We all need friends.
"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Prov 18:24
Most of us have a circle of friends. Often times, our friends will have the same passions, be from the same socioeconomic backgrounds, and share our same interests. Some things may be slightly different, but for the most part our friends would think along the same lines as we do. After all, if our upbringing was from a conservative Christian environment, we probably wouldn't be close friends with an atheist, for example, for the simple reason of avoiding offenses against our beliefs.
According to the Bible, a friend is closer than a brother. How can that statement even make sense since siblings live together in the same house for more than 10 years? It would seem no one would be closer than a sibling. Even if siblings are very different, they are still part of the same family, doing things together and spending time with each other as families do. How then could a friend be closer? Jesus shows us how.
Jesus, being human, shared our same basic need for friends. Read some of the statements He made to his disciples at the end of His life. "I don't call you servants, I call you friends"! So how did He chose His friends? Logically, He should have gone with the ones that resembled Him the most, not the ones that were the furthest from His nature. Yet instead of choosing priests, Levites, kings, religious leaders, His eyes fell on quite the opposite. His friends were sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, fishermen. They really had no common ground with Jesus.
Jesus is looking for friends. His eyes are on the ones that feel disqualified and unworthy. And the moment Jesus chooses His friend, He will stick with them closer than His own family. We don't have to be like Him for Christ to like us as a person. All that is required is that we love Him back!
Friends don't decide to stick with us based on bloodline or family ties. Friends don't stick closer than a brother because they have the familial obligation to stay with us. For them, it is a choice, and choices have greater impact than obligations. Jesus chooses to stick with us regardless of our shortcomings. He is not obligated to stay our friend because He has to. He does so because He wants to!