Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Friend or Betrayer?



Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. (Matthew 26:48-50 NKJV)


What are the Characteristics of a Friend?

The definition of a friend usually involves the word loyalty.  Loyalty assumes your friend is one you can trust.  A friend is honest with you. Usually it goes without saying that friends like each other.  If we were to use the language of some of the detectives on TV, we would say that a friend is one who “has your back.”  They protect and support you even when you don’t know that you need to be protected and supported.  They defend you from the criticism of others.  How many of us can say that we have friends like that?  How many of us are friends like that to others and to the Lord?


King David and Hushai

David had a friend in Jonathan, Saul’s son.  Jonathon defended David when Saul wanted to kill him.  He “had David’s back.”  But David also had a friend in Hushai.  He helped David defeat Absalom when Absalom tried to take David’s place on the throne.  Again he “had David’s back.”  He proved his loyalty. 


The Lord and Judas

Judas pretended to be the Lord’s friend and the Lord even called him a friend.  I know there are differences of opinion as to just when Judas left the upper room the night when the Lord kept that last Passover with His disciples.  But in reading and re-reading the events in the Gospels, I cannot be sure if Judas was there when the Lord instituted the memorial feast that we call communion but which is more appropriately called the Lord’s supper.  But I am reasonably sure that he was still there when the Lord washed the disciple’s feet.  Judas was given all the same power and privileges that the other disciples were given when they were commissioned to be his apostles.   Apparently he was able to cast out unclean spirits and to heal diseases.  Did the Lord know that Judas was a traitor?  Of course He did!  But I don’t think that made his treachery as a friend any easier to bare.  I am convinced that the Lord wanted the friendship of Judas just as much as He wanted the friendship of the other eleven apostles.  But of course Judas was self-centered.  He was a thief.  He never “had the Lord’s back.”  Friendship should be mutual.  But in Judas’ case it wasn’t.   The Lord was Judas’ friend but Judas was not the Lord’s friend.


Publicans and Sinners

The Lord was criticized for being the friend of publicans (tax collectors) and sinners.  Since we are all sinners, the Lord was actually being criticized for being the friend of those that the religious leaders called sinners.  This probably included some who were known for immoral lifestyles.  It certainly included the Samaritan woman who was not only a woman who had had numerous husbands but she was living with a man who was not her husband when the Lord met her in John 4.  She was also from the wrong heritage–she was a Samaritan whom the Jews despised.  But I think when all was said and done there was a mutual friendship between her and the Lord.  The Lord pointed out her sin and she realized He was the Messiah.  As a result, she became an evangelist.  I am sure that there was a bond that developed between her and the Lord.  We know a woman who was considered a sinner anointed the Lord with an alabaster box of ointment in Luke 7.  The Lord made friends of those that were unlovable.  We who are truly believers or trustors in the Lord Jesus are called his friends in John 15:15.  But we are only His friends if the friendship is mutual.  He died for us and we guard His truth (or keep His commandments).


Who is Really the Lord’s Friend today?

Having Judas reject Him as a friend must have hurt the Lord greatly when the Lord did everything possible to obtain Judas’ loyalty.  Now I know that the Lord knew how the story would end, but that doesn’t mean that the Lord’s desire to have a friendship with Judas wasn’t real.  But I wonder how many of us have treated the Lord like Judas treated Him?  We may company with real Christians, we may preach the Gospel with power, we may do a lot of good for others but are we really doing it for us or are we doing it for the Lord?  I am convinced there are many people today who like Judas are simply using the Lord and who have never really loved the Lord.  I suppose some of them might actually be saved but many of them are total hypocrites and they know it.  I don’t suppose that the other disciples really realized that they had a traitor in their company until the Lord pointed it out in the upper room when they kept the Passover supper.  He tried to tell His disciples that one of them was a devil in John 6:70, but I personally don’t think that they "got it." 


Christians should not be critical, so it is hard to recognize a Judas until they do something drastic that demonstrates their true heart’s condition.  But we need to recognize that there are people like that destroying the true beauty of the Gospel today.  They are not like Peter who admitted his mistake in denying the Lord but who was really the Lord’s friend all the time and all the way.  These people who are the Judas’s amongst us know what they are doing and we need to pray that we who are true disciples, do not encourage them in their evil plans to destroy the Gospel and the reputation of the Lord.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of June 10, 2018

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