Betrayal. Even the word makes stomachs turn. The idea of having someone, anyone take the faith you’ve placed in them and use it against you, makes skin crawl. It kills relationships. It breaks hearts. It destroys trust. There is not much in the world that is worse than being betrayed. Especially by one of your best friends.
I sometimes wonder how Jesus even looked at Judas from this point. Knowing full well what was going on. The man who has been given control of the financial aspects of Jesus’ earthly ministry, is meeting with those who wish Jesus dead, for a mere 30 pieces of silver. I don’t know how much that silver translates into in today’s currency, and I don’t think I care. It’s not enough to warrant what Judas is doing to the man I think he believed to be the Son of God. Maybe he thought he was doing him a favor. Perhaps he thought he was sparking a revolution. He might have just been greedy. No matter the motive, the payment wasn’t high enough. A betrayal is in the works.
When I was younger this part of the story really confused me. Why would someone have to kiss Jesus to show the soldiers who he was? Wasn’t he famous? Wouldn’t they know? Wouldn’t it have been obvious? Why the kiss? Couldn’t he have just pointed? As I have grown older I have started to believe it was less about the how and the why and more about the what – the actual act of betrayal itself. I believe God was taking every opportunity to show us why the sacrificial act that was coming soon was necessary. We, his most precious creation, had betrayed him, and the price was higher than we could have ever imagined.
I would like to live my life thinking that Judas is some sort of villain. When I see him show up in the movies, I find myself thinking things like – ‘there he is, that’s the guy, man I hate him!’ But the reality of my life is that each and every day I am him. When I choose me over my relationship with Christ, I am reason for the crucifixion as much as he was. The kiss wasn’t the cause, it was the culmination. Every sin ever committed, being condensed into one moment of eternal betrayal.
Wednesday starts the most tumultuous three day period in human history. Wednesday starts everything in motion. Wednesday begins the betrayal. Let us strive to let it not continue with us.