SUMMARY: On this day in history, the betrayer Judas sells out his master out for a small payment of silver. And it is no doubt that we have all lived in some moment of betrayal. Today discover the incredible beauty of a man who endured betrayal and left us an example of want it means to be a resolute man.
Today is Tuesday of Holy Week and I think is a noble task to spend time this week reflecting on the Passion of Christ and the final events of Christ’s life. This week I want to guide you through a few thoughts as we head into Sunday. You know I think we often unintentionally cheapen resurrection Sunday when we don’t take the time to reflect on the events of this week. This year I want to challenge you with a short thought each day, as we travel the passion week with Christ. Now I am going to be drawing attention to a few details of Jesus’ last week, but I especially want to consider how Jesus might have felt this week. I wanted to do this with you so we can create a rich spiritual connection to resurrection Sunday. Each of the coming days I want to give you a short thought that will give you something to reflect on and act on each day. And it is my hope that this will bless you spiritually. You might also share these thoughts with a friend or family members to influence their experience this year as well. Today is Tuesday. There were a few occurrences on this day in Jesus’ life. These include:
• His departure from Bethany and return to Jerusalem which was a short distance from this neighboring town.
• They pass the fig tree that Jesus cursed that is now dead.
• Jesus takes the temple grounds and pronounces woes on his enemies.
• Jesus leaves the city and gives the Olivet Discourse.
• Judas bargains with the chief priests for the betrayal of Jesus’ life
• Jesus spends the night in Bethany again.
With all these happening I just want to focus our attention on one of these incidents. It is the occurrence of Judas’ betrayal. Here is how the text reads in Matthew chapter 26 verses 1-5 and 14-16.
1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” 14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
I meet with men and their spouses quite frequently on the topic of marital betrayal. Often this involves men who have betrayed the covenant of marriage and damaged their relationship with their spouse either sexually or emotionally with another woman. A betrayal that was motivated by the loss of control that ignites a need for a momentary empowerment which triggers a violation of godly values, – for example, the purity of our marriage. This disastrous attempt to seek empowerment is very short-lived and results in a continued emptiness which leaves a man feeling a mild emotional low causing the desire for more empowerment that only intensifies. And once we start feeding this evil cycle, each time it increases our need and frequency for more betrayal. And like any addictive cycle, we keep coming back for more until we have the courage to break the cycle or until we finally get caught. And what both parties must decide at this point, is if they are willing to invest the time and energy to push through the event, the underlying issues, and the energy and effort required to develop new patterns that will lead to healing down the road. In some cases, some do, and in some cases, other don’t. Either way, betrayal leads to the long road of healing. As there are men listening today who have for certain lived through betrayal, or maybe currently are, we learn that when our unspoken and unmet needs in our relationships are allowed to incubate they will spread like a deadly virus in our life. This progression will continue as we stop caring for, giving attention to, and fighting for what is righteous and godly. And for the men who have been through this, it is at this moment we have to choose to fight and push through. Not with the person we have betrayed or has betrayed us, but we have to fight the urge to quit, give up, and throw in the towel. Becuase at this instance, we have a choice to betray again. And this time it is not others — but ourselves. And this is a profound form of betrayal; it is self-betrayal. As we look back to Jesus on this day in his life, we see that one man’s unmet needs and human desires for empowerment led to betrayal. All instigated by feelings that cascaded out of control. And you know, we have all been betrayed by someone. That someone for you could be a spouse, a friend, a peer, or a family member. And the feelings that come with this are never good. A sense of shock, numbness, disbelief, confusion, reflection, anger, shame and regret typically accompany this experience. And this can result in sleepless nights that often physically exhausted and discouraged. But there is good news. If you are feeling betrayed today, then you are not as alone. Your Savior knows what this feels like and to a far greater degree. It must be a desolate feeling to have divine knowledge that a trusted friend has arranged to violate your confidence with events that will lead to your death. And what is unique about Jesus’ situation is that he has divine knowledge of all it, and we do not. Jesus knows what Judas was planning as he left the group and what he was saying as he met with the high officials. Jesus is so knowledgeable of this betrayal that he even calls Judas out at the last meal. In knowing all this Jesus continues to experience the full ramifications of betrayal when he could have intervened at any time. With full knowledge of this event, he remains faithful to his mission. Betrayal was only a small setback for the moment that would not deter our Savior from his ultimate goal. And what were his goals, to be faithfulness to his call as a man of God, so that he might save the world from the ramification of sin and the root issues of betrayal?
So today my challenge for you today is this. Remain resolute even in betrayal. But there will two types of men hearing this. First is the man who feels betrayed. Maybe today you feel betrayed at work, home or with a friend. Take emotional inventory and get in touch in with your feelings, why you feel this way, and what you need through the betrayal, but never, never, never compromise the higher mission and calling of your life. Continue to love those who persecute you, those that hurl insults at you, and even those that despise you. Love them and Christ loved you. Second are the men who are betrayers. For you, you need to seek repentance and reconciliation. Take strong action against your sin and lean into the individual issues that are eating away at your soul. Deal with it before it finds you out and summon the courage to be the man that God wants you to be. You have two choices; you can take the path of Judas or take the path of Peter. Both live in some form of denial about Jesus, but only one leans into his denial to come out on the other side a greater man for enduring the pain and discovering the spiritual healing that leads to life.