Good Friday 2021: 5 – Betrayal by Judas

5 - Betrayal by Judas

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:1-6)

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:20-25)

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. (Mark 14:43-46)

Have you ever been betrayed by someone you love? How did it feel? Imagine for a few moments that you are in Jesus’ shoes. He is about to suffer the greatest loneliness the world has ever known – betrayed by one friend, denied by another… abandoned by nearly everyone else… feeling forsaken even by his Father.

It is easy for us to judge Judas, but are we guilty, too? As a zealot, Judas was committed to the ideology that the Messiah would violently overthrow the Roman oppressors and establish a literal throne from which he would rule the people of Israel and the world. Perhaps his betrayal was a way to force Jesus’ hand… to make God do what humans want God to do.

Have you ever been tempted in that way? Frustrated with God because things are happening the way you think they should? Or are taking way too long? Have you ever felt that maybe Jesus wasn’t the savior you were expecting? Have you ever tried to force God’s hand, to push him, to rush him? Have you ever believed in your own schemes rather than trusting in God’s purposes? Talk with God about these temptations to betrayal… ask forgiveness if it is needed… and listen to what God might want you to know about these, or other, betrayal patterns in your life.