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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Knapp

Betrayed By A Friend But Redeemed

I opened the email from my friend and read the words in disbelief. Instead of a cheery letter full of news, she wrote to me of hurt, betrayal, and actions she felt I had taken against our friendship. She spoke of other friends who agreed with her as they gossiped behind my back.

Tears blurred the writing as I continued to read, struggling against the lump in my throat. Her words pierced my heart like an arrow as I felt the pain of rejection. As I absorbed her words, I became defensive at the perceived injustice of her allegations. My hands began to shake with anger as I read her list of accusations.

In my anger, I furiously wrote a four-page reply clarifying and justifying my perspective of the misunderstanding.

Thankfully, I never sent it. 

Instead, I took it to God in prayer. It wasn’t easy to forgive, but the wounds healed. Over time our relationship was restored. Only by the grace of God can we forgive others who have hurt us. Jesus forgave me for so much, so who am I to withhold forgiveness? 

Her words of betrayal felt like a violation of trust that blindsided me. My heart, crushed by her words of treachery, experienced grief over the lost relationship. 

I was emotionally devastated. My anger was my defence against the hurt. 

We’ve all been there.

It may be a friend, neighbour, family member, co-worker, or even a spouse who broke your trust and betrayed you. It leaves a hole in your heart. Grief and sadness over the broken relationship make it difficult to trust anyone again. 

Jesus understands. He was betrayed too. By one of his closest friends, one he trusted and treated as a brother. 

One who became a traitor. 

As Jesus and his disciples were enjoying a Passover feast in Jerusalem, Jesus upsets everyone at the dinner when he said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me’. (John 13:2) Then continues to identify his betrayer. “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.” (John 13:26) “Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:25) 

In the confused aftermath of Jesus' statement, He stares into the eyes of Judas and quietly says: “Whatever you are going to do, do it quickly”.(John 13:27) I suspect there were tears in his eyes and sorrow in his voice when he said this. His heart was broken.  Jesus was God, but he was fully human too. He would have been devastated by the broken trust of His friend.

Jesus knew. He knew Judas would conspire with the chief priests to have him arrested, tried, tortured, and eventually killed. Not only was Jesus betrayed by one of his closest friends, but there was a larger conspiracy against him. (Matthew 26:14-16)

Jesus knew. But did Judas fully know what he was doing as he conspired against his master, brother, and friend? What was the motive behind Judas’s betrayal?  Was he motivated by greed? (John 12:4-6) Was he tempted by Satan? (John 13:27 and Luke 22:3) Whatever the motive,  God used Judas and his betrayal to fulfill the prophecies about Jesus being sold for thirty pieces of silver. (Zech 11:12)

Jesus knew. He knew what was to come. He loved humanity enough to suffer the humiliation of the conspiracy and betrayal to follow through with God’s plan of redemption. Jesus trusted God to fulfill the prophecies of generations to save the lost and reunite us with the Father.  Jesus also forecasts scripture's fulfilment, predicting his death as the Messiah (John 13:18). 

Jesus knew. He knew his death was coming. After Judas leaves the upper room, Jesus spends time with the remaining disciples, giving them further instructions for when he will no longer be with them. He foretells what will come after his death, teaches them, and a new commandment is declared: 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”(John 13:34)

Jesus knew. He knew that Judas’s betrayal was leading to His death and resurrection. He knew the cruel and painful death He would experience to fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah and become our redeemer. 

Jesus knew. He knew that Judas, soldiers, and the Chief Priests would come to arrest him in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus stood facing the crowd and allowed Judas to approach him as a friend. Then as he looked him in the eye, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. (Matthew 26:47-50)

Jesus knew! And he showed up anyway. He loves us that much! 

Wow, the courage he had to follow through with God’s plan when He knew the torture and pain of what was to come! He knew he would suffer and die for our sins, to rise again to be seated at the right hand of God, to bring us into a right relationship with God the Father once again.

Despite being betrayed by Judas, Jesus was still faithfully obedient to complete the will of his Father and fulfilled his mission on the cross. Through grace and mercy, Jesus forgave his betrayer. Instead of being angry, Jesus loves and forgives. He redeems.

Even when we betray him, we are redeemed. We are redeemed by his sacrifice and emboldened by his example to love and forgive those who have betrayed us. Let us follow his example to forgive instead of react in anger and to redeem our relationships in love.

(Originally published in Unveiled Living E-Magazine April 2024)

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Sharon Greiner
Sharon Greiner
May 24
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Jesus knew & so often so do we yet we too are called to show up, be kind. In His strength!

May 26
Replying to

yes, He was the best example

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