Betrayal. The Passion Week is the result of betrayal. It started in the Garden as Adam and Eve chose to betray the intimacy with God and choose the selfishness of ambition. It passed on through the ages. Through the nation of Israel turning their back on God, to the kings leading the nation into pagan worship, to Roman brutality, to crusades to force conversion to Nazi death camps, to taking the lives of the unborn, human history is filled with betrayal.
In the midst of the week of Jesus’ death, betrayal from two sources is brush strokes on the canvas of history. Judas, with a heart turned by Satan, betrays Jesus with a kiss in the garden to start the events of the last few hours of Jesus life. How fitting that this betrayal took place in a garden just as the first human betrayal of God. Then Peter betrays Christ three times; the final time actually declaring that he doesn’t even know Jesus. Betrayal.
But the betrayal has vastly different outcomes. Just as Adam’s betrayal led to the death of the human soul, Judas’ betrayal led to his physical death. He was so overcome with guilt and shame that he hanged himself. He went to the priests to try and overcome his guilt, but they could not restore what Satan had already birthed in his soul. Judas went into eternity, and history known only for his betrayal.
Peter also betrayed. The one who had declared that Jesus was the Messiah now runs weeping away from a young servant girl. Betrayal cuts deep into his heart. But three days later, Peter has a restoration moment. This man who denied Christ, who ran away to hide was singled out by the resurrected Christ to be restored to ministry. My two favorite words in all of scripture occur after Jesus is resurrected. He tells the women in the garden to go and tell the disciples “and Peter” that he will meet them in Galilee just as he said. “And Peter” are words of forgiveness and restoration.
We have all betrayed Christ. Our lives are not perfect and our hearts and stained by the grime of this world, but there is hope. The resurrection of Jesus brings forgiveness for those who trust in him. Betrayal becomes new birth in the soul of those who follow.
Lord, forgive my betrayals. Jesus breathe in me new life. Christ, replace the pain and shame of betrayal with joy and hope brought on by the glory of your resurrection. Amen