Ahab -- Friend
Jesus is not only Lord and Master but the greatest of all friends, who willingly proved his friendship by his death on the cross. By this costly gesture he has won the friendship of millions of men and women from across the earth and throughout the centuries.
The Hebrew word, Ahab (Ay-HAB) means “friend.” The Greek word philos (FEE-los) means “friend” or “relative.” Occurring twenty-eight times in the New Testament, it is also used to describe the close relationship that exists among believers, related to each other by virtue of their faith in Jesus. This word is related to phileo, the most general term for “to love” in the New Testament, and to the word philema, which means “a kiss.” In fact, the early Christians used to greet each other with a holy kiss, signifying their close relationship.
John’s Gospel indicates that Jesus called his disciples his friends. Unlike most men of his day, Jesus had both male and female friends.
Luke addressed his Gospel to someone named Theophilus, a proper name meaning “friend of God.” The designation “friends” has survived as another name for those who belong to the religious group known as Quakers.
Praying to Jesus, Our Friend
It was late on a steamy summer night. I was on the phone talking with a friend when a shadow suddenly swooped across the living room. “Sandy, there’s a bat in the house. Gotta go!” I slammed down the phone and escaped to the kitchen, out of the line of fire.
I’d spent $500 on bat mitigation a year ago and now I had another one in the house. “Jesus, help me!” I prayed. I crawled back into the living room, managing to turn on most of the lights, hoping the brightness would immobilize the bat. No luck.
Then I grabbed a towel and started swatting. Suddenly the creature headed upstairs. Afraid it might enter one of the children’s bedrooms, I prayed again. “Jesus, won’t you please help me!” I ran to the windows, raised the blinds, and removed the screens, hoping desperately that the bat would swoop down the stairs and fly out. No luck.
What should I do? By then the bat was back in the living room. I sprinted to the basement, grabbed a blanket and headed back onto the field of battle. “God, I don’t know what to do. Please help me get rid of this bat!” I made numerous attempts to throw the blanket over the creature. No luck.
By now I was sweating profusely, wondering what I must look like to anyone driving by—a crazed woman standing in the middle of her living room swinging her arms around wildly for no particular reason.
Just then the doorbell rang. My heart skipped a bit. Who could possibly be standing at my door at 10:30 at night? Hoping it wasn’t the local axe murderer, I looked out the window. There on my front porch, to my surprise and delight, was my friend Sandy.
“Where’s the bat?” she asked, as soon as she saw me. “Let’s prop the door open. Maybe it will fly out.” With that she strode confidently into the house.
“There it is!” She pointed to a dark, furry mass clinging to the top of the window covering. “Isn’t he cute? Do you have a towel or something I can I use to grab him with?”
As my brave, if demented (remember she said the bat was cute), friend snatched at the bat, it swooped across the living room one last time and then soared out the front door!
What a friend! Sandy had saved me from a heart attack and my children from rabies and certain death! Later I learned that she had been dressed for bed when we had been talking on the phone. When Sandy realized what I was dealing with, she got dressed, drove over to my house, and then valiantly drove the fiend away.
Most of the time I pride myself on being able to handle things. But my self-reliance crumbles pretty quickly whenever a bat enters the picture. In the midst of my fear, I had been praying, asking Jesus to help me. And Jesus did help. He showed his friendship by sending one of his close friends and mine to come to the rescue.