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Luke 22.47-62
‘He drew near to Jesus to kiss him.’ (v. 47)

Jesus and his friends: the friends who had fallen asleep and failed to watch and pray with him in Gethsemane; friend Judas, leading the crowd coming to arrest the Lord, makes to kiss Jesus in friendship; friend Peter, watching as Jesus is seized and dragged away, follows at a distance and denies Jesus three times.

A major change in life and lifestyle can be echoed in the important relationships in our lives. Our role as a partner or parent may have been turned upside down; those we had truly thought were lifelong friends may cease to be part of our lives; if we are single or live alone, the burden of caring for ourselves may be a bitter experience if those who were once close are now nowhere to be seen, or only appear on their own terms.

Judas and Peter did not understand the full picture, the context: all that Jesus was going through and was still to go through. Their response was tempered by the narrowness of their own experience and understanding, and, of course, by their human frailty. Jesus’ experience of his friends was Judas drawing close in betrayal and Peter withdrawing to a distance in denial.

Closeness and distance. In the closeness were disloyalty and a handing over to those who condemned and judged Jesus; in the distance were fear, weakness and self-preservation. Jesus knew both friendship and loss of friendship. He experienced love, hate and indifference at the hands of others. If illness has drawn near to us to kiss us in this way, or if it has pushed our friends to the distance of fear and self-preservation, it is normal to feel angry and hurt. But if we stay in that knotted emotion, it is not just friendship we lose, but something of ourselves. Jesus wants us to reclaim our dignity and our sense a sustaining, ever-present of self, and to find in him friendship.

Lord God of closeness and intimacy, You watch and wait with me in my need; Kiss my soul with your presence, Touch my emotions with your mercy, And close the distance between us, That in finding you I may find myself. 

Webpage icon Bartimaeus
Webpage icon Humiliation
Webpage icon Levi
Webpage icon Rejection
Webpage icon Trust