Could you imagine if tonight you knew one of your closest friends would betray you and you’d be arrested?
The Jewish passover began at sundown Thursday evening. So that meant he had a long day of waiting for the sun to set.
At sunset, Jesus and his disciples went to the upper room to share their passover meal. Before this dinner – Judas had already betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Matthew 26:14 tells us this was Judas’ own idea – he was not propositioned by the religious leaders, he went to them! He said “what are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” And now Jesus sits in the upper room and the first thing he says is “one of you will betray me tonight… Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Can you imagine the pit in Judas’ stomach? What was he thinking? How could he sit there without saying a word?
After dinner, Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and there Judas arrives with the soldiers following him and he greets Jesus “Greetings Rabbi (Teacher)! and he kissed him.” Jesus replied “FRIEND, do what you came for.”
Did we just hear Jesus correctly – did he call Judas, his betrayer, his friend? Trust me, if a “so-called” friend had just turned me in for something I was innocent of – “friend” is not the term I’d use to describe them.
Jesus treated his betrayer as if he was faithful.
Max Lucado says of Judas “Jesus could see something we can’t… Jesus knew Judas had been seduced by a powerful foe. He was aware of the wiles of Satan’s whispers. He knew how hard it was for Judas to do what was right. He didn’t justify what Judas did. He didn’t minimize the deed. Nor did he release Judas from his choice. But he did look eye to eye with his betrayer and try to understand. As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken. But when you try to understand and release your foe from your hatred, then the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you.”
Has a close friend or relative betrayed you? How have you responded? Jesus treated his betrayer as if he was faithful. The word “Christian” means a follower of Christ. If you are a Christian – follow Christ’s example. Try to understand that there is a powerful foe that is having victory in your betrayer’s life.
In the end, Judas was overcome with guilt. He tried to return the money to the chief priests but they would not accept it. “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hung himself.” (Matt. 27:5)
Your betrayer is in his own prison of misery. Release your foe from your hatred – and be free. Jesus went to the cross so you could live in freedom!
Walk with the King!