While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
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A long while back, a friend I had grown close to decided to end our relationship. As gently as I could, I had tried to help her make an adjustment in her ministry, because her approach to people—though I believe it to be well-intended—had ended up wounding people. My friend did not take the correction well. In the midst of my grief over the loss of that friendship, I wrote a post called, Beauty in Shadows, which focused more on the beauty God had brought out of that darkness than the actual darkness itself. But I still remember the ache in my heart, and I have to believe it was the same ache Jesus felt when Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. You expect betrayal from strangers, but not from a friend. Heart open and guard down, you’re unprepared for the thrust of that sword.
Why did Jesus have to endure betrayal from one who had been His friend? I think because at the end of His life here, He experienced grief upon grief, pain upon pain, and loss upon loss. The extremity of the price He paid for our redemption would have been lessened without that kiss. And we would not know with certainty that He is familiar with all our ways if he had not stood there in the garden, looking into the face of a friend, and received that kiss on His cheek.
No one has quite captured that grief like Michael Card. Here he is singing my favorite of his songs, entitled, Why. I don’t usually share live videos, because the acoustics are never as good as the studio version, and because of what you see at the beginning of this one: shaky footage. But the story behind this song is so interesting I had to share it here. (Lyrics below video)
Why did it have to be a friend who chose to betray the Lord?
And why did he use a kiss to show them, that’s not what a kiss is for
Only a friend can betray a friend, a stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough to ever cause so much pain
Why did it have to be a thorny crown placed upon his head?
It should have been a royal one, made of jewels and gold instead
It had to be a crown of thorns, because in this world that we live
For all who would seek to love a thorn is all the world has to give
Why did it have to be a heavy cross He was made to bear?
And why did they nail His feet and hands; His love would have held him there
It was a cross for on a cross, a thief was supposed to pay
And Jesus had come into the world to steal every heart away
Yes, Jesus had come into the world to steal every heart away