I can imagine it being a quiet night filled with agony as Jesus sat surrounded by His disciples for the Last Supper. Who could have imagined that a dinner gathering would reveal all the pain and suffering yet to come?
Although this intimate dinner was for the purpose of symbolizing the body and blood of Christ, events from this night also reveal the betrayal of Christ that was about to take place. “When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” (Matthew 14:17-19).
The bible continues to tell us that they were all saddened to find out one of them would do such a thing, in fact they all started questioning which one of them it would be. As we continue to read, we learn that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, while Peter who claimed he would rather die with Jesus, denied Jesus three times after His arrest. Although everything that happened was meant to happen, when thinking about the night of His betrayal I often get lost in thought. The idea itself that Jesus was betrayed by His own disciple, forces me to pause and re-evaluate the steps I take in my life.
Judas, among the rest of the disciples was the one person who lived with Him, traveled with Him, ate with Him, watched Him perform miracles and heard Him teach. He was one of the twelve who knew Him better than anyone else, yet it was one of the closest people to Him that betrayed Him .. and for what? For 30 pieces of silver? At least Judas was tempted by money, which sadly enough was money that only led him to his death. But unlike Judas, Peter didn’t deny Him for money, he denied Him out of fear for his own life – the same man who had sworn he would die with Jesus if he had to. In fact, what’s even more disappointing is that Peter wasn’t questioned about his association with Jesus by authorities that had the power to do something to him. The bible says he was questioned by a servant girl, and random bystanders who recognized his face. In other words people who had no power to do anything to him … so was the denial worth it after all?
Today I want to draw parallels between the choice they made that night, and that same choice we constantly make in our lives. Where does betrayal begin? At which point do we deny we know God? Does betrayal begin when we start to treasure other things over God? For Judas, a one time payment of 30 pieces of silver seemed far greater in value than the years he spent gaining knowledge and wisdom through a personal relationship with Christ. So what are our “30 pieces of silver”? Do we betray Him for attention from others? Do we betray Him for acceptance from others, or to fit in? Do we betray Him for the sake of our career? Education? Lifestyle choices? Friends or relationships? What do you betray Him for each day? Although those are many questions to take in all at once, they are all questions to take into serious consideration. The scariest part is that we’ve become so comfortable in placing a higher value on other things over God, that sometimes our betrayal is like second nature – we don’t even realize when we are trading Him in.
Remember this, there is a world that craves for the relationship you have with Christ. There is a world that is dying to get just a glance of what you have seen in your personal journey with God. There is a hopeless world drowning in confusion, fear, and sorrow. Yet, while they stumble around in the darkness trying to find Him, we who already know Him, so easily pawn Him off when it’s convenient for us to do so. We are so quick to look at the world around us and point condemning fingers at those who reject God, when all the while the betrayal first begins from those of us who already know Him, and then works it’s way out.
To me, a betrayal also raises even a deeper issue that I want to address. Past the act of betrayal, the reason for choosing to do so is what’s even a greater concern. When you choose to betray Him, it indicates that something has shifted or gone wrong in your vision and understanding of Him. In other words, what you once saw with such high regard and cherished with all of your heart has suddenly decreased in value. Why is that? Is it because you feel like you know enough? Or perhaps you got too comfortable with where you are?
Let me take you back to that first day you understood the love of God and decided to follow Him. Remember that day when you prayed the sinners prayer and gave your life to God? There was a certain revelation that convinced your heart He was undeniably real – such a strong confirmation that you couldn’t wait to begin this journey with Him. I personally remember that experience being a very emotional, and exciting moment in my life. As I uttered those words in tears and desperately invited Him into my life, I was overwhelmed with so much love. Yet, as life went on I began getting comfortable with what I had, so much that half of the time I didn’t even realize when I was betraying God for my “30 pieces of silver”. I knew I had Him in my life, but because at times I was so comfortable with where I was at, my relationship with Him couldn’t accelerate, therefore that clear vision of Him I initially had started getting blurry. Thankfully past my betrayals, was His greater grace. Through His grace, and great reminder of His love I was able to receive strength through my weakness, and truly see that there isn’t anything in this world He is worth trading in, or betraying for.
To conclude I want to leave you with two things. First, is a challenge for you to look within yourself and carefully examine the way you value all that’s currently in your life, versus the way you value God in your life. As we discussed, keep in mind that you only betray something that has lost it’s significance or value, not something that you deeply cherish. Secondly, if you are someone who is reading this and are feeling like you have betrayed Him way too many times, remember that “His grace is sufficient for you, and His power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). There are no failures, mistakes, or weaknesses in you that are great enough to ever stop Him from loving you. There’s always enough room in His arms.
See you next Monday!