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Learning from the Shadows 3: Betrayal


Issue 330

An enemy can never betray you because an enemy, by definition, is already committed to your worst interests. Betrayal will always  come from within the ranks of those whom you considered to be on your side or in your team. Betrayal always carries the sting in the soul, because it comes wrapped in the kiss of an ally.

Judas was part of Jesus’ team. He was on Jesus’ side, chosen with eleven others to be with him. It is this inside track which makes the journey to betrayal so hard for the betrayed to bear.

Remember we are looking at a work context. Judas was part of the first team to share in the life’s work of Jesus of Nazareth. It was a working relationship and so its nature reveals lessons for your work.

Because of the painful torment of betrayal it can be seen as an extreme test of your ability to deal with disappointment, resentment and injustice. Some have even labelled this ‘the Judas test’.

As you read this piece you may become aware of individuals at work whom you have trusted but who have turned against you. Some of the turning may have been slight and insignificant such as a shift of loyalty or a broken agreement. Others may have turned so completely that the wounds are hard to overcome and recovery is slow.

Jesus’ management of Judas’ betrayal reveals a few important principles. He, of course, knew well in advance of Judas’ plot – something which you may not have in your gift. Nevertheless, Jesus seems to have used this knowledge to create opportunities for Judas to see that Jesus knew and even reconsider his position.

As events unfolded Jesus made it clearer and clearer to Judas that he knew and made his approach increasingly more assertive.

The key principle, however, is that Jesus did not let Judas’ behaviour in any way pollute his own mind or deflect him from his life’s mission. On the contrary, Jesus would harness Judas’ betrayal and make it serve his purposes.

Make no mistake; this would have been a very painful experience for Jesus the man. One of his own was giving him away and there is no painless way to deal with that. Jesus, however, saw past Judas to his own destiny and held on to his own chosen path. It is the call to stay true to yourself which emerges from Jesus’ handling of Judas.

Before you walk away with the lessons culled from Jesus’ response, you may want to reflect on your own ‘Judas’ moments. There may have been times when you have betrayed a confidence, turned against a former ally or even betrayed Jesus himself. For Judas there seemed to be no way back, which illustrates the fearful nature of betrayal. Jesus, however, was not deflected and it is in the end of his journey, not Judas’, that our hope lies.


Matthew 26:47-50

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”

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Series: Shadows
Module: 2
Season: -
Daily Guide: No

Tags: betrayal, disappointment, friend, mission, purpose trust

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Geoff Shattock

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