“He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.” (Jn. 6:71)
There are few feelings more painful than being betrayed. It feels like your heart has been ripped out of your chest and then stomped on.
The closer the relationship, the deeper the pain of the betrayal. You wonder what happened to all the commitments you made to each other. You’re dumbfounded how they could have thrown away all you had shared. You can make yourself half-crazy, hoping the betrayer will come to their senses, apologize, return to the marriage, the friendship, the partnership.
Jesus knew all aspects of the human condition, including being betrayed. The one who betrayed Him was “one of the twelve.” Judas was His friend. They had shared meals and travels, and hopes together.
Judas’s betrayal must have cut Jesus very deeply. Although Jesus had to die, that doesn’t mean Judas had to betray him. Whereas Jesus’ death was inevitable, Judas’ betrayal wasn’t.
Why did Judas betray Jesus? Although there have been many speculations about his motivations, we’ll never know.
A better question to ask is this: Why do we betray Jesus? Although we don’t betray Jesus in such dramatic ways as Judas, many of us do betray Him in subtle ways. We betray Him when we don’t listen to Him, speak up for Him, serve Him, or when we try to take the glory that belongs to Him.
Although today’s topic—betrayal—is pretty grim, let me share two pieces of good news that can encourage us.
First, because Jesus knew betrayal, He will share any betrayal we experience. Although He may not repair the relationship—not all relationships should be repaired—we need not suffer alone.
Second, although Jesus knows what it means to be betrayed, He will never know what it’s like to betray those whom He loves. This means that although we may sometimes betray Jesus, He will never betray us. Because of who He is and because of how He loves us, betraying us isn’t possible for Him.
- How and when have you been betrayed? Do you need the healing power of Jesus to touch your heart or memories or life?
- Have you ever betrayed someone else? Ever betrayed yourself and your values, beliefs, and intentions? Do you need the grace of Jesus to forgive what you have done or not done?
- How do you respond to the good news that Jesus will never betray His love for you and His grace to you?