I happened to be reading a book last night entitled Jesus On Trial, and I came to chapter 3 wherein the author discussed about Jesus’ arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane. He quoted the passage of Matthew chapter 26 verses 48-50. It read (Let me start with verse 47):
47 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.
48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”
49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested Him.
Judas, one of His disciples, had conspired with the Romans and Jewish councils to take Jesus into custody. He wasn’t just a disciple of Jesus. Judas was considered as His friend. A sound proof of it was Jesus’ response in verse 50.
Jesus called him “friend”.
As I was reading, tears involuntarily welled-up my eyes. I was brought to tears at how Jesus reacted to such a circumstance. With the ever-first-word He had spoken, “friend”, I felt that it had been said in the sincerest and most loving way. I felt the streams of love rushing out of his mouth. I was captivated…
I gazed into that word and wondered how Jesus had spoken it with grand profundity. I also could not help but think of how Judas most probably felt as he heard the word, and the rest of Jesus’ reply, coming out from the very mouth of the Son of God—the Sinless Man—that he has sold for thirty pieces of silver.
It was as if I was transported back in time. It seemed like I was standing on the same ground that they were, feeling the sad sigh of the late-night breeze on my skin, sensing the tension all around me. I felt like I was Judas… And there I was, giving Jesus a peck on the cheek, sending the Roman soldiers a signal to seize Him.
I have betrayed my Friend!
I have sold Him to the hands of a bunch of blood-thirst men! Am I not a blood-thirst myself?
Oh, what have I done?
I looked back on Jesus; I saw His eyes, filled with so much pain but with an unfathomable love as well. I heard His voice form the words, “Friend, do what you came for.”
My heart twisted. I was wrenched hard deep inside. I have traded Him and cannot save Him from dying anymore, because it was meant so as He could save me from the eternal claws of death itself!
As He uttered the word “friend”, I knew He was also saying, “I forgive you… I love you… And I will die for you…”
A moment of silence… I wept. I prayed…
How vast is His love that He manages to call us His friends, His children? We are even unworthy of the words!
Even up to the last hours of His humanity on earth, Jesus had shown a great example on how to treat a friend truthfully. He succumbed to death at a betrayal of a friend, and yet He still loved the person anyway.
Another tug in my already besieged heart… I realized I was not treated by my friends in the perfect way He did. Nor did I ever really treat my friends in that same way.
I flipped through the pages of my Bible, my hands shaking and my eyes wet with tears, and I felt Jesus speaking directly through it. Here’s what I found…
Colossians 3: 12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
1 John 3: 15, 16 “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer… This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
John 15: 12-14 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
Luke 17: 3-4 “…If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
And here’s one of my favorite verses ever since (a good friend has shared this to me back in my grade school days):
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times.”
My Beloved Jesus, my Greatest Friend… He never fails to keep me whole and remind me of things that I often forget.
Let me also share and end with these quotes that never leave my heart:
“If you want a friend, be a friend yourself first.”
“A true friend never mistreats a friend.”