We have probably all felt the sting of betrayal which is all the more painful because it comes from those who profess to love us. Imagine how it stabbed Jesus’ heart that a kiss, which is a sign of love, was used to betray him.
Why did Judas betray Jesus? It seems that it was because Jesus was not behaving as Judas had expected. He allowed a woman to anoint his feet with extravagantly expensive perfume, instead of using the money to feed themselves or the poor. Judas had also expected Jesus to be a warrior king who would fight against their enemies, the Romans, and defeat them. He probably expected worldly success and worldly concern for money, and when that did not come, in his frustration, he betrayed Jesus. Similarly, some people betray us when we disappoint their expectations.
Peter also betrayed Jesus when he declared, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and death”, in Luke 22:33. Then later he denied knowing Jesus three times to save himself. In this case, his betrayal was not intentional like Judas’ was. Instead, his fear overwhelmed him. Jesus took this into account when, later, he reinstated Peter by asking him to look after his sheep. So, betrayal can be redeemed if those who hurt us are truly repentant. However, it does not nullify the shock and hurt felt at the time of betrayal.
A third betrayal of Jesus was when the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest among them in Luke 22:4. Why was this a betrayal? Jesus had spent three years training and teaching these disciples and yet it seemed that some of them had still not grasped the concepts He was teaching. Their human pride was still operating fiercely, and Jesus had to remind them again that the greatest are those that serve others, as Jesus did.
Then, in Jesus’ time of greatest need, He was facing the horror of being crucified and He had asked His disciples to pray. What did he find when He returned? They were all fast asleep! How sorely disappointed He must have been. It must have been another stab to the heart.
So, when we feel a stab of betrayal in our heart, or remember what happened, let us also remember that Jesus knows exactly how that feels. Let’s turn to Him to heal us so that we can move forward, just as Jesus did.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You truly understand the pain of betrayal. Help us, Holy Spirit, to remain strong in the security of our Father’s love despite the hurt. Remind us that we are also fallible, and we betray others, so we need to forgive others, as we hope to be forgiven. Amen.
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