In the two places where Judas addresses Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, Judas calls him “Rabbi.”
- 26:25, Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
- 26:49-50, And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”
This title is woefully inadequate, especially given all that Judas has heard Jesus say and seen him do. At the Last Supper scene, the other disciples called Jesus “Lord” (Matt. 26:22). But Judas didn’t use the title “Lord.” When his turn came, he said “Rabbi.”
The use of “Rabbi” shows the spiritual distance of Judas from Jesus. Is that title really the best he could do?
Jesus had driven out demons, healed paralytics, fed thousands with some bread and fish, walked on water, stilled a storm at sea, and made the blind see. After witnessing all these miracles and more, and after three years of ministry with Jesus, the word Judas decides to use is “Rabbi.”