Matthew 26: 47-50: 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.”
It was dark in the olive grove. It was like a small forest just outside the city of Jerusalem. It is still there today, with ancient olive trees standing guardian over this place where Jesus prayed and where he was betrayed. With a dozen disciples it would have been easy for Jesus to slip away when he saw Judas coming and disappear in the darkness and the trees. That’s why Judas wanted to get close to Jesus, very close, so that the soldiers with him would not miss. He agreed to betray Jesus with a kiss, the act of a friend greeting a friend. It seems Judas had lost his conscience altogether, obscured by his greed and his love for money.
“Do what you came for, friend,” Jesus said. I don’t believe Jesus ever said a careless word in his life. I don’t think that Jesus was dismissing Judas with these words. He still loved him, as only one who really loved his enemies could. He tried to reach through the darkness of his soul to bring him to repentance even now, when he stood with the soldiers to arrest him.
Don’t ever think it is too late to repent. Don’t ever think that Jesus has dismissed you and cast you aside. Don’t ever think that the one who died for your does not want to be your friend for eternity. Paul wrote in Romans 5:10, “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray that I would never turn aside from you, that no earthly passion or obsession would ever cloud my conscience and harden my heart towards you! But I know how weak I am. Be my strength and my salvation! Be my friend for now and for eternity! I ask this in your name. Amen.