Continuing to prepare our hearts for the events of Good Friday and Easter
[Listen to the sound file while you read — two inches to the right of this line on this page, marked “Aubre’s Gift”]
The Savior is betrayed with the kiss of a friend.
Adapted from the accounts of
Mt 26:47-56; Mk 14:43-50; Lk 22:47-53; Jn 18:4-11
The friend / betrayer comes.
While He was still speaking, Judas, the betrayer and one of the twelve, came leading a great crowd wielding swords and clubs along with the chief priests and the elders of the people. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them,
“Whom do you seek?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
“I am He.”
Upon hearing this they drew back and fell to the ground. So He asked them again,
“Whom do you seek?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said again.
“I told you that I am He. So, if you seek Me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill the word that He had spoken: “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost not one.” (See Psalm 109:8, Acts 1:16-20, John 13:18, and Psalm 55.)
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him and take him away under guard.”
Jesus said to him,
“Friend, do what you came to do.”
And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and Judas drew near to Jesus to kiss Him and Jesus said,
“Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And when those who were around Him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
And behold, Simon Peter, one of those with Jesus, drew his sword and struck Malchus, the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him,
“Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. No more of this! Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me? Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
And He touched the servant’s ear and healed him.
How devastating to be betrayed by the kiss of a long-time friend.
Three years Judas had lived at His side. Three years he had heard the Master teach, watched Him pray, experienced His power over sickness and life and death. He was there when the Master healed the lepers, walked on water, gave sight to the blind, and raised a little girl from the dead.
Judas had held one of the twelve baskets of leftovers after the feeding of the 5000.
Psalm 55 captures the agony of such a betrayal.
His speech was smoother than butter,
But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn swords. (v. 11)
Probe your own heart. You know what it is like to be betrayed. Remember the sorrow,
Imagine those feelings being multiplied by the millions who have claimed the name “Christian” and who have betrayed the perfection of His sacrifice with less than passionate lives.
But don’t stop there. Remember that you too have betrayed others. Remember that, as God, He knew every one of your yet-future betrayals and still He laid His life down for you.
Remember, and weep with delight at the cup from which He drank that night on the Mount of Olives in the garden of Gethsemane.
“Betrayed but unbetraying Lord, how majestic is Your holiness and love. Thank You for calling me into the family of God. Help me to kiss like the grateful woman who washed and kissed Your feet. Keep me from a life that looks like the loyal kiss of a friend and yet betrays the magnificence of Your passion for me. In Your faithful name I pray. Amen.”
Adapted from Experience the Passion of Christ, by Marty Schoenleber, Jr.