Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
We think of Judas Iscariot, and we think of one who is a castoff, yes a renegade, a person who not only lost his way, but was on the wrong way all along, at least for a significant portion of his time with Jesus. Yes, he was numbered with the Twelve, but he was the betrayer, the one who sold Jesus for fifty pieces of silver, the one whose hands had been in the till, even as the keeper of the money bag.
But Jesus saw things differently, troubled in spirit that one of these of the Twelve would end up betraying him. Jesus acknowledged that whoever would do such a thing had more than lost their way. Yet he called Judas friend to the end.
Jesus suffered the loss of one he counted as a close friend. This may happen to us. One who had been a friend may turn on us as an enemy. Or another friend may seem disloyal and distant to the point of rude. What do we do during such times?
In our Lord’s case this was concerning how his death, inevitable as it was, was going to unfold and take place. It hurt, and Judas afterward was hurt, confessing to the Jewish religious leaders with whom he had made the deal that he was guilty of innocent blood, and casting the money back into their face. And then hanging himself. Jesus must have been troubled that this was how it was to end for one of the Twelve. And indeed the thought of being betrayed by a friend had to cut to the heart.
There are no easy answers for this. We must forgive others from our hearts whatever wrong they have committed against us, and forgive them when they repent. We must be people of grace, knowing we need forgiveness as well. But the hurt and loss will go on.
A different slant on this: How often are we the betrayers? How often do we sell the Lord for something far less, in comparison for nothing at all? And later are we like Peter who repented of his denials of Jesus? Or are we like Judas, who instead of repenting and receiving God’s grace of forgiveness, hanged himself?
And so we go on. In and through Jesus accepting forgiveness as we forgive others, and love them as friends to the end. Even as we meditate on our Lord’s sufferings which included Judas’ betrayal. Together in Jesus for the world.