Holy Week – Tuesday March 30 – DO WHAT YOU CAME FOR, FRIEND

 In Lenten Devotional

Holy Week


“14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
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, “Do what you came for, friend.”
– Matthew 26:14, 20-25, 47-50 (NIV)

Judas is one of the characters of the Passion story that I believe has been misunderstood over time. He is known as the man who gave up Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, or in our currency, around $200 US. Most of us would ask why would Judas give up Jesus for such a small amount? Certainly it would have provided for Judas at a time when he could have used the money. He knew that Jesus’ time was just about over (thanks to the religious leaders), and he thought he could take care of himself before everything went bad. However I don’t believe that Judas knew Jesus would be crucified. He was simply an opportunist who wanted to profit from his time as a disciple.

If we had the choice to select one of Jesus’ disciples to be a trusted friend, I can guarantee you that Judas would be picked last. I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t pick him because he is too much like us!

I can identify with Judas in many ways. I am sure there were times he was discouraged about what Jesus was doing. I am sure Judas wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman government and when it wasn’t happening, Judas decided to take things into his own hands.

But here’s the complication: without Judas, there is no resurrection.

Without Judas betraying Jesus, the events that needed to happen would have unfolded in a very different way.

In verse 50, Jesus speaks six very powerful words: “Do what you came for, friend”.

The one word that sticks in my throat is “friend”.

Jesus KNEW what Judas had done. It was no surprise. It was part of the plan. And the part that is most significant is that Jesus calls Judas “friend”.

Not betrayer.

Not the devil.

Not the evil one.

Jesus reminds Judas that he is a friend, and always will be.

Jesus knew Judas would be emotionally overwhelmed by Jesus’ death on a cross. Jesus knew that Judas would have incredible feelings of regret and remorse. In that one moment before everything changed, Jesus reminded Judas how he felt about him: he was His friend.

Friend. What kind of friend betrays you for $200 US?

In six words, Jesus reminds us that even those who are considered our enemies or those who are against us, need to be loved.

Judas played a crucial role in the Passion story and yet, few would call him a friend of Jesus. But Jesus makes it clear that Judas WAS His friend.

Who do you feel has betrayed you recently? Do you still hold onto feelings or grudges against this person? If Jesus can call the person who gave him up to the Sanhedrin a friend, then we can show mercy to those who have wronged us.

This is the Gospel message: Love God and love your neighbours as yourself.

During Holy Week, I want to invite you to follow the Jesus way and forgive those who have wronged you. This is not an easy task and is not one to be taken lightly. Forgive them (and if you can tell them in person then by all means do it), ask God to forgive them – and you for showing mercy – and move forward. In doing this, you honour God in the highest manner and show how much you truly love Him.

Love the Lord your God with all of your soul, mind and strength.

May your heart resonate with the beauty of God’s grace.

Walk your journey knowing you will be blessed as you forgive.

Your burdens will be lifted.

You can breathe again.

If you still feel you aren’t good enough to accept God’s grace and forgiveness, remember that He too called Judas His friend. He loves you. May the healing begin the week in your acts of forgiveness.

Do what you came for, friend.

You are Loved.

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