He Calls Him Friend
50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus
and took Him.
After what you can argue is the worse betrayal in history, especially done by a kiss as we mentioned last week, it is shocking to see how Jesus reacts. From one extreme to the other, we see hate combated with love.
Every word that Jesus ever spoke here on this earth was never just an accident or off the cuff. Being the Son of God and having to be on mission his entire life, Jesus always thought before he spoke. That is why his response is so amazing. As Judas betrays him, Jesus calls him friend.
There are people in this world that relish the comeback line. There are people who actually take time to practice and think of responses when they are insulted. Others angrily grumble, only thinking of a good response after the fact.
Jesus is completely different from those types of people. He knew exactly why Judas was there. He knew that he was being betrayed to his death and yet it didn’t change his heart or perception of Judas. Jesus still loved him. He still considered him a friend, until the very end.
How quickly we can lose or give up on friends. When someone wrongs us, especially someone close, he hurts very deeply. Make no mistake, Jesus felt that hurt. While we could easily reject and turn our back on someone like Judas in our lives, Jesus still embraces them in friendship.
Judas is never given a chance to respond to Jesus’ question, instead being taken by the guards and chained up. We know from the Bible that Judas was a broken man after this event. One has to wonder if Jesus’ words of love actually only added to his turmoil that ultimately led to his death. How strangely an evil heart can react to a loving one.
We are told to be like Christ. We are told to follow his example. Has your relationship with Christ and your transformation of character allowed you to go this far? Are you able to forgive and love a friend who has wronged you? If Jesus could call Judas friend, should we not also be able to do the same? May God help you in this work.
Pr. Steven Couto