I said in a previous blogpost that as I slowly read through the Easter story (Matt26) and have days of waiting to carry on reading it awakens me to the wait Jesus endured. He knew what was coming, had to wait, feeling sick for it. Trying to tell His friends who just didn’t understand at all!
Betrayal is the sharpest knife
He sat next to His friends eating and enjoying resting with them. Knowing who in the group would betray Him. The thing I was awakened to in this was that Judas really was his friend. It is the only explanation as to why the other lads don’t follow him out when he leaves & batter him!
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”
23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
I imagine this was done off to one side..quietly. Yet as I thought about it I thought my eyes would be on Judas, I would be looking for who would betray Jesus. Then I remembered that’s because in my head I know who the baddie is! I’ve known this story for years so I hear this and can pinpoint it’s Judas from the start.
The men sat around this table where true, close, loving friends. The very best friends who had done & gone through so much together. If I was sat with a group of my best friends and one of them said ‘one of you will betray me‘. We are all such close friends I would be confused. I would think maybe they mean ‘let me down’. I wouldn’t follow them all or interigate them.
So I can see that Judas, their friend, could never have been imagined to be plotting to kill Jesus. I don’t even know if Judas knew the extent of what he was doing. Nobody would have guessed where this was going..apart from Jesus.
So adding to Jesus’ waiting and crazy mixed emotions He must have felt alone in a crowd. Only having God know what was happening next.
So that’s who He runs to. When He knows that He is alone, hurt, terribly betrayed by a friend who he loved, about to undergo the most unimaginable torture..He goes to His Dad, Father God.
So often we do the opposite. Life seems unfair- or actually just really is unfair. Things happen that should never have happened, we are hurt in ways that feel too confusing to see the light in as it all seems dark. Maybe we feel alone in a crowd, or betrayed by someone who should have loved us. So where do you run to in those times?
I was chatting yesterday to a friend, his brother had a car accident and now cannot walk. They are praying that one day he will but for years now he hasn’t. I have many friends who are praying for children, longing to be a mummy or daddy and yet they get the pain and hurt of just waiting..feeling nobody else can really ever truly understand. I have friends who have been betrayed by their husbands or wives and the deep rejection and isolation that comes seems unbearable. I have walked with women in prison who are up against some of the hardest problems, who have been victims of many forms of abuse and feel trapped in a life of darkness… Yet to each of these precious people it is important to ask – where are you going to run to?
I have witnessed the beauty of people, even when they go through the most difficult situatioms, when life can only be described as shit- Running towards Jesus not away.
Bringing their questions, their frustrations, anger & hurt and feeling Hope arise. Prayer is an exchange. We give God our rubbish & He gives us himself..Promises given of Gods restoration, love, peace and compassion. Jesus being so present and close, using His church, His people to care and gather round. Being the strength they need on days they can’t stand, He lifts them up.
That is why we run to Jesus and not away to the things the world would like us to latch on to. Tempting as they are – & sometimes feel far easier! Sadly this only brings more emptiness, these things are fleeting and make us feel more alone than before…I say this through experience of being there not through any judgements at all.
I pray that we as the church can be the support I just described. Jesus wants His bride to be caring and supporting, loving & bringing hope. Not joining in with gossip & tearing down..but building up & helping to restore.
Jesus knows how it feels. Judas was only the first to betray him. He went to the cross knowing that even his best friend Peter was betraying him, hiding & denying he ever knew Him, while Jesus was dying for Him! I can’t imagine how that must have felt. To be taking a bullet for someone while they are betraying you!? He knows the pain of betrayal..yet He still chose to die. For me, and for you. So we can know Forgiveness & Love everlasting.
Please listen to this song. Start the journey back to Jesus. Running to Him, not pushing Him away. Let God speak..it will only be words of life & deep love over you..
For anyone who has betrayed a friend:
Please follow Peters example not Judas’. Please know there is forgiveness, there is a purpose and a plan God has for you. Jesus forgave Peter and loved Him & Peter went on to do great works for God. I believe you can too, His grace is enough.