Psalm 70 Isaiah 50:4–9a Hebrews 12:1–3 John 13:21–32
On this Wednesday of Holy Week, we recall the betrayal of Jesus by his friend Judas. Externally, Judas appeared to be the perfect friend to Jesus. He treated Jesus with all due respect and devotion, and his actions had the appearance of friendship. Yet they were not sincere, as Judas intended to—and did—betray his friend.
The same night Jesus revealed Judas’ betrayal, He gave the world a beautiful commandment: “Love one another.” As Judas was betraying Jesus, Jesus was offering the cure: love, the antithesis of Judas’ act of betrayal.
Jesus said his followers would be known to the world by their love. In Christian thought, the Greek word agape describes this love we should have for others. This love does not respond to the antecedent value of a person but instead unselfishly cares for the beloved friend. This is the love that God has for all persons and that we, as followers of Christ, must show our fellow man.
It is easy to pass judgment on Judas, but his story calls us to examine ourselves. Evaluate if you are being a good friend to others. Examine where you may fail to follow Jesus’ charge to love one another, and vow to improve. Try to avoid feigning intimacy like Judas did. As you reflect upon the Gospel reading, resolve that you will become a better friend to someone in your life. And remember: “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17).