Brother Billy)

The Sunday School has benefitted me a lot as I have learnt many things not taught during the Worship Service. It is very practical for my life and I’m able to practice what I’ve learnt. Also, I think the Sunday School lessons are interesting! One lesson I’ve learnt concerns the reasons for the commitment to Church. Sunday School is becoming more engaging! (Sister Rachel)