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November 29, 2014

Have you ever been betrayed? It is a horrible feeling, and especially if it is done by someone you called a friend. This experience is extremely hurtful and has changed the way many people view the world and the people with whom they come in contact. Today, I am going to share how Jesus handled the betrayal test at the hands of someone who was supposed to be his disciple and a friend. Let me start with the definition of the word betray and then discuss how Judas betrayed Jesus.

Betray = 1. to aid an enemy of (one’s nation, friend,) 2. to hand over or expose treacherously to an enemy 3. to disclose (a secret, confidence,) 4. to break (a promise) or be disloyal to (a person’s trust) 5. to disappoint the expectations of; fail 6. to show signs of; indicate 7. to reveal unintentionally 8. to lead astray; deceive 9. (euphemistic) to seduce and then forsake.

Little is revealed in the Bible about the life of Judas Iscariot who was the son of Simon (John 6:71) and who was a Judean from the town of Kerioth in southern Judah. He is first introduced to readers as one of the twelve ordained disciples that Jesus chooses to be with him, and that he would send out to preach, heal sicknesses, and cast out devils (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16). Also, noted in the group of twelve, Judas served as the treasurer who handled the monies, and unfortunately he did not have compassion for poor people as Jesus did, but instead he was a thief(John 12:6; 13:29).

It is interesting to observe the actions of Jesus toward Judas. Judas ministered with Jesus for three years, and despite his character flaws, Jesus did not expose him nor treat him contemptuously. Jesus knew that his ministry time on earth was coming to an end, he knew that Satan had entered Judas, and he had plotted with the chief priests to betray him for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-14; Luke 22:1-6), yet, he washed his feet (John 13:12) and ate his last supper with him sharing bread that was dipped into this bowl which denotes a mark of honor. It was during this supper that Jesus revealed Judas as the betrayer and that for this heinous act it would have been better for Judas not to have been born (Matthew 26:20-24; Mark 14:17-21; Luke 22:21-22; John 13:18-26). Judas being delusional and deceptive asked Jesus was he the one to whom Jesus was referring (Matthew 26:25). Jesus answered him affirmatively and dismissed Judas who goes to the chief priest and temple officials to bring them to Jesus while the multitude that followed him was absent.

Since it was nighttime, a signal was predetermined to alert the officials who Jesus was. So, when Judas arrives at the Garden of Gethsemane with a great multitude of men with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people the scripture states in Matthew 26:47-50, “And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.” There are many types of kisses, but the kiss on the cheek was the customary way a pupil greeted a Rabbi in Biblical times, and it denoted affection, greeting, and respect. Ironically, Judas kiss was that of a traitor and an accomplice. Since these men were coming to capture Jesus at night, his actions would be the sure way to know that they had captured the right man. This scripture further state, “And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?” What is amazing to me is, Jesus, knew who he was and what he had done still considered him a friend. Unlike us, Jesus did not hold on to grudges or resentment even when death by crucifixion was pending.

After Jesus is captured and taken in custody Judas remorsefully realizes what he has done, Judas admits that he has betrayed an innocent man, and he attempts to return the silver which was a comparatively modest sum for his act of betrayal to the chief priest who refuses to accept it. Judas who served with Jesus did not learn the many valuable lessons that Jesus had taught on servanthood, riches, and forgiveness. If he did, maybe he would have repented and ask God for forgiveness instead of committing suicide by hanging himself (Matthew 27:3-10; Acts1:15-20).

From the life of Judas, we learn what we should not be: a traitor and betrayer of an innocent person. From his interactions with Jesus and the teachings of Jesus on last day occurrences, we learn how to respond to a person that we know means us harm and not good. It is a tall order to follow, but it can be done with the much-needed help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus passed the betrayal test, and so can you. Remember, the next time your Judas comes to kiss you, call him a friend and leave his demise in the hands of God.

From → Test Series

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