Did Jesus Have Friends Who Were Not His Followers?
The primary narrative and teaching within Christianity is that a person is “saved” only if certain conditions are met.
They accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior
They get baptized in water
They join a religious organization, subject themselves to the rules, and regulations as a part of the indoctrination (Bible study, attending meetings, making a dedication, etc)
All of the above.
Some of the above.
NOTE: Jesus taught at Matthew 10:22 that salvation into eternal life does not come until one has successfully and faithfully endured through a period of trials (testing) and tribulation called the Great Tribulation. Thus, for anyone to claim that they are saved (present tense) would be in error. No one today is saved.
Little is known of the childhood and adolescent years of Jesus’ life. It would be unreasonable to believe that he had no friends as a child and that he never got into mischief. The same would apply to his adolescent years: He would have had friends and companions his own age. Perhaps, girlfriends. We do not know.
We do know that Jesus had friends who were not his followers. We know that Jesus mingled with persons who were considered undesirables and sinners by the people back then. Unlike the many religious organizations today, we know that Jesus never shunned or condemned anyone. He practiced his own “Love your enemies” teaching.
There is a vast departure within religious organizations today who claim to follow him in the practice that teaching. Their motto is “Either you are with us or you are against us.”
While many within them are adept at putting on pretentious smiles and showing loving concern for those outside their organizations, yet it is superficial.
All of them place conditions on God’s free-gift in the giving of His Son to the world of mankind. Thus, making that gift not free.
Don’t believe me? Listen to the many who claim they are saved or are members of a religious organization. You will see the fine print and learn how they really view you. Within the WTBTS, if you are not a baptized (in water) Jehovah’s Witness you are a worldly person who – in that state – have no hope of eternal life and will perish. Within other religious organizations within Christendom, if you are not saved; have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior; or are not a born-again Christian, you will enter into eternal hellfire as punishment. Something Jesus never spoke of.
Yet, there are examples of Jesus never condemning anyone to places of eternal torment. There are examples of Jesus helping and showing kindness to those who were not his followers. There are examples of Jesus showing loving concern for those who persecuted him and who would put him to death. There are examples of Jesus having a close friend who he loved so much that at his death, he wept.
The religious system Christianity and the organizations within them conduct themselves just the opposite as Jesus with regards the masses in the world who Jesus viewed as sheep without a Shepherd. This is not surprising to me as Jesus warned us that his kingdom is no part of this world.
No one of importance. A disciple (student) of Christ apart from the established religious systems who reasons, thinks and concludes matters for myself. Something is not right with the state of religion in the world. The real dichotomy is that we live in a world so full of religion, yet is an evil, immoral, and dangerous place to live. A mental and spiritual separation from this world that Jesus said his kingdom is no part of is the first step to a "break-through" to freedom and entry into a much larger spiritual world where God and Christ resides and the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God can be accessed.