Jesus addressed his disciples as His friends on several occasions (Matt. 26:50; Lk. 12:4; John11:11;15:14-15). On one such occasion, He counseled His friends with teaching that guides us all about a key issue:
And I say unto you My friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him (Luke 12:4-5).
With these words, Jesus informed His friends that they should not fear those who would put them to death physically but then not be able to harm them any further. He thereby confronted them with the reality that physical death is not the ultimate thing to fear.
Rather, He warned His friends that they must supremely fear the One who has the authority to cast into hell those whom He has killed physically. We thus must fear God supremely, rather than the people who would kill us physically.
Have you heeded this counsel from Jesus to His friends? If so, have you then become a true friend to your friends by sharing this counsel with them?
To do both of these things is to heed truly Jesus’ counsel to His friends.