That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies. Luke 23:12

When I read this verse, I was reminded of the phrase, “what strange bedfellows.” I looked up this expression and discovered the following: “If two people or groups make strange bedfellows, they are connected in a particular activity though they are very different and would not usually have the same opinions or be seen together.”

Herod and Pilate’s unlikely alliance is also referred to in Acts 4:27 “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.”

People become friends when they have something in common. The particular activity that connected Herod and Pilate was the conspiracy against Jesus. Their common problem with Jesus overrode their racial, religious and political differences. However, basing a friendship on a common difficulty is not a good way to have a lasting relationship.

In the Gospels, Jesus is described as the “friend of sinners”. He had numerous friends. There were Mary, Martha and Lazarus; he was an invited guest at the wedding in Cana; he was friends with the owner of the upper room; as well as the 12 disciples. Jesus was also able to make friends that overrode racial, religious and political differences but his friendships had the common ground of love and respect.

The Bible teaches us how to build friendships with numerous passages telling us how to treat each another: be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32); bear with each other and forgive one another (Colossians 3:13) etc.

If we want good friendship within our community of believers, we are to follow Jesus’ example of building relationships based on love and respect.