“And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?”
Judas Iscariot was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, it is strange, but there is no doubt about it: Jesus must have called him unto that office.
Its equivalent in the Old Testament is the fact that Esau was born first and had the birthright over Jacob.
Thinking and pondering about it, I thought that Judas must have sought the office, must have pressed himself upon Jesus at the beginning. I think that Judas saw “a good thing” in Jesus and His first popularity, founded on the wonderful things He said and did.
But even that consideration does not take away from the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ called him unto the office of Apostle.
Well, I think that both in the case of Esau and of Judas, God shows what happens when a man is brought as close as possible to salvation.
And what happens?
Esau esteems a plate of lentils more excellent than all the blessings of Jehovah.
And Judas esteems a handful of silver more to be desired than the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Judas was a crafty man; a man who figured things out: a man who was calculating and shrewd. He was a man who loved the things of this world, rather than the things of the Kingdom of God.
Judas was a traitor.
He was a very wicked man.
When he began to see that the cause of the Son of God was not popular anymore, he sought a way and means to divorce himself from Jesus. But even then, he did not choose the gentlemanly way, that is, he did not simply disappear.
But he showed his evil in two ways. First, he would make a pretty penny out of the mistake he had made in following Jesus; and, secondly, he would try and help destroy the silly movement of the Son of God.
And even in his betrayal he showed his affinity to the devil: the sign would be the kiss! “Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is He! Hold Him fast!”
Yes, it smells of sulfur here.
That man Judas of Iscariot was the friend of Jesus.
I would never have dared say it, but Jesus said: Friend, wherefore art thou come?
A friend is someone to whom you reveal your heart, and whose heart you know.
Listen to Jesus: “Henceforth I call ye not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” John 15:15.
Jesus is here talking to His intimates, His Apostles.
And God said to Himself: “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” Gen. 18:17. And evidently God did not hide it. And Abraham was called the friend of God.
Yes, Jesus had treated Judas as His friend, and Judasacted as the friend of Jesus to the very end, for when he saw Jesus in the light of the lanterns in the garden of Gethsemane he embraced the Son of God, kissed him and said: Hail, Rabbi, Master!
The filthy traitor!
Judas the traitor.
Even in the world the traitor is hated and despised.
After World War II many traitors were simply shot, hung, destroyed.
A traitor is a man who appears in the wrong places with the wrong people and with the wrong speech.
Watch him during the black night between Thursday and Friday.
He fit in with the eleven and with Jesus at the passover table. (Or did he?) It is difficult td determine the proper place and sphere of the traitor. At any rate, according to his former speech and conduct (except his, theft of the deacons’ money) he belonged with the miserable bunch that stuck around Jesus whose popularity was fast waning.
But now watch him that night.
After Jesus told him: That which thou doest do it quickly! He excuses himself and disappears. And the Holy Ghost tells us specifically: it was night.
And he walks through the silent, dark streets of Jerusalem and makes contact with the bitter enemies of Jesus. And then they covenanted with him. The price is set and the details are mapped out: Jesus is to be betrayed.
You note the wrong place, the wrong people, and the wrong talk? That is the traitor’s mark.
It is night: the proper atmosphere for the devil’s work.
Secret counsel with the enemy: A covenant with hell.
The sign of the kiss, and finally, the handful of silver pieces of money: the devil’s influence.
Do you also note that all the above is the very opposite of how a friend should act?
A real friend has sweet counsel with the other friends.
The most terrible thing is that kiss.
A kiss is the sign of love, of reconciliation. We all have heard the Holy Ghost say to us: Kiss the Son! Well, Judas did, but a blow on the Face of Jesus would have been infinitely preferable. Right now, I think, Judas is thinking of that kiss in hell. And he will think of that all through the unending watches of infinite torture.
O, yes, I know, I know that Peter denied Jesus with swearing and curses. But I know also that Peter wept, and wept again. I know that Peter loved Jesus. And what is more: Jesus and God knew it too.
Yes, that kiss is the more horrible of all the traitor’s work.
It is the devil’s humor.
Judas knew; the Sanhedrin knew; and the devil knew that in the uncertain light of Gethsemane a sign would be necessary.
And the devil must have snickered in unholy glee: the kiss!
And Judas must have grinned: yes, the kiss!
And even the staid Pharisees’ faces must have smiled: the kiss? Yes, the kiss!
Mussert in Holland must have smiled often in the counsels of Hitler’s officers.
And also all fifth columnists in Europe.
But who loves the traitor? No one. Even the Pharisees despised Judas. You can see that when the devil’s repentance brought him back to them with his handful of silver: You see to that!
In the wrong place and among the wrong people.
Note John, the Apostle. When the two groups meet in the garden of Gethsemane, we read: “And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them.”
But watch: he approacheth Jesus.
And then Jesus said: Friend, wherefore art thou come?
What a question! But where and what is the answer? That’s a question which traitors better answer now, before the judgment day.
Wherefore art thou come, my friend?
It is a question that will be asked also in hell. What business has an Apostle of the great Redeemer in hell? What communion has a friend of Jesus with Sanhedrin, the chief priests, the servants with their lanterns, torches, and swords?
Yes, I think that Judas certainly has answered that question. No, not in Gethsemane, but he did answer it many times before the Sanhedrin during their covenant, and also in his heart. His answer was: because your cause, Jesus, is a lost cause. You are neither the Redeemer of Israel, nor God’s King over Sion! You are a misguided, miserable simpleton! It does not pay to follow you anymore! And while the getting out is still profitable, I am going to collect. On the other side of the fence there is security, opportunity, and advancement. Who is so foolish as to choose the cross, persecution, loss of all stature? I, Judas, certainly do not want to choose the reproach of Christ!
But . . . Moses did choose it. And where is he now?
Beloved! did you ever hear of concentric circles?
When you throw a stone in the water, and it sinks away, a circle appears on the waters; and around it another circle, only slightly larger than the first; and another, another, another! And this goes on and on. Those are concentric circles. They are circles that have a common center.
Judas’ treachery is the stone cast in the waters.
And it has caused many a circle on the waters of the church of Jesus Christ.
Judas is followed by many Judasses.
When we write this we tremble. Believe me, beloved, Judas is not far from any of us. Remember that all the Apostles were offended at Jesus and His conduct. Especially so, when He revealed the proper conduct of the citizens of the Kingdom of God.
What is that proper conduct which evoked offense?
It is this: Jesus stretched out His holy hands to the wicked, and let Himself be bound. He did not allow a stroke of the sword of Peter. Turn the other cheek; give place to God’s wrath. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved. Suffer in silence and give your cause in the hand of God. Follow Him in the humiliation, the reproach, the maltreatment, the miserable condition of His Church on earth, and suffer for His Name’s sake.
Lift up your head, and what do you see?
You see Jesus crowned with glory and honor at the right hand of the Majesty on High!
O, beloved, it is beautiful there, where there are no traitors!