The Weekly Epistle 4/5/23

Hi Living Hope Family,

He was gifted in business. He was entrusted with the finances. He was a well-polished man. He left all to follow Jesus. He seemed devoted. He had leadership abilities. By all appearances he was being used by God. He was part of the healing ministry. He stuck around when things got tough. 

Judas was chosen by Jesus to be one of his disciples. In John 6:70, Jesus says, “Did I not choose you, the twelve?” The rest of that verse in John 6, Jesus added, “And yet one of you is a devil.” Jesus knew all along that Judas would betray him. Jesus knew. But the disciples didn’t. When Jesus spoke of the culprit sitting among them each one wondered, “is it I?” (Mark 14:19). And when the betrayer was revealed, no one said, “I knew it. I knew it was him.” 

It is likely that in the middle of passion week in terms of chronology that Satan’s agent, Judas, openly betrays Jesus. It was on Wednesday of Passion week that the words of the Psalmist are applied to Jesus. “Even my close friend in whom I trust, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (compare Psalm 41:9 with John 13:18). 

I can hardly think of anything worse than betrayal. Yet, we see Jesus willingly betrayed. One writer said it this way, “We see Him embrace the traitor’s heel to heal traitors.” Well put. Jesus came to be betrayed. Jesus gave His face to the kiss of a betrayer. 

This act of a kiss is repulsive. It is bad enough that Judas betrayed Jesus, but with a kiss of affection, is about as evil as you get. Yet this was all part of God’s plan. Jesus’ path to the cross included this betrayal. Jesus felt forsaken by God the Father. He was oppressed, beaten, and in great anguish in taking all the penalty for our sins on the cross. And added to that is this betrayal! 

One other thing to note. The disciples didn’t bail on Jesus because of Judas. Yet how many people have left the church and, in some cases, even left the faith because someone they knew didn’t live up to their standards of Christianity? How many have said, “Hang this!” because some Christian was inconsistent? I know church – hurt betrayal is a real thing. It stings! 

Yet consider the One who was betrayed in order to redeem us from eternal judgment. Consider Him who laid down his life. Yes, for his enemies. 

Hope to see you this Friday at 7:00 and again on Resurrection Sunday! 
Blessings, Pastor Brian