The Blessing of Betrayal (Part 2)
The Kiss of Betrayal
Jesus tells us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44) and this would obviously include those who would betray us. Jesus practiced what He preached. Even though He knew in advance what Judas would do, He acted in love toward His betrayer.
“Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.’ And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ And he kissed him.” (Mark 14:44-45)
There are two words in Greek for “kiss.” One is the word phileo – this refers to a “kiss of friendship.” This is word Judas uses when he says, “I will kiss the man.” The second word for “kiss” is the Greek word kataphileo, which means “to kiss fervently” or the kiss of genuine love. For instance, it is the word kataphileo that is used in Luke 15:20, where the father “embraced and kissed” his prodigal son.
When Judas arrives with the soldiers at Gethsemane he greets Jesus and kisses him (Mark 14:45). The word used here is kataphileo – meaning a kiss of genuine love. Upon seeing the face of Jesus and knowing that Jesus knew what he was there to do, could only respond to the love that emanated from Christ, with a kiss of real love. He saw that Jesus was not angry, bitter, or vengeful. He saw the compassion of the one he called “Rabbi,” and heard Jesus call him “friend.” At that moment Judas must have been pierced to the heart, for he had betrayed the one who truly loved him. As Jesus is taken away, Judas cries that he has betrayed innocent blood (Matt. 27:4). He could not rationalize away, or justify, the terrible thing he had done.
The Scriptures tell us that Judas took his own life (Matt. 27:5). It seems apparent to me that Judas could no longer with himself and died under the force of the love of Christ. Judas’ evil was overcome by the sincere love of Jesus.
Consider what Paul tells us in Romans 12:20-21: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
We give our enemies a basis for hatred and cause for the betrayal of our friends when we respond to evil with evil. Evil is overcome by the “weapon” of unfeigned love, which is the agape love of God working through us. The victory over our betrayer is through love.
Betrayal: A Part of Our Journey
If you have not experienced the pain of betrayal in your Christian journey, allow me to assure you that it will come your way. As I have already pointed out, betrayal was the common experience of God’s servants throughout the Bible. It has been my observation of others, and my own experience, that being betrayed is inevitable for those that desire to know spiritual maturity. Allow me to restate what I have said previously, and that is that in following Jesus we are going to experience in a lesser degree the things He experienced. What was done to the Master will also done to the servant (John 15:20).
Jesus told his disciples: “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolk, and friends; and some of you shall be put to death” (Luke 21:16 KJV).
Bear in mind that betrayal always comes from those in whom we have put our trust. Psalm 41:9 says, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.” Here we have David speaking out of his own experience in the psalm, possibly referring to Ahithophel. David uses a word picture to convey the betrayal of a friend. The original meaning portrays a trusted family horse viciously kicking from behind an unsuspecting and trusted friend.
Here I must provide you with a word of caution. Knowing that betrayal will come our way, can cause us to be untrusting and cynical. Afraid to open our life to anyone. This is not the response we should have. Such a life is contrary to the way we are live as followers of Christ. We are to extend ourselves to others and share our lives with other believers.
But when betrayal comes, as I believe it inevitably will, see it as a trial that God has let come your way. Knowing that this trial, like all trials in the life of the believer, is for the purpose of maturing you and conforming you to the image of Christ.