What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Greater love has no man than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13NKJV

Joseph M. Scriven, (1819-1869), wrote the poem What a Friend We Have in Jesus in 1855. He sent it to his mother in Ireland to encourage her in her time of sorrow; some sources say she was ill. The poem was later put to music by Charles C. Converse. (Public Domain.)

Scriven was no stranger to tragedy. He had to give up his military ambitions because of poor health. On the night before his wedding, his fiancée drowned. He left Ireland to start a new life in Canada, where Scriven lost his second bride-to-be to illness. Soon afterwards, he joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married. He spent the rest of his life giving all of his time and money to help the less fortunate and to spread the love of Jesus wherever he went. This cost him friends who disagreed with his work with the underprivileged. Scriven’s trust in the Lord carried him through difficulties, for he found Jesus Christ to be a faithful friend. Consider the lyrics of this beloved hymn:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Ev’rything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Ev’rything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
 Can we find a friend so faithful Who with all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.

In my last devotional, The Value of Friendship, some of the attributes of a good friend included loving at all times, faithful loyalty, and communication.

Jesus loves us. He is a faithful, loyal friend. His words to us are sweet and bring delight, for His words are true, and His counsel is wise and righteous.

Jesus is not afraid of the heavy lifting, but bears all of our sins and grief. Can we find a friend so faithful who with all our sorrows share? We can come to Jesus and know that He cares and will listen. He does not forsake us. He comforts us.

We can always communicate with our Lord. He’s never too busy! He talks to us in Scripture, God’s love letter to us. The Holy Spirit within the believer brings the things of God to mind, and helps us in our troubles. God rejoices over us! No matter what we want to say to God, we can take it to the Lord in prayer.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

We can be a friend of Jesus. How?

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to You. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:14-17 NKJV

What a Friend we have in Jesus! Let’s take everything to him in prayer. May you and I be Jesus’ friends and obey Him. In what area is He calling you to obey? Be a good friend to others. Love one another.  


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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.