30 pieces of silver. What’s the modern day equivalent of that? A new iMac, a new car, $5,000, an all-expenses paid trip to some tropical island. What is the going rate for betrayal these days…I guess it depends on who and what is being betrayed. The Judas story is one that runs deep for us. With the impending death of Jesus, we sometimes miss this story, because we are so focused and ready for Jesus to stand trial, be whipped then nailed to a cross. Judas gets a footnote – yeah that guy hung himself in a field…he died alone and with great regret. Guess that’s enough for us, by the time our inquisition is ready to have him face trial, his story is already over. But his legacy, if you could call it that, isn’t great…I mean how many children do you know named “Judas?”
Betrayal is probably only of life’s hardest valleys. The parent that abandons their children, The spouse who betrays their marriage, the work place which fires the hard-working employee after years of faithful service. We have all felt it, we know that cold feeling the moment your realize that someone sold you down the river to save themselves, or feed their ego, or follow that addiction. Betrayal hurts and leaves scars that are deep and painful, slow to heal and ripped open by the slightest bump.
About 2 years ago I realized something about this thing called betrayal. I realized that I had chosen a profession that claims to follow a carpenter Messiah – who was often treated as a threat or an outsider…but maintained his mission of saving the world. I have a mission too, not quite that big, but if you do, you will face a fair amount of abuse. Most of it is easy to bear and simple to overcome…but there is no preparation for betrayal, because by its slithery nature it is an action that catches you off guard. That is why it is betrayal – you never see it coming. The shock of it is what jolts us, and wounds us, and pushes us to our limits.
And while there is no dooms-day-betrayal-bunker we can escape to, it will happen to most of us. Loyalty will be broken and betrayal will be the stench in its wake. But do not be surprised, especially if you follow Christ.
You see, I always thought that following in the footsteps of Christ meant that there would be hard days, but he would carry me through. He does. When there are happy times and victories in ministry, he will share in those. He does. But I naively thought that betrayal was something that happened to ‘other’ people… but then after I felt deeply betrayed by those I thought had my best interest at heart, whom i trusted, whom i would have walked through fire with…I realized…if I want to walk in the steps of Jesus (metaphorically of course)…I needed to have a really good Judas experience. And I did. Obviously it was different than Jesus, but it was mine.
If we are Christ followers, we will inevitably have our own ‘Judas experience’ and we will taste the sting of bitterness through betrayal. Take heart in those times, and take comfort in that God will use this grow you and share his love for you. This is not the last thing in your story, in fact it is a part that Jesus is more present than you think.