Betrayed By A Kiss

“But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

Luke 22:48  

Studying the book of Psalms this past week for our midweek service I decided to get back on my bike and go for a ride before church after many months off as I deal with a variety of health issues that hinder me but don’t prevent me from doing something I love to do. Riding my bike has always been a release for me, a place to escape the crowds, I call it my office on wheels where I meet with God, where I listen for His voice, worship and pray. I have missed those times.  Wednesday was like old times as no sooner had I hit the bike path that the Lord met me there and was with me every pedal stroke of the way. My body ached but my heart rejoiced. My mind felt like it was going to explode trying to remember all the things the Lord was sharing with me. It’s not easy to take notes on your phone while pedaling a bicycle and I don’t recommend it for obvious reasons.

Reading through a variety of Psalms all that day and taking notes on them I found myself studying a section of Scripture that had a reoccurring theme, that being betrayal. David found himself living on the run, fleeing for his life. He didn’t have anyone he could trust any more. It seemed like all those who had once stood with him now betrayed him and he was overwhelmed by the pain associated with it. It’s important to remember that every bible story is pointing us to the ultimate story of Jesus. No one has suffered betrayal like Jesus, no one knows the pain of infidelity like our Lord.

In psalm 55 you get the sense of what betrayal feels like, the emotional toll it takes on a person. Maybe you can relate to what David pens in the opening verses,

1  Give ear to my prayer, O God, And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
2  Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily,
3  Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the oppression of the wicked; For they bring down trouble upon me, And in wrath they hate me.
4  My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5  Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.
6  So I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
7  Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah

David is so distraught over the treatment he is receiving he finds himself shaking. Can you relate? The pain of betrayal has moved from his head down into to his heart and soul, he feels the oppression of betrayal so deep he has this sense he is going to die, or maybe he just wants too. One thing for sure is he can only wish he had wings like a bird and escape to some place far away. If you have ever been betrayed or had your heart broken by another you are probably aware of these same feelings. The psalm continues,

10  Day and night they go around it on its walls; Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it.
11  Destruction is in its midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets.
12  For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him.
13  But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance.
14  We took sweet counsel together, And walked to the house of God in the throng.

Here’s where the knife is thrust in and turned so to speak. David knows that there is wickedness in this world. It’s to be expected in its fallen state and he sees it all around him and it doesn’t detour him. What floors him, what sucker punches him is where the betrayal comes from. It wasn’t an enemy who wounded him so deeply, it was a trusted friend, a companion with whom he once sat and took sweet counsel together. That is to say someone he opened his heart too, someone who he had become vulnerable with and whom was part of his inner circle. Someone he even once attended church with.

If there is any comfort thus far in this psalm it’s knowing if you have been betrayed by someone close to you, you are not alone and not just because David, the King of Israel can relate to you but even more so, because the King of Kings, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ relates to you.  

As I was praying and listening to the Lord, He quickened a verse to my mind from the gospels where Judas Iscariot comes under the cover of darkness to the garden where Jesus would often retreat with His disciples to pray and would give Jesus a kiss on his cheek as a sign to Jesus captors that He was the one that were searching for to arrest and put to death. Luke 22:48 records it like this, "But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
No sooner had that thought entered my mind a song by singer and songwriter Michael Card titled “Why” began playing in my head. The words to the song go like this,

“Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
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

And why did there have to be thorny
Crown pressed upon His head
It should have been the royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead

It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all who seek to love
A thorn is all the world has to give

And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to bare
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”

After all this I felt a heavy burden to pray for those in our church who have suffered through an ugly divorce or who are facing one currently. Especially for those who have been betrayed and find their world flipped upside down questioning everyone from God to the mail person now as to what the motives are for being in their life. Betrayal doesn’t just mess with your mind and your heart, it has the ability to change the way you see people, the way you see the world.

Jesus was never married but He knows the pain of infidelity, betrayal by an act of intimacy, utter and complete rejection more than any other person in the history of the world. It’s why we must look to Jesus for the right answers, and look to Him alone to navigate our soul tsunami.

Know this loved one, you can heal when you allow God to use your pain for His glory. This is the secret to moving forward in life and rediscovering the joy of the Lord. What if what you are going through isn’t about you? What if it’s about Jesus and how you and I can better relate and identify with Him. Suffering is something Jesus did and when you and I suffer, we feel a connection to God we would not know otherwise. This is true with everything. The key then to life is to look for God in everything for He is there. I love the expression “God never wastes a hurt” and its true if we allow Him to do His perfect work in us.

Betrayal is painful but it need not be final. Betrayal doesn’t have to make us jaded or bitter, we can allow God to use it to make us better. Don’t allow the pain and hurts of this life to make you callous and uncaring, bring your hurt and pain to God and let Him draw you close and make you more like Him. That's His goal after all, to make us more like Jesus.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Romans 8:29


Michael Osthimer





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