And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. And they laid their hands on him, and took him.
Judas was one of the twelve. In the whole of history, there were only twelve. Twelve out of billions and billions of people to ever live had that rare privilege of being called a disciple, being part of that special group of Jesus’ followers. And what had Judas done with that opportunity? He had become the most notorious betrayer of all time. He came against Jesus with a mob bearing weapons and ill intent. He came to deliver Jesus—Son of God, Son of man, sinless Lamb—to the cruelest death imaginable.
Judas came with a kiss but no love, no affection, no appreciation. He came with evil and sin in his heart. He came unaffected by the grace and mercy and the evident compassion he had witnessed in Jesus. He came undeterred by the holy power that resided within his Master. He came with pride and selfishness driving him forward to complete his own plan and satisfy his own desires. He came with a lack of concern for anyone else. He came in aid of the evil one, opposed to God.
Jesus was right to say it would have been better for the one who betrayed to never have been born. What a bitter end Judas faced. What a wasted life. What a missed opportunity. But what do we do with our opportunity to know and serve Jesus? It is still a privilege to know Him, to be His disciple, to follow and obey the Master. We may not go to the extreme that Judas did, but do we ever betray Him with our thoughts, attitudes, or disobedience? Are we selfish with what He’s given to us? Do we go against Him? Do we treat Him like less than the holy and righteous and worthy Son of God?
It’s hard to imagine that Judas could walk with Jesus like he did and end up betraying him in the end. After all that he saw and heard and experienced following Jesus, his heart and life were left seemingly unchanged. Perhaps he did not intend for Jesus to die because of what he had done, but that was still the result of his actions. May we guard carefully our relationship with Jesus. Let’s not underestimate our own potential to betray. Let’s not take for granted the privilege we have to know Him, to love Him, and to live for Him.