I’m sure the Last Supper involved many poignant moments, but a prominent one for me is when Jesus said to His apostles, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).
In His final hours before the greatest trial that anyone would or could ever experience came upon Him, He wanted to be with some of those He had the closest relationships with. His friends.
In some of His teachings to them on that occasion, He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever 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).
In these latter days, Jesus has invited us to be His friends. Referring back to His remarks to the apostles, He said to a gathering of elders in the time of Joseph Smith: “And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:77).
As we try to develop a relationship with our Savior, it’s easy to think of Him as a friend. He is the truest friend of all—someone who loves us as we are and at the same time urges us to be better, and paid the ultimate price for us to have life. But how often do we realize that a friendship goes both ways?
The Parable of the Former Friend illustrates how easy it can be to slack off in our side of the relationship. It can be easy to let my efforts drop off little by little until something difficult drives me back into action. Even when I’ve had specific experiences where I know Jesus has answered a plea and responded with the help I needed, how much is my heart directed toward Him? How much time do I give Him? How often am I there for Him when He needs me to do something for Him?
The Lord is a Being of deep feelings. I wonder how much disappointment I’ve caused Him when I don’t keep up the relationship.
At the same time, our Savior’s phone number never changes, so to speak. He is always glad when we call upon Him. If we have let ourselves drift away too far, it may take some time to reestablish the relationship—and we may have made it difficult for ourselves to hear Him, so it seems that He doesn’t respond right away. At the same time, I believe Catharina’s response to Angela’s desperate call is much the same as Jesus’s would be in such a situation: “It has been longer than I would have liked since I last heard from you. But I am pleased you are calling upon me. And I am here to help you.”
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