Our Savior Is Betrayed

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Matthew 26:30-68, Luke 22:55-62, Isaiah 53:7

The summer I was seventeen, I spent a few weeks house sitting for family friends. The house was beautiful, the owners had cable, and I got to have full independence so, let’s be honest, they were doing me the favor. I was working down the road at a country club in the esteemed dual position of waitress and lifeguard, and after work, sometimes the cool kids wanted to come hang at my house. I definitely did not have permission to bring lifeguards and bartenders back to the house, but I was intoxicated with the independence that only real estate can bring. When the homeowners returned, they found a picture frame upstairs that someone had accidentally broken, and every once in a while, I still feel a little prick of embarrassment due to my betrayal.

I had one job. But instead of doing it perfectly and responsibly, I did an okay job with a little betrayal along the way. I had watered the plants but failed to protect the house. We like to think that we are so close to getting it just right every time, but then some external factor seems to hold us back from pitching that perfect game. (If only I hadn’t been so young and naive! If only I’d had more time. If only I weren’t so tired.)

What if Judas felt the same way? He was so close to being a great disciple, but he missed the mark because the lure of silver proved too strong. When Judas joined the inner circle, he didn’t do it just so he could betray their leader.

Certainly the rest of the disciples intended to do a great job of following Jesus. Peter, James, and John wanted to stay awake and wait with Christ while He prayed in the garden. But then they grew tired, their eyes heavy, and every single one of them gave in to sleep.

If anyone could come close to showing us an example of perfect righteousness and devotion, surely it would have been Peter; he’s “the rock,” after all (Matthew 16:18). Peter strenuously insisted that he would never make the mistake of betraying Christ, but even his very best intentions were garbage by the time the rooster crowed. If even Peter betrayed Christ in His hour of need, where does that leave us?

Is it really just external hindrances holding us back, or is it possible that we don’t even understand how desperately we need the gospel? None of our righteousness—even our shiniest stuff—is sufficient. We all have Judas hearts, and even our best intentions are filthy rags. Our betrayals show us that, in big and small ways, our selfish interests are so strong we can’t resist those silver coins or those teenage lifeguards. We are all capable of deep betrayal.

When Judas arrives in the garden to betray Him, Jesus asks, “Friend,… why have you come?” (Matthew 26:50). And He asks us the same question: Why have we come? We come out of our desperate need for a Redeemer. We come with ash smeared on our faces.

Whether we feel like Judas or like Peter, we need Christ’s grace exactly the same. Even in our betrayals, Christ reaches out to His people with mercy. We are to come for this alone: Christ. We are to come for His perfect righteousness, leaning wholly upon Him, for He is the Messiah, the Son of God, and is now seated at the right hand of Power, and will come again in glory.

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48 thoughts on "Our Savior Is Betrayed"

  1. Sarah Minton says:

    This devotional reminded me of a time where I betrayed one of my best friends and hurt him even more by the way I acted as if it wasn’t a big deal. Even though he forgave me and I know Jesus forgives me, the hardest thing is forgiving myself.

  2. Jane Hulcy says:

    It makes me reflect on what I do and think about it as if I was one of the people around him and think how humble and loving he is

  3. Jen Nohrenberg says:

    So thankful for a community that loves Scripture. What a gift given by grace. For anyone reading this (saw a few comments) and just in the off chance anyone sees this that needs to – I Dont agree with the way that Judas is used here as ”having the best intentions” because it’s not about our efforts (I.e. Judas wasn’t condemned to hell because he didn’t try hard enough) so if anyone is reading this and has had serious concern about this – yes we are all capable of the worst evil, our hearts are deceitfully wicked above all else and we are Peters and betrayers but nothing happens outside the will of God/Christ so maybe in Judas brain he did have some sort of intention but Judas was designed for this role of betrayer as the son of perdition (John 17:12) so I say that to say we should never forget that God is fully sovereign so its not about our efforts. Yes repentance is KEY but even repetenance is granted to us and we should ask for it, turn to Jesus, and walk in that repentance. If we leave everything to our own efforts we would lose our salvation in a heartbeat. Praise God for the grace of His Son.

  4. Susan Crosby says:

    When I get an attitude of being above sin well just because of all the Godly things I “do” I am always reminded of this verse I learned so many years ago. All that’s all of our Righteousness is as filthy rags which in Hebrew means menstrual rags. Very humbling to say the least.

  5. Steph C says:

    How often I too choose sleep over prayer or time in God’s Word. It’s easy for me to “justify” that extra 30 minutes when I haven’t slept well or I’m in the middle of a rough work stretch. The truth is, when I’m weak or tired or emotionally drained, I need God. I need Him far more than I need an extra 30 minutes of “sleep”. I need to cling to Him. Pour out my heart to Him. Admit my desperate need of Him. Worship Him. Rest in Him. Delight in His perfections. He is my true need. Spending time at His feet is the “one needful thing”. He can restore my strength. He can refresh my heart. He can fill me with joy. I need Him!

  6. Heather Wyble says:

    I’ve never thought of it this way. Judas didn’t join to betray. Wow. Our best intentions are never enough. I struggle with starting good intentions, then doubting what my motivations are…it’s so hard but I have to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord. This was such a good reminder that without Jesus, anything “l” do is not enough.

  7. Tina says:

    Even knowing what was to come, Jesus still says and refers to Judas Iscariot as ” Friend.”


    Dictionary describes a friend as…friend(noun). a person you know well and regard with affection and trust.


    Would I be calling someone whom I know is going to betray me in the most awful way, for a few coins, my friend…

    Would I?
    Would I?

    I am afraid no matter how
    I splice it, my earthly, judgemental ‘not much like Jesus’ being, does not allow me to believe i would!

    But God…

    Thank God, for But God.. because we, mostly do not know things are going to happen until they Have, whether it is premeditated or not..

    I’m sitting here at the vets with my mother’s cat right now feeling as though I have betrayed both mum and the cat.. I am not a cat lover and the cats past history of scratching and attacking has not endeared me to him.. but I do all that needs doing to keep Him alive, warm, fed and watered..but that said I missed the scratches on his face that now need the vets attention..

    “… why have you come?” O Lord, I have come with a saddened heart at the rubbish way I live my life, I have come that by your sacrifice I will and can change..

    Thank you Jesus that though you know this sinner, you still felt me worthy to die for.. I must stop asking why and use this gift to be and do as Jesus trusted I can be.. Thank you Jesus. Forever I will praise you. Forever.. Forever..

  8. Gema says:

    After reading a few comments, I realized some of you ladies where confused about Peter being called the rock. Peter was a great disciple, he lead many people to God because God chose him to do that work for him. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it”. I hope this helps clear any questions ladies. God bless you all.

  9. Gema says:

    Today’s message was filled with so much, is amazing how we can read the Bible over and over and always miss something. After reading a few comments, I realized some of you ladies where confused about Peter being called the rock. Peter was a great disciple, he lead many people to God because God chose him to do that work for him. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it”. I hope this helps clear any questions ladies. God bless you all.

  10. Kristen Marino says:

    I’ve been thinking and reading about Jesus: how He lived, how He treated the outcast, how He healed, how He humbled Himself, how He taught is the way to live, and how He loved. What a beautiful Savior. I want to fall in love with Him and give Him the upmost praise!

    Also, for those talking about binge eating. There is a book called, Brain over Binge. I’ve heard some interviews with the author. There is also a book called, You are not Your Brain that I just bought. I think his view is from a Creation perspective. I haven’t read the first either, but people says it helped them. Even if it’s not a Christian perspective, I can give God the credit for anything learned from it.

  11. l bryant says:

    This hit home (directly) with some deep personal reflections I had been asking myself. Rebecca’s explanation was perfect, on the mark and had the most perfect timing for the self examination that I am currently in. Thank you!!!

  12. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    How I long to be in His Word more, to learn more about Him. But then, every morning, I find myself doing other things before getting into God’s Word. Lord, I come because I need your grace and mercy. I confess, I have denied you, not like Peter, but I have denied you in my actions and thoughts. Please forgive me. Thank you for sending Your Son to die for me, for just these reasons.
    Thank goodness, Sunday is coming.

  13. Amanda says:

    I believe if you look up the meaning of the name Peter, it means rock or stone. I believe this is what is being referred to in this devotion.

  14. Ana Love says:

    This verse: “ 61And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.””

    Ah. My heart aches reading it. Not only knowing the betrayal Jesus felt but knowing that I am peter. Getting caught in betrayal and realizing how badly I need Jesus. Today’s reading was heavy but I continue to thank God for sending his Son that even in distress follows through, shows up and never leaves.

  15. ME says:

    As I view Matthew 16, I do not see Peter as a “rock”. Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which the church is built. The confession that Peter made that Jesus was the Christ and this is the rock to which Jesus referred as being the foundation. The Old Testament calls the Lord as our Rock, our Fortress, our Strength. Psalms 18:31 “For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God?” Peter isn’t the rock. My foundation would have already crumbled if that were the case. My foundation is in the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

  16. Michelle Smith says:

    Sitting here weeping over words that I’ve read time and time again only today they jump out at me and fill my soul to overflowing “Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?’ I’m asking myself that question now even after 35 years of knowing my Savior, “Why, why have I come?’ I’ve come because I need Him today as much as I needed Him them. I need His presence constantly in my life. I can’t and don’t want to “do” life without Him. So my simple, earnest answer is “I come because I need Him.”

    1. Ashley Karekaho says:

      I love this!!!!

    2. Phyllis Ampumuza says:


  17. Matt DianeVincent says:

    I am struck by how much today’s scripture readings are filled with Jesus either prophesying or testifying that some event was the fulfillment of prophecy. Yet the disciples respond by either running away, denying Him, or betraying Him. The religious leaders spit in His face and slap Him.
    My reaction to this is to realize that I am no better than they are. How often have I ignored the clear teaching of His Word. How often have I denied Him by living as if He never died for my sin. How I too need His forgiveness and grace!

  18. Matt DianeVincent says:

    I was really struck by how today’sfilled scripture was

  19. Keke Orozco says:

    And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

    Let this be my prayer when I am faced with the storm Lord.

  20. Shelby Storrie says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever even put it together that Judas was not the only one to betray Christ that night. Even Peter, His Rock, betrayed him… several times. Yet Christ welcomed him back with open arms, giving him the task of loving His people when He was gone. Even when (not if) we betray God… He calls us back, loves us, equips us and sends us out to love His people.

  21. Jennifer Lopez says:

    I have been having the same temptations Tracy. And I also found this verse important. I will be praying for you as I know that with Christ anything is possible.

  22. Stacey Wilson says:

    He called Judas, “Friend.” FRIEND?!? He knew what was happening and still called him friend. The mercy and grace of Jesus is beyond fathomable.

  23. Stephanie says:

    I think it is so easy for us to forget that even with Jesus in our lives, we will still sin. Sometimes I expect more from myself. While I should continue to follow Jesus and try to be like him I will NEVER BE Jesus. Only he is perfect. There is no point where you’ve “made it” as a Christian in this world. We will continue to sin while we live in this imperfect home. Remembering Peter helps me with this.

  24. Monica Davis says:

    Soon coming king worthy to receive glory!

  25. Aimee D says:

    We are all capable of deep betrayal. Sigh. Truth hurts. TRUTH saves! Thank you Jesus!

  26. Kara says:

    Jesus knew every single friend would betray him. He knew he could call down angels from heaven or perform any miracle he chose to save his life or even show his upper hand. And yet…our Lord chose to suffer because he knew that’s what WE needed. It was His choice.

    And yet, more often than I’d like to admit, I fall away too. I deny. I fall asleep. But He knows what needs to be done. So I wake up and try again tomorrow. But always remember it’s really about what He is doing, not my human efforts. And praise Him.

  27. Marytony Torres says:

    So true! Thanks for this reflection.

  28. Miranda Smith says:

    My heart aches for Peter…and myself. I haven’t flat out denied Jesus with my words, but how many times have I denied him with my thoughts and/or actions towards myself and others?

    1. Lori Wat says:

      Me too. Thank you Jesus for your grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

  29. Abby says:

    Reading the passage about Peter denying Jesus 3 times in Luke reminds me a lot of me in my youth. In the Matthew passage, the Message translates v 41 as “There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” That is/was so me!! I was the person that people looked up to and admired for “standing by my convictions” in college. But there was another part of me that I was desperate to keep hidden, because I knew this part of me did not match my beliefs. I was powerless to change this part of me and yet desperate to conceal it.
    Graciously, God uses all of life to bring up all these parts and transform them one by one. There are trials which are like “holding my feet to the fire,” which seems painful at the time but will produce a harvest of righteousness in the end.

  30. Churchmouse says:

    Good Friday is coming. Each day I am more conscious of my sin, knowing it as the cause of my Savior’s suffering. Each day I weep. It is an ugly cry because that is what sin is: ugly. I know Sunday is coming. I know the Resurrection celebration is on the horizon. But I feel the need to sit and contemplate what led to His death before I can rejoice in His rising. Grief and gratitude are my emotions this holy week.

  31. Caitlin says:

    This was so humbling to read. Jesus knows us far better than we can even claim to know ourselves. The deepest spaces in our soul where we may not even realize we are falling weak. Let us humbly come before Him and ask Him to reveal that weakness in us instead of trying to hide. We are found. Let’s claim that so we can be strengthened to walk stronger in and with Him!

  32. Shawn Parks says:

    “After singing Psalms…”
    I never noticed this before. After singing praises to God together in worship. After lifting their hearts and voices in praise—joyfully and vibrantly singing of God’s attributes, His mighty power, and His glorious grace—-they fell asleep; they betrayed Him; they denied Him; and they scattered. The abrupt reversal of motive and emotion looks regretfully familiar. How drastically my circumstances take me from praising God to wallowing in self pity and hiding behind every grievance done unto me! “Why do you come?” I come to You because as much as my heart can love and believe in You, like the disciples who lived with you, learned at your very side, and loved the sight of your face, I am unable to keep from falling and failing, but in You I receive grace and from that grace, I gain freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit to do better He next time. Peter proclaimed Christ until his death. James and John awoke the spirits in Christ as they preached the gospel. He disciples scattered around the earth to tell of Jesus! May my folly reveal God’s great mercy and his ability to transform the heart.

    1. Ruth Fink says:

      This is really good!

  33. Angie says:

    Jesus knew all would fall away and yet, as we read yesterday, He washed each one’s feet. And yet, He continued to love and guide. He still does. All praise, honor, and glory goes to Jesus. Make us more like You every day we pray. Amen

  34. Kathy says:

    “When Judas joined the inner circle, he didn’t do it just so he could betray the leader.” This statement resonated with me. Where did Judas get so off-track? And how easy is it for me to do the same?
    Lord, make me desperate for You. Nothing I have, nothing inside me is sufficient. I need Your grace. I need Your mercy. I need Your perfect righteousness.

  35. Tracy Hutchinson says:

    This verse stood out to me today:

    Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

    I’ve been struggling with finding and keeping a healthy lifestyle the last few years and recently been struggling with temptation in the form of sugar and binge eating. I felt like this verse was for me today. I need to stay awake and aware and keep praying. If I let my guard down, that’s when Satan finds a way in. My flesh is so weak (especially lately) but the spirit of God is willing and able. Amen.

    1. Ingrid Coutinho says:

      Amem. Our flesh may fail but our God never will!

    2. Hope Scott says:

      I have been struggling with the same thing, too, Tracy, especially with binge eating. Thank you for sharing another way to apply this verse in my life ☺️

    3. Jennifer Martin says:

      I am struggling with consuming too much sugar and finding a healthy lifestyle as well. Thank you for sharing how I can apply this verse to my life! God is good

    4. April Beck says:

      Amen! I’m right there with you sister!

    5. Annemarie Elzinga says:

      Thanks for sharing Tracy – I can relate. This struck me too and I need to remain alert and my eyes on Jesus.

    6. Izzy Ash says:

      That verse also stood out to me!! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of temptation. It’s also easy-easier too- to pray and face the temptation then to give in! Praying that you face and defeat temptation! :)

    7. Lauren Williams says:

      Stay strong and rest in God to help you through those weaknesses. Thanks for sharing. Food is such a temptation and using it to fill something that only a higher power like God can fill is essential to keep mindful

    8. L V says:

      Amen! I tend to beat myself up trying to know where God wants me — waiting, asking others for their opinion and over analyzing—when PRAYING is my answer!!!

  36. Dana says:

    This was excellent, thank you.