"Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed him.
Jesus replied, 'Do what you came for, friend.'
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him." Matthew 26:49-50
If this is not the picture of patient, quiet, radical, faithful forgiveness and love....
Jesus calls his disciple who has betrayed him "friend."
The man he spent years with, long journeys, long nights, meals, lessons, ministry, life...this man who has handed him over to face an awful cruel death.
There is no worse thing for a friend to do to another. And there is no more amazing, compassionate, incredible thing to do than to still call them "friend."
Maybe it was to pierce his conscience: "Enough with the charade." "Remember who you are doing this too. We are friends." But even that is gracious too.
I think of how frustrated and indignant I become when someone criticizes me, when someone is rude while driving on the road, when someone doesn't consider my feelings, etc, etc, I wait to be patient in those scenarios...I pray to be brave and forgiving in those scenarios...I am far from ever being as still and faithful as Jesus is in this moment. "Do what you came for, friend."
I couldn't even respond like that in the heat of the moment...but Jesus not only is in the heat of the moment but he also knows EXACTLY what's about to happen. He knows CRUCIFIXION is ahead of him and yet he calls his betrayer "friend."
Judas is not his friend...but Jesus is his friend.
I am not his friend...but Jesus is my friend.
Lord, teach me to forgive as You have forgiven me so quickly, so radically, so faithfully, so truly. Help me be a friend to my enemies. And help me not feel so much fear even at praying that, for I don't want to.