Betrayal. The second of fifteen words on Jesus' way to the Cross.
The second of our Lent reflections touches on the betrayal of Jesus, as recorded in Mark 14:43-46.
Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.
Swords, soldiers and clubs are one thing – but a kiss is usually symbolic of something else.
When Judas betrays Jesus – his friend and teacher – with a kiss, the normal pattern of behavior is inverted, challenged. Even a loving greeting can be twisted by the pain of betrayal.
Things aren’t always what they seem. Communication is complicated. And this little snapshot on the way to the Cross forces us to look closely. To consider whether we really trust those we know.
But that isn’t the point of the story.
Without this betrayal, Jesus wouldn’t have been arrested. Without this betrayal, Jesus wouldn’t have endured the Cross. Without this kiss, soured by betrayal, we might not be thinking about the greatest event in world history.
Pray – In the run up to Easter, missionaries Turgay Yusuf and Ilyas Ayoub have been working alongside local churches to present the claims of Christ to the Muslim community around Forest Gate. Why not take a moment to ask God to strengthen them, and give them opportunities to share the gospel, the true story of the King who was betrayed.