DayBreaks for 12/30/13 – Villains and Betrayals
Luke 22:47-48 (NLT) But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
I know it is not Easter week, Maundy Thursday or even Good Friday, but in my quiet time this morning I was looking at this passage from Luke and a few thoughts struck me that I’d never really pondered before.
There have been many who bore the title of “villain” throughout history. We know the names of some of them and sadly many lived in the past 100 years: Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Mao – to name just a few. There are others who are also villains because of their involvement in school shootings, mass murders, drug or human trafficking and other notorious events. Sadly, it seems that there is nearly always at least one tyrant on the world stage at any given moment in time. And we must remember that villainy is also somewhat a matter of perspective: George Washington would have been considered a villain by the British, and Lincoln by the Confederates.
There was another villain in today’s text: Judas Iscariot. Was his betrayal of Jesus the darkest event in human history? I don’t even know how a finite human being could judge such a thing. Is one betrayal worse than any other? Of course, the betrayal of an innocent person seems worse to us than another kind of betrayal. Jesus was innocent, so you could argue that Judas’ betrayal was worse than say, Peter’s. But how many times have I betrayed Jesus? Given that I have almost certainly lived longer than Judas, I have probably betrayed him many more times than Judas did. No, I didn’t directly sell him to the authorities, but I, by my sin and betrayal of God, am complicit in His death.
Why did His plan include a human betraying Jesus? He could have simply been arrested in the temple (as Jesus himself said in the context) with no betrayal by Judas or anyone else involved, at least not an explicit one. I don’t know the answer to this question, but perhaps it was because we needed to see the dark underbelly of human nature at it worst in war against the God who created us. We needed to see and understand the depths to which any one of us could, and do, descend.
If you have thoughts on why a human betrayal was part of the plan, I’d love to hear from you!
Perhaps we should be more cautious in our judgment on Judas, for each of us is a betrayer, too.
PRAYER: If you counted our sins, who could stand? Not only have we like sheep gone astray, but we have all betrayed you, too. Thank you for your incredible forgiveness and being willing to die for us even as we betray you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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