It is during the hours at Gethsemane, as we watch the humanity of Jesus, that we see the need of friendship rise to the level of poignancy. Arriving at Gethsemane, Jesus separated three of His friends to share in a deeper way the trial that awaited Him. How very human it is that the Son of God, who so frequently called Himself the son of Man, would need the cushioning, surrounding love of friends when facing His most difficult hour. “And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:37–38).
None of us can underestimate the importance of our own friendship. The Savior, in particular, understood this basic truth of life. One need only think of His continued return to Bethany seeking the comfort of Mary and Martha during the last week of His life, and His deep appreciation and acceptance of Mary’s anointing gift. At the Last Supper He spoke of his friendship with His chosen Twelve. At this most critical time they were not anointed, called, and chosen ministers or authorities, they were friends. This meant the most to Him. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends. . . . Henceforth I call you not servants . . . but I have called you friends” (John 15:13-15). It was for his friends that Christ would die. His love for them and their love for Him provided the much-needed courage to face the suffering that awaited Him.