Who's Close Enough to Kiss You?

For some reason I can’t stop thinking about Jesus’ “inner circle”…those that he chose to surround himself with to accomplish his ministry…

And I keep getting hung up on Judas!

I mean, I get why he chose many of the others…all from different walks of life…all “regular”, ordinary people…all with something unique to bring to the table.

I don’t really struggle with “Why Judas?” when I think about the full scope of Christ’s mission – after  all, someone had to betray him in order for his crucifixion to be accomplished, but still – in my humanity – I do struggle with the choice…

There had to be so many others so much more worthy…eager…authentic…

Of course, then I realize I’m thinking from a human perspective about who I want my friends to be – when the question I should always ask is:  “What is my purpose, and does this relationship help me accomplish that?”

…not “Does this relationship make me feel better about myself?”

Bringing Judas into the most intimate of Jesus’ circle could never have been about how that made Jesus feel.  It just couldn’t – especially when you remember that he knew all of Judas’ thoughts and motives.

Can you imagine how difficult it must have been, for Jesus, when Judas would think about how he was really fooling Jesus…or wonder why Jesus hadn’t figured out what was really going on, and the whole time Jesus was seeing things with complete clarity…feeling every lie…every betrayal?

And yet he chose to keep Judas close enough…close enough to really hurt him…close enough to kiss him on the cheek.

This causes me to be mindful of some things as I make my own choices about who to surround myself with, and it causes me to ask myself some questions:

  • Do I seek to be around people who validate my emotions rather than my purpose?
  • Do I desperately seek the approval of others or desperately seek God’s Will no matter how uncomfortable I may be in the process?
  • Do I sacrifice truth for flattery?
  • Am I blinded to the true nature of someone who I allow to influence me?
  • Is accomplishing the work of God more important than my feelings…or even my “success”?
  • Do I define “betrayal” always in a personal context, or can I have a broader perspective that the ultimate betrayal is an inability to further the mission of God?

I guess the ultimate question is “What’s the most important thing:  my feelings or God’s purpose?”

The Garden Path

The Garden Path

Jesus chose to make himself supremely UNcomfortable so that he could fulfill the work of his Father…nothing else really mattered.  But, in this choice remained a keen awareness that there were those around him that were not genuine.  This is why he took only 3 – Peter, James & John – with him when he went to the garden to pray.

Being about the Work of the Father will often leave you exposed to the kiss of betrayal…and those who can truly betray you are often those to whom you have been the closest…loved the most.  After all, to kiss you on the cheek they must be close enough to do so…

…closer than a brother.

So, of course we have the grave responsibility to choose our most intimate relationships wisely…but also we do not have the right to put our own feelings above the work of Christ.

And that can…will lead you through some dark gardens at midnight.

But it will also lead to the ultimate Glory of the Father – which is all that should matter to the follower of Christ.

After all, it was all that mattered to him – even through the pain of the kiss!

Be encouraged today that this life is not all there is…the deep pains of the journey are not the end of the story!

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the Glory that will be revealed in us.”  Romans 8:17-19

The struggle WILL lead us home…