Matthew 26:47-50-47 (NIV) 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.”[d]Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

I have had the opportunity to counsel plenty of people who somehow feel that they are not worthy of God’s love. And of all the passages I could point to that describe the Lord’s devotion, today’s is the one I think best highlights’ the unqualified friendship the Lord offers those who follow Him.
As Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion, Judas Iscariot approached him with a band of men. The betrayer stepped forward and kissed the Lord’s cheek. And what was Jesus’ response? According to another disciple, Matthew, He called the man “Friend” (Matthew 26:50).

Judas expected Jesus to establish His kingdom on earth and drive the Romans out of Israel; anyone who could calm a storm at sea could easily remove an oppressive government! But Judas’s interest in Jesus was more personal and political than spiritual. In fact, John reported that his fellow disciple stole from the money box (John 12:6). Today the man’s name is synonymous with those who betray others for personal gain. (At times we have to ask ourselves some real questions).

In spite of Judas’ greed, blind ambition, and betrayal, Jesus never stopped loving him; He still used the word “friend” to address the one-time disciple. The Lord does not place conditions on His love or reject people who fail to meet certain standards. He simply cares for us as we are, so whoever you are receive this message today, the Lord loves you just the way you are! Often we have people in our lives that love us conditionally, but please don’t mix that up with the Lord’s love for you people of God!

People cannot earn Jesus Christ’s love and friendship. The Lord takes the initiative, reaches out, and draws into fellowship to those who are willing. We are not worthy, but we are privileged to live in His love anyway. In the Lord, we find a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Family of God have a fantastic weekend!

For His Kingdom,
Pastor James

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