Betrayal is hard because it can only come through a friend or a loved one. It’s not an act of a stranger, a random cruelty or victim of circumstances.
Betrayal can only come in the hands of the ones you love. It’s worse than rejection. Rejection opens a wound, but betrayal rubs salt in it. It’s worse than loneliness, because loneliness leaves you out in the cold, while betrayal closes the door and bolts it shut. It’s worse than an insult. While insults attack the pride, betrayal breaks the heart. Betrayal can mess us up leaving us rejected, lonely, without peace, afraid and hurting.
Jesus here shows us a different way.
Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, even told him so at the last supper. Jesus calls him, “Friend”. He knew that Satan had entered his heart – and that doesn’t for one minute justify what he did, minimise it or rescue Judas from his choices and their consequences. BUT, it does allow Jesus to move forward. He is not eaten up by it Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus brings release rather than bitterness.
In this passage it is not just Judas who has betrayed him – Peter, James and John fell asleep, the other eight disciples ran away and Peter will deny Jesus three times while swearing.
Jesus is heading for the cross, to become a curse for us, to bring forgiveness for all our betrayals, freedom for the captives, release from darkness and abundant life to all who believe.
If you have been betrayed, Jesus gives you the power to forgive and not be bound up in unforgiveness.
If you have betrayed, Jesus offers you forgiveness in your repentance.
Lord, thank you for enduring the ultimate betrayal so perfectly. Forgive me where I have betrayed others and empower me to forgive those who have betrayed me. Lord help me to love my enemies and pray for them, by the power of your Spirit, Amen