Our Savior Is Betrayed
Open Your Bible
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.