“And Jesus said to [Judas] “Friend” Matthew 26:50
Some people who are badly beaten up by life wonder why they seek to serve God. “After all how can He love me and I still get into a mess like this?” It is easy to get discouraged when we seek to do good and all that we receive in return is evil. How can we think of ourselves as beloved by the Lord when He is so distant from us in our needy moments?
If you are someone who has sought to serve the Lord in life and you have the notion that you are not loved by God take heart. You need a view of how extensive the love of Jesus is in order to be affirmed in your faith.
Perhaps the most infamous person in history is the apostle of Jesus called Judas Iscariot. He is commonly recognized as a scoundrel of the first order. The idea of betraying the one who has benefited you so much seems particularly horrible. We read of children who abandon their parents in old age.
I have visited some elderly people in seniors’ residences whose children never connect with them. It seems tragic that the ones who gave the children life and paid all their bills for many years, caring for them in sickness, etc., could be cast away. The human heart is indeed sinful enough that people can forget the ones who first loved and nurtured them.
So when we come to the situation of Judas we are stunned to think that he could betray the One who loved him so much He gave him the same blessings in ministry that the other eleven apostles had. Jesus honoured Judas above the others by giving him responsibility for the money collected to fund the little band. At the Last Supper Jesus gave Judas the honour of having the sop which was reserved for a very special person at the feast.
After all the privileges Jesus bestowed on him, Judas was able to sell Jesus for the price of a slave and actively seek an opportune time to do the act of betrayal. You see in our text that in spite of all the evil of Judas’ life, evil such as stealing from the treasury of the group (John 12:6), being a hypocrite and a traitor, Jesus called him friend.
How can you call a person “Friend” when he has just sold you out? How can you speak kindly to someone determined to destroy you? How do you find it in you to even speak civilly to such a disgusting person? Well, Jesus loves sinners and regardless of how terribly they use and abuse Him, He is willing to call them “Friend.”
So if you have tried to serve Jesus, knowing that you have been a poor Christian in many ways, yet you seek to honour Him in your life you have a lot to remember from our text. Your motives are good. You desire to serve the Lord. Perhaps you feel you have not done as you ought, well remember Judas. He was actively evil and bent on ending Jesus’ mission, yet Jesus called him “Friend.”
If Jesus could be so kind at such a moment to such an evil person, how much kinder and loving will He be to you in your trauma. You who seek to honour Jesus, not destroy Him, imagine the tender words of affection He has reserved for you. Jesus’ love for Judas was amazing to let Him call Judas by such a gentle name. The loving and tender words He has for you are beyond amazing, they are unspeakably wonderful. Go enjoy the love of Jesus, you who seek His face.