1 Sam. 18:1,3 "As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. . . . Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul."
Jonathan and David became BFFs from the moment they met. This love they shared is another example of the type of love Jesus commands in John 13:34: a love through service, shown by thinking of the other first. While David needs no introduction, perhaps a brief one for Jonathan is a good idea.
Jonathan was the son of King Saul, and the heir presumptive (1 Sam. 20:31). He was a brave warrior, defeating a garrison of Philistines nearly single-handedly. (1 Sam. 14:1-15) He was a better leader than the king, whose order that no one eat until his enemies were destroyed, resulted in a weakened army that failed to rout the Philistines. Jonathan recognized the problem immediately. (1 Sam. 14:24-30) More importantly for a potential leader of God's people, Jonathan had a strong faith in Jehovah. 1 Sam. 14:6 "Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, 'Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.'” That's easy to say, but harder to put into practice when it means charging trained, armed soldiers. Jonathan set up a sign, and when God indicated that He had given victory, Jonathan climbed a nearly vertical rock face, jumped into a garrison of armed men, and smote God's foes. (1 Sam. 14: 9-13) Now that is faith! So, as a man of faith who was a brave warrior and natural leader, Jonathan's position as crown prince seemed secure.
There was only one problem: because of Saul's repeated sins (1 Sam. 13:8-14; 15:22-23) God had decided to remove the family of Saul from the throne. David had been anointed for kingship (chapter 16) and had won a position in the king's court (1 Sam. 17). Even though David's anointing had been in secret, his favor before God was soon evident. One might think that Jonathan would become jealous. He did not, but his father did:
1 Sam. 18:6-9 "As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on."
In fact, the remainder of 1 Samuel might be summed up as Saul trying to kill David, yet Jonathan remains loyal to his friend by advocating for David (1 Sam. 19:1-7), covering for David (20:5-8,28-29) and warning David (20:35-42).
How often have we read novels or seen movies in which two close friends enter politics or business and soon become rivals because the desire for position, power, and wealth over-rode the love they had for each other? It is nearly trite. Jonathan's love is revolutionary because that love over-rode self-interest. Jonathan's love for David outweighed his desire to become king, his desire to extend his father's dynasty, and his pride of person.
Seeing Jonathan's example, how dare we fight over issues which have nothing to do with scriptural concerns and everything to do with personal egos? The love which Jesus commands in John 13, which Paul teaches in Phil. 2, and which Jonathan demonstrates should rule our hearts. We should be looking out for the needs of others, rather than our own needs. We should be devoted to service.
Eph. 5:21 "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ."