Fully Known and Yet Fully Loved: He Calls Me Friend

Guys!  My mind is blown!  Over the past few weeks I have been studying the book of Matthew and today I was reading about the betrayal of Jesus found in chapter 26.  I grew up in the church and have racked up plenty of time hearing and reading about the betrayal of Jesus but I have never paid much attention to the tiny little detail that the Lord pointed me towards during my current reading.

It's one of the things I have come to love most about scripture.  It's living and breathing and it never ceases to reveal the Lord.  Each time we study we learn a little more about our Father's character, about who He is!  It just fills me with so much gratitude and I am so excited to share with you what was revealed to me today!

"Jesus, friend of sinners"  

We've all heard the phrase about a thousand times before but what is it that gives that statement weight?  We know that Jesus ate with tax collectors, mingled with adulterers, and called upon 12 non religious men to aid him in his ministry.  He was and is completely counter culture to the religious standards of the time.  He loved the broken and the weak, the seemingly hard to love.  He challenged the limits of human love and set for us a better example.

Though the above are all great examples of Jesus' love for us there is one thing that makes me feel it a little deeper and it comes from the night that Jesus was betrayed by one of his own.

It begins like this:

"Then he came to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and resting?  See, the time is near.  The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up; let's go.  See, my betrayer is near.' While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived.  A large mob with swords clubs was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people.  His betrayer had given them a sign:  'The man I kiss, he's the one; arrest him.' So immediately he went up to Jesus and said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed him."  - Matthew 26:45-49

Now pay attention to how Jesus responds to Judas 

"'Friend," Jesus asked him, 'why have you come?' Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested him." - Matthew 26:50

This is THE biggest betrayal in all of human history and yet Jesus doesn't respond in anger, he doesn't respond by exclaiming what Judas once was but no longer is.  No, he calls Judas friend, present tense.  

Though anger was absent I can imagine the tone of heartbreak that would have been detectable in his voice as he uttered the word, "friend." Jesus not only experienced physical pain during his crucifixion but every kind of pain laced throughout the human condition.  Contempt, humiliation, loss, and most of all betrayal from someone he loved and trusted.  I don't know about you but I would have drawn the line at betrayal and I probably would have responded to Judas a bit differently.  Even as they dragged me off I can think of a few things that I could have done or said to make Judas feel my anger, to make it really sting.

But thankfully, that's not our Jesus.

Here's the thing about that moment that absolutely fills me with awe and wonder towards our savior.  In that moment he still loved Judas and he loved him until he took his last breath.  It's almost as if in those last words that Jesus spoke to Judas he was pleading with him.  He wanted him to know how loved he was and that the blood that was about to be shed would cover the sin that he had just committed.  He was pleading for Judas to seek repentance and that should he seek it he would be forgiven.

Guys!  I can't even handle it!  This is the highest form of love that our father has for you and I!  That through such betrayal he not only continued on towards the cross but did so by using every last moment to show his agape love for mankind.

If you don't know, Judas' story goes on to have a harrowing end as in his shame and regret he hanged himself.

Though we may not be on the same level as Judas we have all betrayed the Lord in one way or another, I would even go on to say that most of us struggle with sin daily.  And how many of us get so stuck in our shame that we fall deaf to the voice of Jesus?

"Friend, I have covered you."

When we miss his voice we miss our freedom.

There is another man, who on the same night denied Jesus three times.  Peter.  Scripture says that when the rooster crowed Peter realized his betrayal and wept bitterly as he entered into his own shame and remorse.  But Peter's story doesn't end there.  Let's go to Mark 16:5-7.

"When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed.  'Don't be alarmed,' he told them.  'You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  Come and see the place where they laid Him.  But go and tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as he told you.'"

and Peter 

After his resurrection, Jesus paid special attention to Peter because He knew the agony that he had caused himself.  He wanted to ensure that Peter knew that he was loved and that he was forgiven.  I believe with all of my heart that had Judas still been alive Jesus would have called for His disciples and Peter and Judas.

Peter went on to be reconciled with Christ and it's Christ's love that strengthened him to go on to fulfill his calling.

I am so in awe of Jesus' tender attentiveness towards His two disciples.  Both Peter and Judas were fully known in all of their sin yet they both remained fully loved.  You simply cannot escape Christ's love for you but like Peter, you have to choose to receive it.

There's a saying that I absolutely love and it goes something like this:  "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."  I believe that it perfectly sums this all up.  There is nothing that you have done that hasn't been covered in crimson.

Receive the sacrifice and stay attentive to His voice, He is calling you, friend.


  1. It’s so precious to truly grasp His awesome love for us!

  2. I know! Isn't it just so so amazing! We are truly so loved!

  3. it's amazing to think how loved we are, despite all of our short comings. The amount of unconditional love He has for us is something I will never be able to fathom.

    1. Even when we are in our darkest moments He is calling us out in love! It's beyond my comprehension!

  4. So well said! It's crazy to think about how much God loves us and how much he willing dies and gives up just to save us. We serve such an incredible God!