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Theology > Jesus > Christ's Death > Betrayal 


The religious leaders—chief priests, scribes, and elders—conspired to take Jesus by deception and kill Him, but they were concerned of an uproar among the people (Matt. 26:3-5). While they were deliberating, Judas Iscariot, after Satan had entered into him, went to the leaders of the Jews and offered to betray Jesus, and agreed to do the same for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-16). The actual betrayal was accomplished in Gethsemane with a kiss placed by Judas on the cheek of Jesus after Jesus had referred to him as “My betrayer” (Matt. 26:45-49; see: Mk. 14:1-2, 10-11, 17-21; Lu. 22:1-6, 47-53; Jo. 13:18-30; 18:1-9).

The thought is difficult to think: to be born in order to be betrayed; to live one’s life in anticipation of the deception that would characterize the end of life. Jesus knew the writings of the Old Testament and particularly those passages which spoke of His rejection and ultimate betrayal, a betrayal that would lead to His crucifixion. While eating the Passover meal Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me” (Mk. 14:18). Jesus understood that His betrayal was necessary in order to be crucified; He had informed the disciples: “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified (Matt. 26:2). To know that betrayal is ahead, and then to prepare for it, to announce it, and to accept it—it is inconceivable.

The One who is betrayed does not deserve to be betrayed. He is the only good man who has been good all the days of His life. The Scriptures affirm: He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38); even His judge at His final judgment declared: “I find no fault in Him” (Jo. 19:6). But this fact may be the very point: it was His goodness that could not be accepted, the goodness of His words and the goodness of His deeds. His goodness so starkly exposed the badness of those around Him. Darkness always hates the Light (Jo. 3:18-21), and darkness seeks to destroy the Light.

Evil betrayed Good; darkness betrayed Light; ignorance betrayed Truth. Strange the exchange is, for instead of desiring to become like the Good, the evil betrays the Good; instead of seeking the Light, the darkness is content to remain darkness and to betray the Light; and ignorance is sinfully arrogant and cannot be taught by the Truth, and, therefore, ignorance betrays the Truth. Instead of betrayal there should have been a desire to become like that which is betrayed. But, without supernatural intervention, the evil cannot admit its evil; the darkness cannot admit its darkness; and ignorance cannot admit its ignorance. Pity such a state; if a remedy is forthcoming, it is the remedy of Grace. The hope of redemption and transformation is not within man.

Concerning Judas, the betrayer of Christ, the Lord declared: “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born” (Mk. 14:21). The statement of Jesus has one focus, and that is the rejection of Him by Judas and an evaluation of the life of Judas in light of his willful and deliberate rejection of Christ. Of all the deeds of Judas, this deed was the most heinous. None can compare to it, for none is like it; it cannot be repeated.

But, in another sense, lesser deeds can be compared to it if rejection of Christ is involved, not a betrayal of Christ that involves His death, but a betrayal of Christ that reveals that the person is still in death, spiritual death. The rejection of Him, or call it the betrayal of Him or the forsaking of Him, the precise wording is insignificant, means that the life that has no regard for the life of Christ is not worthy to go on living; if the person remains in the state of rejection, then it would be good if that man had never been born. He has no future.

Such is the judgment upon a man who betrays Christ. No judgment could be more devastating, for this is the judgment of Eternity. To merit this judgment indicates one’s destiny and involves finality, which is no destiny. For there is no destiny that is a destiny without Christ. To be separated from Him forever is eternal suffering—it seems that it would be better never to have been born.

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