And he (Judas) came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!”
My wife and daughters have this standing phrase when a situation or understanding in our household changes…
“Oh, that’s just daddy changing one of his rules again!”
My son usually remains neutral – wise choice on his part. I think they remember things differently – but the ladies insist I changed the rules. It’s usually said in fun, especially now that all my children are in their thirties. However, it would cause some difficult discussions between my wife and me in days gone by. Rightly so; it can be frustrating if someone in authority is changing the rules on you – or not “practicing what they preach.”
Our Scripture selection demonstrates a better way – but first, some context will help. This is the scene after Jesus shares the Passover meal for the last time with his disciples; and after he prays profusely to God, his Father for release him from what is about to come – but accepts his will above all else. Now Judas, the chief priests and an angry mob, complete with clubs and swords, are set to take Jesus into custody.
My first thought was: Wow! Jesus just called Judas his friend. The guy who sold him out – Jesus’ #1 enemy is call “friend.” Why would he do that?!
Ah, but then I remembered Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount. Do you remember hearing the one about loving our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48)?
Jesus said if we only love those who love us, then we’re no different than the rest of the world.
Jesus didn’t just teach with words – he taught with his actions. It has been said that some of the best training is three tiered: tell them; show them; watch them to make sure they got it. Jesus lived out what he taught. Even still – what strength and integrity it must take to hold firm to that idea in your darkest moment.
People of integrity have many characteristics; some of which we can find in these verses.
- Genuine love of all people regardless reciprocation.
- Invest in people; passing on learning to help them grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.
- Remember that the best training is through observation – people are watching their actions.
Jesus taught with integrity; Jesus loved beyond imagination in that he gave his life for us.
I invite you to learn and consider his ways.
Jesus walked his talk. Now it’s our turn.