As we meditate and pray during this season of Lent, one aspect of the upcoming days of Jesus’ trial is clear: there was a betrayal. This betrayal led the guards to finding Jesus, arresting him, and eventually his dying a brutal death nailed to a cross.
What is quite remarkable, however, is how Jesus responds to Judas. Even though Jesus knew what would happen, he still kept Judas near him as one of his twelve disciples.
The same is true for Peter. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him, yet Jesus still washed Peter’s feet.
Jesus still kept them near. He did not deny them nor betray them, but served and loved them.
If it were not Judas, though, it would have been someone else. It could have been me. Or you. God’s plan will be carried out. If we are honest, we know we also betray Jesus. Have we denied him? We betray him.
“There is no one righteous, not even one…” (Romans 3:10). Even so, to all of us who are unrighteous, we are all offered the gift of reconciliation to God Himself. We are all offered the hope of restoration and redemption. The scabs of our wounds, the scars of sin, and the scratches of pain may be healed, restored, and transformed into gifts that flow from our words, hands, and feet. We are new creatures, sewn up from the inside, able to give love and shine a light into darkness around us.
We have hope to live an abundant life on earth. We have hope for eternal life spent with God. With this kind of hope, this kind of love, our pain transforms into joy, which spreads to others in this hurting world—all made possible by forgiveness. That is love. That is Jesus.
Below is a poem I wrote a few years ago, meditating about Judas’ betrayal, our betrayal, Jesus’ response, and the hope and love that flowers and blossoms out of God’s love for us.
Scar on the Cheek
The kiss on the cheek
planted swift, turns
to thorny scratch, burns
long and thin, drips
red on black dirt.
Fragile petals live a breath
away, a thin vein from death.
Roses keep distant,
far from drawn swords
ready to impale petal-skin.
Repent and attempt
to pluck stems
of delicate short-lived beauty,
for arrangements in a vase,
that fragrance may erase
the scent of love’s demise.
But watch when red drips:
seeds bloom anew,
emit ethereal perfume, transform
into wild, vibrant, hybrid,
blood-red rose. Are you a rose?
Are you a thorn?
Or one scratched by scorn
of deceiver’s kiss?
Show me your scar.
Prasanta Verma, a poet, writer, and artist, is a member of The Contemplative Writer team. Born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills, Prasanta currently lives in the Midwest, is a mom of three, and also coaches high school debate. You can find her on Twitter @ pathoftreasure, Instagram prasanta_v_writer, and at her website: https://pathoftreasure.wordpress.com/.