Jesus Understands Betrayal (9-27-14)
Grab your bible and let’s go deeper into John 18
Before we jump into the text, the good news we must cling to is the fact that for those in Christ, we have an Lord who not only gets what we are going through, he has been through many of the hard things we face or will face. Things like temptation, sadness, betrayal, injustice, pain, and death.
Read: Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus took on flesh. He came here to be our great High Priest. His coming alone is amazing! But he didn’t just come!
He came and took on the everyday struggles and temptations and betrayals that you and I face. He relates! He understands.
This is a grace we do not deserve! For those who with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, we receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Today I want to help us look at how Jesus relates to a very sensitive subject: BETRAYAL!
Before we look to the betrayal of Jesus, what is betrayal?
Betrayal: to be unfaithful, to deliver to or side with an enemy; to violate trust or confidence once held between two parties
One of the most common phrases that people say about betrayal is, “I was stabbed in the back.” This comes from the understanding that you don’t turn your back on your enemies. The only people you let close or stand behind you are your friends, “people who have your back.” So, when someone you trust betrays you, they stabbed you in the back. They hurt you when you trusted them. As a result of many years of doing counseling, I know that some of the deepest wounds many of people carry with them are related to betrayal. That is what makes this “going deeper” so important.
The most famous betrayal of all time is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. We don’t know much about Judas or his back story. We do know that one day Jesus hand picked him to be one of his 12 core group to spend the next 3 years living life together. That means when Jesus was preaching and teaching, Judas was there. When demons were cast out, and people were healed, Judas was there. Judas ate his meals and walked the road with Jesus for three years. Take a second and think of the last person you spent everyday with for three years. A spouse, brother, high school best friend…do you see my point? Just because Jesus knew Judas would betray him doesn’t mean they didn’t spend solid time together and that his betrayal wasn’t incredibly hard.
Read John 18: 1-11
Can you imagine how the disciples felt in that moment? This was a betrayal of them as well. You’re a team. You’re together. You share intense life experiences, lots of time together over the course of multiple years, and then one of you absolutely does the unthinkable? I’m sure the disciples were just stunned.
The betrayal for Jesus gets worse because the other accounts of Jesus’ arrest conclude to say, “Then all the disciples left him and fled.” Not only was Jesus betrayed by Judas, he was betrayed and abandoned by his entire crew! It is likely that you too, have been abandoned by people close to you; a parent, a spouse, a brother in the club maybe. The disciples had just finished promising Jesus that they would never leave his side. Isn’t this is a testament to mankind! This is why our ultimate hope cannot be in family, marriage, friendships, work relationships or brothers in the club. WHY? Because people will let you down! The best intentions of man won’t keep him from becoming unfaithful because of the flesh. The fact is: People in your life will let you down.
Only God is always faithful and will truly never leave us or forsake us. His word is the one truth we have to stand on in a selfish world. Everyone else will let you down. While Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is most famous, don’t miss the fact that every one of the disciples fled and choose in the end to save themselves instead of standing up for their friend.
Jesus is then arrested and run through a series of false trials in the middle of the night. While these late night Jewish Trials were taking place under the veil of darkness, we see that Peter and one other disciple followed the arresting crowd to the house of the High Priest. In John 18:15-16 we read that they were able to get into the house. What a prime moment for Peter to stand up for and defend his friend.
Read John 18:17-18 & 25-27
The betrayal continues with Peter’s denial that he even knew Jesus. There is no greater betrayal than to be so very close to someone and then not acknowledge that you even know him.
I realize that some of the betrayal you have been through is incredibly painful. For you, nothing hurts as bad as having one who has been close to you utterly disown you for someone or something else.
Understand this today: You have a God who gets this! JESUS RELATES!
My deep prayer for you today is that you allow this news to draw you nearer to a savior that has been there. One who can relate to us better than anyone because not only has he been there, but he knows us inside and out…and therefore is our greatest support and help!
While many of us can relate in this story to Jesus and the pain we feel when betrayed by someone we love, have you ever stopped to think about how much we relate to Judas and the disciples as well? Maybe, as you read this you realize you have been the betrayer. As a result, you carry a huge amount of shame and regret and guilt because of your unfaithfulness.
There are so many ways this plays out: There are the obvious ones: cheated on a spouse, sold out a coworker, gave yourself to addiction instead of parenting your kids. These betrayals are extremely painful and real. But what about the more subtle betrayals?
– Silence can be a huge betrayal. For instance, silence in a marriage or a relationship. Maybe you are well practiced in not saying much of anything to your spouse. You wear a ring on your finger but you don’t really engage your spouse with the sacrificial love of Jesus and thereby you betray the intimacy and oneness God intends for you to share with your spouse.
– Laziness can be a huge betrayal. We selfishly find ourselves taking the easy road in a work situation, or in your club duties, and thereby you betray the commitment you once made to faithfully give all you have as unto the Lord.
For those of you not convinced you relate to the betrayer, those of you thinking, “I have not done such a thing to someone I loved. I am a faithful person.” What about what we do to Jesus every time we sin and take what he has done for us for granted or purposely choose to deny his way and choose our own? For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23
The reality is, we have all participated in the greatest betrayal of all time. The betrayal of God’s deserved GLORY! We betray God’s glory by trying to make our lives about ourselves. This is the crux of our lostness, our sin, our deserved death. The reality is: There is a burden, a weight, a regret and remorse that we who have betrayed another carry with us. So, the imperative question we ask is, “What do we do with our tears of remorse?”
How did Judas feel about what he had done to betray Jesus? Well, what is good is he had great remorse, but what is tragic is he did not have repentance. He felt bad, but he didn’t take up a new course in light of his confession. Confession without repentance is still death. Repentance is taking up a new path in light of the Gospel.
In contrast, Peter also betrayed Jesus by denying him three times. It says that he wept bitterly, that he was devastated, that he felt horrific about what he had done! He too had remorse and was filled with regret. But, as soon as he heard Jesus was alive, after the resurrection, Peter ran to the empty tomb, looking for Jesus.
Read John 20:1-10
Peter wanted to see Jesus. He wanted to look Jesus in the eye. He wanted to tell Jesus that he was sorry, and he wanted to ask for forgiveness. This is the sign of repentance.
A repentant heart is sorry for its error but doesn’t get swallowed by it. It pursues a different path. A new beginning.
True Repentance is surrender! It is surrendering your current wrong path to get on the right one. True gospel repentance is huge. The grace of God through Christ’s death for our sin is the only motivation that leads you to hate the sin without hating yourself.
Later in scripture, we see that Peter did change. He was not a perfect man, but he was a changed man. Judas, on the other hand, had remorse, but not repentance. He felt bad, but he never changed. Now, I must ask: Is this you? You cry, and you feel bad, and you grieve the consequences, but if you don’t hate your sin, and if you don’t bring it to God and the people you’ve offended you will only know discouragement and despair.
Not dealing with your remorse is a serious thing. I have seen it derail people for the worst. Tear apart marriages, cause parents to walk out on their kids, lead to heavy drinking or drug use. I have seen it cause people to retract from society and social life into their home, their bedroom, into false realities of TV, online gaming, and other false realities. I have seen it cause faithful men in this club to walk out on the mission and brotherhood they once were so faithful to.
Rather than Judas saying he was sorry, he made a noose. Rather than making it right, he made it end. And he put a noose around his neck, and he jumped off a tree branch, and he hung himself. Acts records that his intestines burst out, and his guts came out of his body, and that’s the end of Judas Iscariot. This is a picture of remorse, not repentance. Hear me today! It’s not enough to just feel bad. You’ve got to bring your regret to God, and you need to be changed by the grace of God. You need to hear the Gospel today and let it change you at your core.
I have good News for you today! If you have been betrayed, JESUS relates and he has made it possible to connect with you in such a way that he can heal and empower you to restore what is broken in the betrayals you have endured. If you have betrayed someone you love, Jesus is the only way you have the true power to repent and forgive and heal and take up a new path. You need Jesus!
Praise God! Jesus saw his mission through to the end so that we could repent, believe and be saved! Borrowing from the words of Joseph, Jesus can say, “My betrayers meant it for evil. God meant it for Good.”
Praise be to God.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC