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Holy Week Wednesday: Betrayal

Updated: Apr 3




Jesus knew his mission and fate. He knew he’d be betrayed; the religious leaders were plotting against Him, and Judas would sell him out for a fistful of coins.


During this time, the envious Pharisees were truly conniving. They pretended to respect Jesus while trying to trip Him up with murky questions meant to undermine His authority, to make Him look like a liar, a heretic, or a militant rebel.


A disciple, Judas journeyed with Jesus, had dinner with Him, and witnessed His miraculous ministry. Then Judas deliberately sought out a way to discredit Jesus, to hand Him over to His persecutors, with scant rationalization and likely dreams of grandeur.


Can you imagine?


I can.


It’s a terrible feeling knowing someone is scheming against you, even as they smile to your face. Crazy-making hurt and anger. These days, they call it gaslighting.


We’ve all experienced some betrayal. Maybe a partner was unfaithful, a friend gossiped about us, a colleague claimed our idea as their own, or a mechanic cheated on us. Maybe someone threw you under the bus for their own interests. It can be more subtle like someone knowingly pretending to be a friend when they’re undermining you or simply wishing you ill or a parent favoring another child.


We shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus and Paul warned us to expect it.


If we’re honest, we’ve also betrayed others in any one of these ways. I have, God help me.


We’ve been warned about our own propensity to sin, too!


I’ve reread the Passion accounts in all four Gospels. This time, I’ve noticed something easily overlooked in the shroud of saving forgiveness embodied by The Cross and Christ’s humble declaration, “Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do.”


Here's the troubling fact: Jesus' enemies did know what they were doing.


Jesus warned His unrepentant persecutors they’d be killed by God Himself (Mark 12:9, Luke 20:16 and 18). Judas, so overcome with remorse--nut not true repentance--at betraying “innocent blood,” committed suicide.


In powerful contrast, Peter suffered the anguish of his denial of Jesus (also a betrayal!) and openly admitted His failure to Jesus before his friends. Jesus not only forgave Peter, but made him the leader of the church! What a comforting and encouraging lesson! (John 21:15-17)


This Holy Week we somberly ponder the unimaginable emotional, spiritual, and physical suffering our Savior endured willingly by submitting to The Cross for each one of us.


For Christ's sake, Let’s also consider if we've knowingly betrayed “innocent blood” and return to The Cross for forgiveness, help, and the humility to make amends if needed.


PRAYER:


Lord Jesus, thank You for loving us so much You willingly endured all this to save us! Thank You that You promise if we confess our sins, including betrayal, You are faithful and will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Enable us to forgive those who betray us and not to seek revenge, knowing you will avenge us with wrath and will repay. (Romans 12:19). Please have mercy on us all. In Christ’s name, I ask it. Thank You. I love You. 💖

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