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Today is the day Jesus was betrayed by Judas. And deserted by all His disciples in His time of greatest need. Today I’m reflecting on betrayal.

I’m freshly stuck by Jesus’ response to Judas when he arrives with the armed guards and goes over to Jesus and kisses Him on the cheek. Jesus responds with, “Friend, do what you have come for.” (Matthew 26:50) Friend. Jesus wasn’t sarcastic. And until this moment, the other disciples did not know the betrayer was Judas. Which means he really was a friend of the Lord. That makes sense — it’s the closeness of the relationship that makes it betrayal, after all. It wouldn’t hurt so much, or register as a betrayal, if it wasn’t someone close.

I also am struck by Jesus’ knowing the disciples would deny and desert Him. Peter often gets blamed here for saying he would die with Jesus before he would desert Him, but according to scripture all the disciples said the same thing too. (Matthew 26:35)

And I’m also seeing that Jesus did not start reacting to the pain and devastation of the betrayal until after *celebrating* Passover with His disciples. (Matthew 26:37) Even imminent betrayal by a friend couldn’t overshadow the fun and joy of being with His friends (also known as the church, but the fun of church is a blog for another time).

Today I’m challenged to see those who have betrayed me in a new Light — to see them as Jesus did. To see them as friends. Not that our relationship will resume, or that what they did is okay, but that they are my friends AND they betrayed me. Living with that tension seems very Jesus-like to me.

I’m also challenged with knowing that I, too, would desert and deny Jesus. I might not actively seek His suffering as Judas did, but I can’t imagine I’d do anything different than *all* the disciples — the truth is I probably won’t always defend Him or join Him in His suffering. Ouch, that’s hard. And here’s something harder — I am realizing that I have grouped “Peters” in  my life together with “Judases.” They may not have initiated or wanted the betrayal, but they sure didn’t do anything to stop it or to help me in it. But Jesus reinstated Peter at His own cost (His death and resurrection). Jesus didn’t see Peter and Judas as the same. And He had ultimate grace and love for Peter. Can I do the same for those who haven’t helped me in my suffering, but abandoned me in it?

And, Lord, how I’d love to live like you do — to be so caught up in the encouraging, fun, life-giving moments of now that I am incapable of being burdened by betrayal (past, present, or future) until it is imminently upon me.

Thank you, Jesus, for enduring betrayal for us.