My Song is Love Unknown: My Friend Indeed
Midweek Lent 3
My Song is Love Unknown: My Friend Indeed
Text: Matthew 26:47-50a
What was Judas thinking? As he walked down that dusty road to the Garden of Gethsemane leading a raucous rabble sent from the chief priests, what was he thinking? How many times before had he been in Gethsemane with Jesus while he was quietly praying and meditating? How many times had he walked on that very path with Jesus as he was preaching and teaching? How many times had he been warned by Jesus about the Pharisees and chief priests, the group he now sided with?
What was Judas thinking earlier that Thursday evening in the Upper Room? What did he think as the friend and teacher he agreed to betray stooped down and washed his dirty feet? What did he think when he realized Jesus knew that his heart was just as dirty as his feet? He was warned by Jesus. He was called out as the one who would hand him over. The other disciples didn’t understand what Jesus meant. But Judas knew. He knew that Jesus knew. But yet he didn’t stop. What was he thinking as he ran out of that room and left Jesus and his disciples behind?
What was Judas thinking as he entered Gethsemane? Was a mob of some 100-200 soldiers really necessary? Was Jesus that dangerous? Was that prearranged signal of the kiss really necessary? Did he think he was going to pull this off somehow without the other eleven disciples knowing what he was doing? Was that a cover up for his shameful actions? Did he think that greeting with a kiss would smooth things over with Jesus?
What was Judas thinking as he walked up to Jesus? The signal wasn’t even necessary. The apostle John tells us that Jesus identified himself to the crowd. They already knew he was Jesus. Judas didn’t have to give his signal.
What was Judas thinking then as he approached Jesus? What did he think as he looked Jesus in the eyes and felt the Son of God peering down into his soul? Why did he greet Jesus that way? “Greetings, Rabbi!” Was he trying to pretend everything was normal? Was this the best greeting he could muster? Was Jesus just a teacher to him? Did he even think about saying he was sorry quickly before Jesus was arrested?
What was Judas thinking as he then leaned in to give the normal greeting of a kiss on the cheek? He didn’t do it only once either. The word kissed here actually indicates that he showered Jesus with kisses. Why so many of these friendly kisses? Was he trying to make himself feel better? Was it meant to be some sort of apology, the best he could offer? Or was he just buying time distracting Jesus while the mob moved in for the arrest?
What was Judas thinking as he chose this warm, loving greeting as the signal? A kiss? Of all things, he had to choose a kiss? He thought it would be a good idea to use the friendliest of expressions to betray his truest friend?
And all this for money? Thirty pieces of silver wasn’t that much. Was he really that poor? Was ministry with Jesus really that bad? Did he really love money that much? How could he betray the Son of God for instant gratification? What was Judas thinking?!
What are we thinking? What are we thinking as we walk down countless paths to countless sins? How many times has Jesus warned us? How many times has Jesus warned us about the danger of this sin or that sin? How many times has Jesus warned us to watch out for hate or lust or greed (just to name a few)? How many times has Jesus warned us to watch out for Satan who is prowling around and looking for someone to devour?
What are we thinking when we sin? Do we think that no one notices? Do we think that no one will ever find out? Do we think that even if we do things in private that Jesus doesn’t know? Do we think that we can cover it up and get away with it? Maybe if we act Christian enough or go to church enough no one will notice what we do? Maybe if we put on enough of a fake façade no one will think about what’s hidden on the inside? What are we thinking when we realize and know that Jesus knows what we are really like—and yet we don’t stop?
What are we thinking when we approach Jesus with such greetings, calling upon him in worship or in prayer? We address him as Savior, as Lord, as friend. But how can we say such things when just hours or even minutes before that we had filth pouring off our lips? What are we thinking as we come before Jesus in worship or in prayer and know that he peers down to the deepest recesses of our hearts and knows everything we have ever said or done?
What are we thinking as we chase after temporary gratification? Is the satisfaction of telling that lie, shouting that curse, sharing that gossip—is that really worth it? Is that temporary feeling of happiness really worth indulging in our deplorable desires? Does a little bit of pleasure justify such outrageous sin? Is accumulating money and possessions and “things” really worth hoarding them and stealing them from God who gave them all to us? Is that little bit of worldly money or possessions or enjoyment really worth handing over our hearts to greed and gluttony? What are we thinking as we betray the Son of God, our truest friend, for a bit of instant gratification? What are we thinking?
Judas wasn’t much of a friend to Jesus. But I haven’t been either. I am every bit of a money-loving, wishy-washy, deceitful, shameful traitor as Judas was.
So My Song is Love Unknown. My Song is Unknown Love of a Friend Indeed who gave Judas another chance. Jesus warned Judas in the Upper Room at the Last Supper. He didn’t expose or embarrass Judas in front of all of his friends. He tactfully warned Judas and gave him an opportunity to repent.
Now he gave Judas another chance. After Judas gave him the hypocritical greeting and showered him with phony kisses, Jesus greeted him as, “Friend.” But this was not the word for a dear friend that is close to you. This word for friend Jesus used really means “comrade” or “companion.” In today’s language Jesus might have said, “Buddy, Pal, do what you came for.” It was a stark and sharp contrast to how he normally would have addressed Judas. It was meant to jar him to his senses. Jesus was giving Judas a wakeup call and an opportunity repent.
My Song is Love Unknown of My Friend Indeed who gives me a second chance . . . and a third chance . . . and a fourth chance . . . and countless chances thereafter. Patiently Jesus gives me warnings when I read his Word, when I study, when I worship, through friends. At times Jesus sharply rebukes me for my sin in an attempt to jar me to my senses. My Song is Love Unknown of My Friend Indeed who lovingly calls me to repent of my sins and turn back to him.
My Song is Love Unknown of a Friend Indeed who willingly subjected himself to degradation and suffering. Jesus could have blasted Judas to highest oblivion right then and there. He could have called down a sulfurous firestorm of epic proportions to turn Judas to toast like Sodom and Gomorrah of old. Yet willingly Jesus suffered the humiliation of being betrayed by his friend. Willingly Jesus curbed his divine power and allowed a few Roman soldiers to arrest him while an army of millions of angels stood by and watched. Willingly Jesus allowed this treacherous plot to unfold.
My Song is Love Unknown of My Friend Indeed who remains patient with me every day. Surely lightning bolts ought zip down from the heavens and zap me off the face of this planet. Surely the ground ought to quake and tear open, swallowing me down to the depths of hell.
But My Song is love Unknown of My Friend Indeed who willingly was betrayed, willingly suffered, and willingly died for Judas, for you, for me. We are the betrayers, he was the betrayed. We are the sinners, he was the sinned against. We are the guilty, he was the innocent.
Yet he is the one accused, not I. He is the one who suffered, not I. He is the one who died, not I. My Song is Love Unknown of My truest Friend Indeed.
This love of our friend, Jesus, is truly unknown. We cannot understand how he could possibly forgive Judas. We cannot understand how he could possibly forgive us. Such great sin, yet such greater forgiveness!
Judas didn’t believe. His sin and guilt seemed too great. So he took his own life.
But we do believe it though. This may be unknown love, but it comes from My Friend Indeed. I haven’t done too much. I’m not too guilty. I’m not too sinful. My Friend Indeed died for it all. He took away it all. He forgives it all.
I have not always been the greatest friend to him, but he has always been and will always be the greatest friend to me.
My song is love unknown, My Savior’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown That they might lovely be.
He came from his blest throne Salvation to bestow,
But such disdain! So few The longed-for Christ would know!
But oh, my friend, My friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend!
My Song is Love Unknown of Jesus, My Friend Indeed.
Posted on February 28, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Betrayal, Church, Friend, Jesus, Judas, Kiss, Last Supper, Lent, My Song is Love Unknown, Sermons, Unknown Love, Upper Room. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.