March 05, 2017

“Even My Close Friend”

Psalm 41:5-9; John 13:18-30

Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.

—  Psalm 41:9

In Psalm 41 we find David praying to God about the difficulties he was facing from political enemies. These were obvious enemies, those who were open about their malice against David and who gloated at each trouble he experienced.

Then David described another enemy that troubled him more. A friend who had shared his bread—someone who had sat at the same table for meals and who accepted food from David’s hand—had turned against him. This was a friend whom David had trusted and loved.

The Hebrew words of this verse can also be translated this way: “he has lifted up his heel against me.” This friend had stomped on David to crush him and to try to raise himself higher. In David’s experience, the worst hurt had come from one whom he had trusted, one who should have cared about him, a friend.

At his last supper with his followers, Jesus became very troubled. He quoted from Psalm 41: “He who shared my bread has turned against me.” Then Jesus offered bread once more to that friend.

Judas Iscariot took the bread from Jesus’ hand and ate it. And then he went out and betrayed Jesus.

You too have received good things from Jesus. How have you treated him in return? 

Jesus, divine, trusted, loving Friend, you also value human friendship, love, and trustworthiness, and you are troubled by its absence. Holy Spirit, make us true and lasting friends, to Jesus and to each other. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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