Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. -Mark 14:44-45, ESV
That’s the time Judas spent eating with, sleeping nearby, walking with, and learning from Jesus.
Chosen out of all the followers to join the elite twelve disciples.
And in this moment, Judas not only betrays Jesus but does so with a kiss.
This Holy Week as we remember Christ’s death and Resurrection I am comforted even by the difficult parts of this story. It reminds me that I serve a god who “gets it.”
He knows what if feels like to be betrayed by a friend who walked with him for years. A friend who weathered many storms with him—literally–over those years. And sadly, a friend who turned out to be faithless and treacherous.
Judas’ name has become synonymous with traitors because of this act.
I have several people in mind who contend for the “Judas” title in my dark valley. These were people I trusted for years who turned on me and essentially through their words, actions, or even non-action supported my former spouse in her adultery and sinful divorce.
The betrayals hurt.
And it was hard to let these people go.
It is hard to admit to oneself that someone you thought you knew is not a friend but a traitor. A Judas.
But I take comfort.
I take comfort from Jesus’ example. He knows the pain I felt. My God can empathize with me.
That is the beauty of Holy Week to me. It is a story of a truly human God who came down and experienced our mess. A story of God who was not so removed from the effects of sin that He is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses and pain (e.g. Hebrews 4:15 and Philippians 2). But even more important is how Holy Week ends.
It ends with Christ triumphing over the grave. It ends with power and glory. It ends with Jesus’ vindication. The wickedness and injustice of humanity and this dark world is defeated. It is a taste of what is yet to come.
In Jesus, the old, old story is made anew. It gives me fresh hope that even in the darkest of circumstances under the greatest pain from the most intimate of betrayals that my God can give me a story.* And it won’t be just any story. This story will have redemptive power for God is into redeeming our suffering.
He is already doing this work now. I testify here. This blog is God at work redeeming my story. This is how we overcome: “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony” (Rev 12:11b, ESV).
I do not see God wasting an ounce of His Son’s suffering on the Cross nor do I believe He will waste an ounce of our suffering–i.e. His adoptive children.
So, take heart.
Resurrection Sunday is coming.
He is not done with your story. And He is not one to waste the dark chapters in anyone’s life.
He knows the pain of intimate betrayal. But He has destined His true sons and daughters for glory. You are not alone as you wait for your testimony to be written.
Judas did not get the final word or even chapter in Jesus’ story. God did. Judas is just a side note to a much grander and glorious story of Jesus’ life. It is a story that sets captives free to this day. And it is a story that gave and continues to give me and countless others hope. It is a story of power and redemption. And it is a story much greater than Judas’ betrayal.
So remember as you struggle with intimate betrayals:
The Judases in our lives will not get the final word in our stories.
And He is good and just.
*I just want to give credit here to the work of Bob Sorge. It has influenced my thought as he is apt to encourage us to gain a story by enduring so that it is a grand, dramatic, and powerful one.