Many people have experienced the emotional pain of betrayal and the consequences that follow. Broken relationships, or at least diminished fellowship, result when betrayed by someone we love — someone we thought we knew and could trust. Jesus understands.
1 Cor 11:23 …on the same night in which He was betrayed…
Paul could have written, on the same night in which He ate with His disciples, on the same night in which He was arrested, or on the night before He was crucified. But instead, Paul wrote, “on the same night in which He was betrayed.“
Why did Paul emphasize the betrayal of Jesus?
I suggest that Paul chose his words carefully and purposefully. “On the same night in which He was betrayed” reminds us of the significance of Judas’s betrayal of his Lord. Judas had been one of the 12. Jesus had chosen Judas to be one of his followers, and Judas was privileged to accompany Jesus during His earthly ministry. But sadly, Judas’s betrayal broke that relationship in the darkness of that night.
I suggest that Paul emphasized the betrayal because his letter to the church at Corinth was addressing disunity. Judas is one of the greatest examples of betrayal and its consequences of broken relationships (disunity) for both the betrayed and the betrayer.
So what should we, as Christians, understand about betrayal? How should we respond to being betrayed? How should we live so as not to betray others?
Excerpt from “A Room with a View of Eternity – The Last Will & Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ”
Have you ever been betrayed by a friend or a family member? Betrayed by someone you love beyond measure and thought you could fully trust? Betrayal by those who are closest to us, those whom we care for deeply and love most dearly, is very painful. It is different than the attacks or rejections from acquaintances or adversaries.
- Betrayal by a loved one can feel like death. And in many ways, it is a death. While it’s not physical death, betrayal can lead to a relational death.
- Sadly, betrayal is always a form of disloyalty to the relationship, occurring when love diminishes, and selfish desires increase.
- Betrayal breaks the bond of trust and, more often than not, brings an end to fellowship.
- Betrayal cuts more deeply than rejection or opposition, and, in many cases, it is toxic to the point of despair or depression.
- Most painful, betrayal can only come from those who are close—a close friend or a family member. The closer the friend or family member, the greater the pain of betrayal. Singer/songwriter Michael Card, in his song, “Why,” addressed this:
Only a friend can betray a friend,
A stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough,
To ever cause so much pain.
Betrayal is one of the most painful experiences; if it has happened to you, take heart. It happened to Jesus also.
Jesus Betrayed by Judas
Jesus had chosen Judas to be one of His twelve disciples. The disciples had left everything to follow Jesus, and that included Judas. For three and a half years, Judas had been a part of Jesus’ circle of closest friends. He had been taught by Jesus. He had been a part of Jesus’ ministry work. And he had fellowshipped with Jesus and the other disciples daily.
Judas was fully loved by Jesus, but in those final days of Jesus’ ministry and life, Judas revealed the deceit and wickedness of his heart. His heart was cold, hard, and without love. Had Judas’s heart been that way from the beginning? Or did his heart wander, and he then joined himself to those who sought to destroy Jesus?
Why Judas betrayed Jesus, we do not know because the Bible doesn’t say. But we can understand the pain Jesus must have felt. Jesus sat at dinner, the night before His crucifixion, knowing that His friend would soon betray Him—and knowing that he would do so with a kiss, a gesture of affection becoming a means of betrayal.
For those of us who have experienced betrayal by someone we love, there is comfort in knowing that Jesus understands our pain. He understands because He experienced it when Judas kissed Him (Matthew 26:21) and, to a lesser extent, by the actions of the other 11 disciples. Peter denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:34), and all the disciples fell away and scattered (Matthew 26:31). But the faithful returned.
While man is capable of such betrayal, Jesus is not. He gives us a faithful love that is forever steadfast and eternally secure. He is the only One in whom we can fully trust. . .
For He Himself has said [promised], “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
In Greek, the word “never” in Hebrews 13:5 is a triple negative. It can be translated, never, never, absolutely never. That’s an assurance of Jesus’ loyal love, the light that shines in our darkest hours, the tender touch that comforts in our deepest despair, and the faithful promise that gives certain hope in all things.
Purpose in Pain
As painful as betrayal is, we can find purpose in knowing that we are, in some way and to some extent, sharing in the fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings. As Paul desired, we also should desire to “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians3:10)
Pastor and evangelist F. B. Meyer (1847-1929, a contemporary of D. L. Moody) said: “For whom the heart of man shuts out, the heart of God shuts in.”
When Judas’s heart shut Jesus out, Jesus found His comfort in the heart of His Father. Just as we share in the fellowship of Jesus’ sufferings, like being shut out by the heart of a betrayer, we also find our comfort and peace in trusting the heart of God. We might not understand the circumstances that surround us, but we can know that our God is in control and we can call to mind the words of an old, but forever true, saying of encouragement:
When we can’t trace God’s hand, We can always trust His heart.
Jesus lived in perfect submission to His Father’s purpose and plan, knowing that His Father is Sovereign over all things. We also find comfort and rest in trusting God’s sovereign plan for us.
Scottish pastor, author, and poet George MacDonald penned these words in 1864 in his poem Rest. These words both inspire trust and offer rest in our great God.
The wind of words may toss my heart,
But what is that to me!
‘Tis but a surface storm—
Thou art My deep, still resting sea.
Hope of Restoration
In Christ, all things can be made new again, including a broken relationship. Never give up hope of restoration and renewal.
Remember that God restored you to Himself and made you a new creation.
Know that God can also restore any relationship to you and make it new and beautiful.
Trust that God will work, in His time and in His way, for your good and His glory.
Get the book “A Room with a View of Eternity – The Last Will & Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ”
What is Maundy Thursday? (article) The Basin & The Towell (video)
Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday (video)
Journey to the Cross: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (video)
What’s your Judas experience? The Pain of Betrayal
How to Cope When Betrayed?
What Might Judas be Thinking About in Hell?
What Do We Know about Judas? This Might Surprise You.
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