Mt 26.20-25, 47-50.
These two passages are a clear contrast – an intimate scene of friends eating together, followed by a scene of blatant and shocking betrayal. The extent of Judas’ relationship with Jesus makes his betrayal even harder to stomach. He has been close to him these last three years, hearing his teaching, seeing his miracles, feeling his love and compassion for people, knowing his heart. This makes the fact that he would turn him over to be betrayed and killed all the more shocking.
Jesus understands betrayal. The text makes it clear that he knows exactly what Judas is doing. And yet in vs. 50, he calls him ‘friend’. This is a picture of grace, a hint at the fact that even in the face of such heartless betrayal, Jesus still loves Judas, and nothing can change his standing as a friend. This same grace is available to all of his followers, and even if you feel that you have betrayed God, your faith, or someone else, Jesus still calls you ‘friend’, and he still offers you the loving chance to repent.
If we live in relationships in the body of Christ long enough, all of us will experience betrayal. Some may be on the receiving end of it, others will be on the giving end. But either way, this story tells us that Jesus understands this, and that he knows what to do about it. Can you forgive? Can you love and trust again? Can you receive his grace in that pain? Let’s ask God to help us move past the pain of betrayal, and towards unity and reconciliation, both with God and with one another. This same Jesus who bore the shame of betrayal and the cross, and conquered it on Easter Sunday, will give us this grace for our own lives and situations. Ask Him for this today.
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Written by Daniel McGinnis