I read Don Richardson's book Peace Child a while ago, and when I was reading Matthew 26 today I was once again reminded of the deep effects of Betrayal.
Richardson tells the story of his family who moved to New Guinea for mission work. He is a part of this movement of unreached people groups who try and tell the gospel message to people who have never seen, heard, or experienced anything western. It's a great story of a families commitment to the gospel.
One of the sections Don elaborates on the intrigue the natives felt about Judas. For whatever reason, in their culture it was supreme admiration to deceive someone to the point they would think you are they're friend, but you could stab them in the back when you needed.
So you can imagine, when Richardson tells the story of Judas, the people became Judas worshipers. After all, how admirable it would be if you could be good enough to even deceive God?
Matthew 26 tells the story like this, "While he was still
speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd
armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders
of the people.Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him. Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." (Matthew 26:47-50)
Can you imagine?
Of course we know Jesus was aware of everything going on, but how bad does it feel when someone so close to you turns you in?
I've had several people in my life come off like their my friends, but come to find out they were in a relationship simply to get something. It hurts like nothing else, right? Betrayal is the worst form of rejection, and it often chips away at our feelings of trust for others.
But Jesus let it all happen.
Surely He could have called down the angels of vengeance.
He could have prevented it from happening.
But Jesus allowed the method of betrayal to be the vehicle to take Him to the cross.
It's another example of how God can take something so bad, so hurtful, so unbelievable into something good.
Today, I'm more convinced than ever, God is in the business of turning pain into something beautiful. Even in the pain of betrayal, the Son of God walked to the cross and began the reconciliation of the old world to the new one. He took the evil provided and made it into something good.
God come and take the times of pain
Come and begin the restoration
Help us as we look toward the hope we have in You.
Even in the middle of betrayal.