• Trey Harper

Friend

It is a cold early April night. Guards have come to arrest your friend, a man you believe to be God’s Messiah. You have been trying for the past couple of hours to pray, but you keep dozing off. Your friend has been looking anxious and nervous, now you know why. They have torches and clubs; soldiers and thugs, and now you are sure of the reason your friend had you buy a sword. You may be tired and outnumbered, but your ancestors have won against worse odds in the past.

You survey the mob, hand on the hilt. Perhaps you say to yourself in a wishful prayer for luck, “keep your hands up Moses”. One of your colleagues calls to your friend, “shall we strike with the sword?” But they are late in asking; your blade is already gleaming in the moonlight. To yourself you affirm: “With contact the first man’s head will roll, for no one will harm God’s Messiah while I draw breath. Angels are set in charge over Him- may they guide my blade!” Your conviction is sure and your arm strong. But this sword is much different than the filet knife you used growing up to clean fish. Your lack of practice is revealed when, instead of a head, only an ear lays at the feet of your target.

“No more of this!” your friend screams in the darkness. He gathers His tunic and bends to pick up the ear. With unknown power, reattached is the ear to that which you intended to remove entirely. What is happening? Why are we not fighting? As your friend is lead away you follow. Ready for God to empower you, like Samson, or Joshua, or Shamgar!

But it is cold. And you are tired, it is nearing morning. You warm yourself by a fire on one side of the court while across the way another kind of a court is being played out. Suddenly, those standing around you point at you, accusing- “that guy is your friend!” You deny the allegations, repeatedly, swearing to gods that you are not!

Then the conviction is heard. Not a gavel, not a foreman proclaiming, “guilty!”, but the shrill song of a rooster rings out clearly through the morning air. You try not to look, but you must. And your friend looks at you. You who were so faithful and full of conviction just hours ago. In those moments you were fully devoted to your friend. What happened to His friend?