Judas is one of the most known figures in history. Not as famous as Jesus, but almost. Why is he famous? Because He is part of the Jesus story. The betrayer standing on an international level like Brutus in Rome, Benedict Arnold is in The United States or Quisling in Norway. These people inhabit a place of infamy and derision. Individually we do not find that they were that brutal or evil in their actions. They did not slaughter babies or kick puppies. Yet, we collectively feel a revulsion about them.
Why? Betrayal comes from the Latin to hand over. The surrendering of secrets they had been entrusted with and the lives of soldiers they were given command over. With friends like this who needs enemies. Death and defeat followed them. Judas ranks high in their number because Jesus (his friend and teacher) went about doing good, He was the friend of sinners and the great physician. Thirty days wages, pieces of silver constituted the price for the life of The Prince of Peace. It may be supposed that Judas’ negative reaction and return of the money was because he never supposed Jesus would die, perhaps just be arrested. That makes it almost worse that he made merchandise of his friend with a kiss and by exposing him to the authorities caused his unforeseen death.
Betrayal is still hated today. A person who shares secrets is a gossip and considered a person who does injury for no other reason than they are bored or need to feel important. They do this without regard to the injury to others’ lives. An adulterer is seen as a special kind of repulsive person, because they made solemn promises. that were sacrificed for a few stolen moments of pleasure. I had one person tell me of their many sexual escapades but assure me they were serially monogamous. To have two affairs at once would have made it unthinkable.
In history and in our social lives’ betrayal is a great evil. Do we find ourselves among the betrayers? Do we run our mouths about private things or violate our strongest commitments? Are we greedy enough to sell friendship for something we desire in the present immediacy?
It may be that we have done fairly well by our fellow man. Does that leave us absolved and removed from accusation? How about God, have we made promises to Him that we have not fulfilled? Have we done what we know we shouldn’t have for some payment in pleasure or coin? Caesar cries “Et Tu Brute” to his friend/assassin. Perhaps it is not you too Brutus, but rather it is I too. I am the trusted friend that has broken like a bruised reed and driven a shaft deep into the emotional heart of not just by friends and comrades, but I have assisted in injury to the only one who did no harm to anyone, Jesus Christ. Turn from your wicked behavior. Cry out God “be merciful to me a sinner”. Confess and be restored to your friends who you broke faith with. In all things, leave off betrayal and become faithful, to God and your fellow man. He is called the only true God. Because there is no shadow of turning in Him (He is consistent). The Bible enjoins, Let God be true and every man a liar.
Who do you want to be remembered as Judas the betrayer or Jesus the faithful?