JONATHAN LOVED DAVID AS HE LOVED HIMSELF – 1 SAMUEL 18:3; ALSO SEE 19:4-5; 20:1-42; 23:15-18; 2 SAMUEL 1:26

After David killed Goliath he instantly became a national hero and was made commander of Saul’s army. But later Saul became insanely jealous of David and tried to kill him. Jonathan, the heir to the throne, came to David's rescue. His love, sacrifice and encouragement to David is such a picture of our Lord.

The Lord knows what we need and He knew David would need an intimate friend. So He raised up Jonathan who, in recognition of David’s divine calling as the next king of Israel (23:17) graciously sacrificed his own right as king and loved and served the very man who would take his place as king.

A true friend will sacrifice himself for you: … “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Sam. 18: 1, 3-4)

A true friend will stand up for you and defend you: “Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, "Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?" (1 Sam. 19:4-5)

You can be yourself with a true friend – totally transparent with your emotions. “After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.” (1 Sam. 20:41) To kiss one another was a common expression of love and greeting in the ancient world and Hebrew culture among fathers and sons and male friends and is seen throughout the Old and New Testament. This verse and David’s statement in 2 Sam. 1:26 only shows the depth of godly love that these two godly men shared.

A true friend is a continual source of encouragement in the Lord: “Now David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. T hus he said to him, "Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next (second) to you; and Saul my father knows that also." (1 Sam. 23:15-18)

*In the discussion questions, see five things needed for a deepening friendship.

Jesus is the greatest Friend of all friends:

He sacrificed: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus sacrificed Himself and made a covenant with us, stripped (emptied) Himself of His heavenly glory and robed us in His righteousness. He gave us the belt of truth, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit – heavenly armor and weapons to fight the good fight of faith. (Phil 2:7; Eph. 6:14-16)

He stands up for us : Jesus defends us against the lies of the world, the devil and the flesh:. “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Rom.8:34)

He sympathizes with our deep emotions : “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

He encourages us: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thess. 2:16)

Do you have a Jonathan in your life? Are you willing to be a Jonathan for your friend? God calls us to this kind of friendship: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Phil. 2:3-5)


“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Eccl. 4:8-10­) Do you have a Jonathan in your life? Are you willing to be a Jonathan for your friend? Does busyness keep you from having this kind of friendship as it does for the “man all alone” in the passage above? Discuss your answer.

Ken Boa has outlined five things needed for a deepening friendship:


Which of these five things may be a barrier to building deep friendships with a few men in your life?

Do you feel you live out the passage in Philippians below in any of your relationships?

Do you feel that you are or want to be this kind of friend to Jesus? A friend who sacrifices for Him, defends Him, feels His deep emotions (Phil 3:10), etc .? “ The King (Jesus) will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” (Matt. 25:40) Discuss your answer.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25) It is in doing God’s Word, not in just hearing it, that we are blessed. What action will you take to apply these truths to your life?

Scripture memory verse: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:3-5)

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