While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”
Under the same circumstances, if the word "friend" came from my lips it would be dripping with sarcasm and bitterness. Jesus knew for certain why Judas was there. Jesus knew for certain that the next hours would bring excruciating physical and spiritual pain as He was beaten and whipped and lied about and subjected to a farce of a trial and wrongly convicted and brutally executed. Jesus knew these things. Jesus was also consciously aware of the hours, days and years He had spent personally pouring into Judas' life. Jesus understood that He had given Judas every opportunity to grow in grace and knowledge and truth, to do the right things, to be the right kind of person. Jesus clearly felt the sting of betrayal. And yet He called Judas "friend."
Judas problem was not that God hated him and abandoned him and cast him away; it was more that he never quite grasped the love of a friend and chose to walk away. He left Jesus while Jesus called him "friend."
This shows me something of the character of God and it gives me hope. After all these years of walking with Jesus, I still sometimes get lost in selfishness and wrong thinking. Treating others with dignity and grace is still somewhat awkward and forced. Love is not always my first instinct. I still struggle with doubts and fears and issues of all sorts. I am often not the man that other people think I am, let alone the man that God desires me to be. And yet, in spite of myself, I have no problem believing that Jesus calls me His friend.
Lord Jesus, You know I love You; help me love You more.