Judas walked with Jesus for three and a half years. He witnessed first hand the amazing miracles Jesus performed. He watched Jesus raise the dead, heal the sick, walk on water, and calm the seas. He saw the way Jesus extend grace and forgiveness to those considered less than desirable by the religious leaders of the day, such as the Samaritan woman and Zacchaeus.
In the end, what difference did it make in the life and heart of Judas?
For thirty pieces of silver, Judas led a group to Jesus' prayer spot
and with a kiss handed Him into the hands of His executioners. Judas
then watched Jesus tortured and eventually crucified. When Judas came
face-to-face with his betrayal of an innocent man, he hung himself. He
didn't understand the One he served beside all those years, and so he
didn't seek forgiveness. The Father freely offers it to all who seek it
in true repentance.
How often are we like Judas? Do we linger at the fringe of our
relationships and at the first sign of trouble bail from the situation?
Are we guarding our heart to prevent from being hurt, and as a result we
truly love no one?
In Jesus we see another way of doing friendship. Jesus selected Judas
as one of his friends. He gave Judas the opportunity to see firsthand
what it meant to be loved and accepted. Jesus knew what Judas was
capable of doing, but He still spent three and half years investing His
love into Judas' life.
Jesus lived out what it meant to be a loyal and faithful friend. When
push came to shove, Judas chose money over the One who had been his
friend. Even as the betrayal drew near, Jesus washed Judas' feet along
with the other disciples and served him the last supper. His kindness
made no difference to Judas' plot, but Jesus displayed unconditional
Peter blew it, too. He let Jesus down when he needed a friend beside
Him most of all. Even after seeing Jesus risen from the dead, Peter
decided to return to his previous vocation, fishing. He must have felt
worthless for being brought to such fear by a young girl to have denied
his Lord. Jesus understood the hurt friends cause us, but he went to
find Peter anyway. There beside the lake, Jesus reaffirmed Peter's value
for kingdom work.
What kind of friend are we? Do we really want to love like Jesus or do
we prefer playing it safe in our relationships? How much of an effort
are we willing to risk to know the heart of others?
Will we risk loving others no matter where they are at in life or do we
build walls too thick and high to allow ourselves to really get to know
others? When trouble comes and people behave in undesirable ways, how
do we respond? Jesus remained available even for those wounding
others, are we?