April 1 – Friend or Unfriend
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?” He said, “Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover.
When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Thinking back to the start of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus hand-picked each of His Apostles. He didn’t call the wisest or most well-known, or even those who would follow Him blindly, but those who He knew would play the greatest role in His life and beyond. Anyone of the many disciples could have been easily His betrayer, but Jesus chose to keep the one who was going to hand Him over to His enemy in His inner circle. Jesus kept Judas as His friend and close to Him just like He keeps us close to Him even though we reject and betray Him by our sin. Even Peter, the one He chose to build His Church, betrayed Him by denying Him three times. If Jesus did not ‘friend’ everyone who has betrayed Him, He would be a pretty lonely guy. Jesus loves us so much that even though we may ‘unfriend’ Him, if we come back asking for forgiveness He will always ‘friend’ us again. Jesus is our one and only true friend who is always willing to forgive us for anything we may do to Him as long as we ask for forgiveness and work to change our sinful lives.
Looking at the behavior of friends, Judas is the friend we all fear having. He is the one who seems to be sincere in how he acts when together in a group and someone who seems to care about others, like the poor. He may be the one that is trusted with secrets, and in our inner circle. We may have really liked that person as a friend, and we don’t understand how he could have hurt us so badly. When we have friends like this, Jesus understands our pain and is there to bring us comfort. No one understands the hurt of being betrayed by a friend like Jesus does. A good lesson we can learn from Judas is what is not a friend. Do not be the ‘friend’ who betrays a friendship, who plots and conspires against another for personal gain or gossip behind their backs. We need to watch our own behavior and be a true friend to others. If we are participating in a false friendship, we should either break the connection now or choose to change our hearts and minds about that person. Follow the example of friendship through Jesus, not Judas.
Lent in Action:
Stop right now gossiping behind the back of a friend. Be a true friend.
Lord Jesus, You understand what it feels like to be betrayed by a close friend. Help me to watch out for those friends who may be looking to get me and allow me the opportunity show them who I am, a child of God. Help me to be a better friend to all who I know and love, including you Lord. Best friends forever! Amen.