Several months ago, a conversation with a friend sparked something in me. A revelation of sorts, about Judas. In our conversation, we were talking about love. More specifically, we were talking about the Lord’s desire to give us a love that is good enough for enemies for one another in church life. My friend’s use of the phrase a love that is good enough for enemies really impacted me and caused me to think. Wow, what kind of a love could actually be that strong that it could withstand the actions and brutality of an enemy? Certainly only the divine indwelling love of Christ would be sufficient for that. Anything less than divine love would be offended at much less.
Soon after this conversation, I began to think of Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. I sensed the Lord correcting me of an incorrect assumption that I had made about Judas, and the nature of Jesus’ relationship with him. Judas was not simply someone who Jesus picked to be His disciple because, after all, someone had to do the dirty work of betrayal.
No, although Jesus knew what Judas would do, He picked him because He loved him with all of His heart. He saw beauty in Judas. They became the best of friends. After all, can you really be betrayed by an enemy? No. Only your friends can really betray you. The greater the friendship, the greater the sting of betrayal. The betrayal of Judas was severe because the friendship was so strong. Jesus did not use the term friendship lightly. The term carried a lot of weight with Him. Jesus referred to His disciples (including Judas) as His friends. He meant it. Although Judas was often religious and misguided in his thinking, he meant well. Jesus saw beauty in Judas, and He loved him with an un-offendable love.
As a result of these thoughts, I wrote a letter. It’s a letter written from Jesus’ perspective to His betrayer. I would like to share this letter with you today, but before I do that I would like to remind you of a few important things.
1. I wrote this letter several months ago. Although the timing of me sharing this letter with you is ripe, this letter was not written to be a commentary regarding anything specific going on in my own life.
2. This letter is also not written about anyone specific in my life. Please understand the heart of this letter. This letter is written from Jesus’ perspective regarding His own betrayal.
3. Please do not read this letter analytically. Please read this with your heart. As the nature of this letter is heavy, you may not want to read it until you feel ready.
You betrayed me with a kiss. I saw all the signs of your treachery from the beginning, yet my love for you blinded me. I opened my door to you knowing what you would do, yet I loved and welcomed you nonetheless. You became familiar to the inner workings of my life, and I truly held nothing back from you. I shared the deepest parts of my heart with you. There were many times I desired to protect myself from you. I wanted to separate from you as I wanted this impending cup of death to pass. Love knows no separation, however. I hated the fact that I loved you so. In the end, my love won and I referred to you using a most sacred term.
I called you friend.
Shortly after I bestowed that term of endearment upon you, it happened. My worst nightmare. You misunderstood my ways. You saw my love as something broken and you desired to fix me. You didn’t realize that everything was going according to my Father’s perfect plan. You wanted something deep and profound, that’s why you originally accepted me. Unfortunately, you didn’t know what that something was. What I was offering you, you weren’t interested in. You thought something was missing from me. In your mind, something was off. In your desire to help me become who you thought I should be, you in fact betrayed me into the very hands of my enemies.
Although I knew you would do this, the moment you revealed your betrayal to me was more than I could bear. No premonition could have prepared me for the stinging loss of friendship that I felt in that moment. The fact that you cloaked your decision within a kiss felt like a brutal slap from the most rugged of hands. I was not able to cry. Oh, how I wish I could have cried the pain away, but no cry would come forth. You wounded me in an inaccessible place deeper than my tears. It was a blow to my spirit that I didn’t think I could survive. I did survive, however, long enough to walk that narrow path down to my appointed death.
Do you know what hurt the most? The pain I saw in your eyes, and the sound of your cries. I know you didn’t intend to hurt me. Your intentions were noble in your eyes, yet when you saw what happened to me, you regretted your decision. I wanted to take away your pain. I wanted to tell you that it would be ok in the end when all is accomplished. I wanted to tell you that I am making all things new. You couldn’t hear my heart, however. I wanted to hold you and comfort you the way a mother would comfort an inconsolable child. It was not the appointed time for that, however. Oh, how I wish it was. Oh, how I begged my Father to let me come to you.
Sister, I want you to know that your betrayal was not able to destroy my love for you. It simply opened it up the way sunlight opens a tightly closed flower. I will not abandon you forever. I will come to you again my sister, my bride. I will cut you down from that cursed tree. I will breathe my life into you, and you will live. On that day, all of our enemies will know that I have truly not lost one of the precious ones My Father has given me. That includes you, my betrayer. I have chosen you too from the beginning.
“Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil (adversary)?” (John 6:70, NASB)
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15, ESV)
“Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.” (Psalm 41:9, NLT)
“But Jesus said, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you betray the Son of Man?” (Luke 22:48, GNT)
“…Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” (John 18:9, NASB)