WHO IS MY FRIEND?
And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. (Matthew 26:50).
It would be a strange use of the word “friend” if Jesus had meant a dear or close friend in Matthew 26:50. Was His reference to Judas a knowledgeable, sarcastic, ignorant or careless reference? Bible critics have no answer.
There are three kinds of “friends” in the Bible:
1. A close, personal, and trusted friend.
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (Matthew 11:19)
(The false accusation is blasphemous because their charge is that Jesus participates in all these sins with these types. They claim the gluttons, winebibbers, publicans, and sinners are all close and trusted friends of Jesus.)
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. (John 11:11)
2. Parties of a recent agreement developed by persuasion.
And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. (Acts 12:20)
(People from Tyre and Sidon in some way made a “friend” of Blastus, the King’s chamberlain or keeper of the bedroom. This position was one of a very close nature to the king. Blastus would know of all the king’s escapades.)
3. A comradely association such as:
a. An employee/employer contact.
But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? (Matthew 20:13)
b. A “friendship” created by a general invitation extended to both good and bad.
9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:9-14)
As stated above, it would be a strange use of the word “friend” if Jesus had meant a dear or close friend in Matthew 26:50. Jesus could not use “Friend” in the sense of a close and emotional tie with this devil (John 6:70) but He could claim somewhat common and broad association since Judas Iscariot was an apostle.
Was Jesus’ reference to Judas as ”Friend” sarcastic?
This is not spoken in sarcasm. It is no bitter or taunting term. In such a setting of the garden betrayal our Lord is not bitter but in perfect holiness, resigned to the “cup” He gladly and willingly will drink.
The term “Friend” is not used in ignorance or in a careless manner. Knowing all things (read carefully John 18:4; 19:28; 21:12) Jesus used the term to not only impress upon Judas the severity of his betrayal and to heap “coals of fire” upon his head (Romans 12:19-20) but to also mark the lesson for us. Be as kind as possible to even your enemies. You may not be able to claim a close tie with a betrayer but claim as close as you can without being self-righteous. In some cases, enemies may eventually become close friends. We can use the term “friend” when addressing total strangers at a town gathering, or as a term of endearment to those closest to us. Context always determines the meaning.
This is the title of a famous sermon preached by Dr. R.G. Lee years ago. A biblical and literary masterpiece, it is a lesson on God’s judgment of sin from the life of Ahab, King of Israel.
Dr. Lee described Ahab: “I introduce to you Ahab, the vile human toad who squatted upon the throne of his nation — the worst of Israel’s kings. King Ahab had command of a nation’s wealth and a nation’s army, but he had no command of his lusts and appetites. Ahab wore rich robes, but he had a sinning and wicked and troubled heart beneath them. He ate the finest food the world could supply — and this food was served to him in dishes splendid by servants obedient to his every beck and nod — but he had a starved soul. He lived in palaces sumptuous within and without, yet he tormented himself for one bit of land more…”
Ahab is a Bible example of those rulers who live for the lusts of the flesh. He is also a reflection of the nation he ruled; nations get government officials like themselves. Our country is no exception. We have thrown the Bible out of education, the home and government; we have scorned the preachers of righteousness and by Bible ignorance enabled the TV evangelists that peep and mutter for the almighty dollar.
We are in a confused process of national election for a President—our only choice is one who is the lessor of two evils. We have no possible choice of a godly President; our choices are based on economics and social ills–which one will stem the out of control national debt, secure our borders, and put more money in our pockets.
Our condition is that described by the prophet: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…” (Hosea 8:7). We have begun to reap the whirlwind. I received the following note a few days ago from a Christian businessman who spent over 20 years with an international company and is now reflecting on “days gone by”. It illustrates the coming “Payday” that is fast covering our land.
“A young man interrupted the morning church service spewing hateful disgusting speech. He was escorted from the grounds by two security officers hired by the church about a year and a half ago. He later called the church office with threats of violence and was then arrested at his home and put in jail. My wife and I have been going to this church since 1992 and this is the first such instance anything like this has happened.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country. Looking back, say to the 1950’s or 60’s– would anybody imagine that something like this would happen?
What about the mass shootings? I remember a book I read several years ago and I think the title was “Slouching Towards Gomorrah” which talked about the overall decline of this country.
I’m just a simple bean counter who as a kid earned a dime, bought a candy bar for a nickel and then took a nickel and saved it in a mason jar; I haven’t really changed that much. Look at the financial shape of our country. The idea that the country can spend its way to prosperity and run up a national debt of $20 trillion + is insanity—-it’s going to come to an end, and it won’t be pretty. I hate what is ahead for our kids and our kid’s kids. I am so glad to know that this place is not my home, I’m just a sojourner traveling through.”
The above summary by the man is right. Dr. Lee’s sermon theme is true. There is a “Payday Someday” for individuals and countries that forget God. Our payday has arrived and the whirlwind interest on our godless living has just begun. —Dave Reese, June 2016.