Have you ever been betrayed?
APRIL 13, 2022
Have you ever been betrayed? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew executive producer for the program and our host is author and seminary. Professor Steve Brown. The church has suffered under, do more, try harder religion for too long. And Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, Justin Holcomb and I are sitting around the table in our studio, and we’re looking at the events that took place in Holy Week, the last week of the Incarnation of the God of the universe. We all know about, The Last Supper, but this is the last week and we’re doing this kind of devotionally and we’re so glad that you’re a part of it. Justin, why don’t you read the text relevant to the subject and then we’ll talk.
Justin Holcomb: Alright, so we’re going to be looking at Matthew 26, and this is the fourth time and the final time in the gospel of Matthew, where Jesus predicts his arrest and crucifixion. So Matthew 26 verses 1 through 5, 14 through 16 and 20 through 26.
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. When it was evening, Jesus reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” and they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that, man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Hmm. Oh man. You know, that causes me to cringe just as you read it, that particular betrayal. You know, in the early church, there was a sect and they were quite wrong because of the text you just read that made Judas into a Saint. Somebody to be emulated, somebody to be looked up to. And there is a sense in which he wasn’t doing this cause he hated Jesus, I don’t think, did he?
Justin Holcomb: There’s, I’m not sure? I mean, this one’s complex because sometimes people talk about how he wanted to force Jesus to display. But I have some things that slightly counter that, and we can explore that. Let’s jump in on that, something that I’ve never seen before, except for when we were preparing for this conversation. Notice this, all the other disciples asked a question, “Is it I, Lord?” And what did Judah say? “Is it I, Rabbi?” Oh, so here you have, and again, I don’t want to make too much of a word change, but for Matthew, for Matthew’s gospel to have this is interesting that they’re all referring to him in deferring to him as Jesus as Lord, not only Rabbi, at this point, they have a category. He’s not just a teacher. We’re not sure exactly what’s happening, but he’s more than just a teacher. And for him to refer to him as rabbi and teacher, there’s no record anywhere. And I went looking for it in the gospels of Judas ever referring to Jesus as Lord. So there might be something going on with that, that should get our attention.
So he may have identified with the religious leaders at the time and said, I agree with you, let’s get this sucker.
Justin Holcomb: We don’t know. But, somewhere along the lines of maybe he was trying to get Jesus to reveal his messiahship on Judas’ terms. That’s that’s the best read possible, is that he knows he’s Messiah and he wants to really force him to do it, force his hand. Or he really didn’t care that much for Jesus. And there’s another hint that how much he might not have cared for Jesus because 30 pieces of silver works out to about $7500. That’s not that much.
Well, I don’t know. I think that’s a lot of money.
Justin Holcomb: Well, that is a lot of money and I’ll take it.
Justin Holcomb: but $7500, I mean, it does. As a matter of fact, that specific number is connected in Exodus to as the amount that you would pay if you were someone was gored by a bull, I think or something like that. It’s actually, it’s a particular number, but that number many, many scholars have looked at that and said, that’s a meager sum for a friend who betrayed it, like I might betray a friend for like, I don’t, there’s a price where I might betray you Steve, but not $7500.
Well, it’s gotta be in the millions it’s because I’m worth it. I just want you to know that.
Justin Holcomb: There are people who are wondering, Hey, Judas, isn’t acting like a true believer who just sinned and repented, but he’s acting like, he’s doing some evil here against the Messiah.
But when Jesus dip the bread and gave it to him, that’s pretty significant too. That was a statement of esteem, of love, of I like you kind of stuff. Wasn’t it?
Justin Holcomb: In the Middle East, absolutely. In the Middle East, to eat with someone was very powerful and to eat with someone is a picture of imputation actually. I love talking about eating in the Middle East, especially when Jesus does this with sinners cause what you’re communicating when you’re eating is that you’re equals. You, so for Jesus to eat with sinners, is he saying, I should be treated as if I am like you. I’m not a sinner, but I’m okay being treated as if I am socially and eventually before the throne of God, but you’re eating with me and I’m not a sinner. And you are my equal. And that only works with imputation. So this whole thing of eating is really beautiful because our sins are imputed to Jesus, as if he was a sinner and his righteousness is imputed to us as if we’re righteous.
And therefore we are equal.
Justin Holcomb: So what you’re saying,
in that sense
Justin Holcomb: we’re co-heirs with Jesus, Corinthians says, so for him to eat with Judas, let’s take that Middle Eastern eating and put that with Judas is exactly that, is that Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed. And he used the intimacy of the meal, as the unveiling of that. But he was eating with his betrayer. And this stands out to me because as you said at the beginning, like, have you ever been betrayed? I mean, this whole thing is about what’s the devotional takeaway on these things. This is the kind of stuff I need to hear because I know my wife and I, Lindsey do a lot of work with abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, spiritual abuse, but we’ve all been betrayed, but especially those people have a picture of betrayal. When survivors of abuse see what happened in the last week of Jesus’s life, every single week I get to see, every year I get to see this watching abuse survivors realize Jesus gets it. Jesus was humiliated. He was lied about, he was betrayed by someone close to them. That’s the one that hurts the most sometimes. Psalm 55 is actually a whole psalm about David. You’ve read the Psalms and David’s always ranting about God. And you know, why’d you all these armies come after me. Psalm 55 is a rant about an individual who is his friend who harmed him. That sting and Jesus gets the intimacy sting of betrayal here too.
Oh man, that Psalm, we broke bread together. In other words, we’re really, really close. You know, I can’t think but of one time that I’ve been betrayed by friends. I’ve been betrayed a lot by semi-friends, acquaintances, people that I liked, but a friend that’s very deep and that’s very painful. By the way, that’s one of the reasons I know I’m a Christian, a guy stole $75,000 from this ministry, one time. I found out about it on, I mean, he lied to me. He gave me a tracking thing, he had sent the check and he was lying and there was no tracking number. On Friday. I said, I’m going to kill him, then on Saturday, I said, Lord, that would hurt my ministry, if I killed him, so you kill him. Then, then on Sunday I was praying, give him the hives. And then on Monday, this is true. I was weeping for my friend and the betrayal, what it must have cost him to do that. There’s something of that in Jesus. I mean, this is not a joyous thing. This is, that piece of bread dipped in the wine that he gave him, expresses a lot of things, but one is great pathos, great sadness.
Justin Holcomb: And that’s the tragedy of what we’re looking at here. The tragedy is that we know right after this is where he tells Peter, you’re going to deny me. I mean, he’s, Jesus is just letting it fly. And Judas is walking out and Peter, you’re going to deny me. No, I’m not. I’ll never deny you, but, but Judas walked away, hardened his heart, like he was, you know, an Israelite, in the desert, looking back to Egypt. Hardened his heart, walked away from the very grace that reinstates you happily because at the resurrection, what we find is the message to the women is, go tell the disciples and Peter, because if anyone needs to hear this man, this Peter, he thinks he’s done. He just denied the Lord as he got killed. It’s not because, Peter is no longer a disciple. It’s not tell the disciples and Peter, the X disciple. It’s go tell the disciples, but especially you’ve got to tell Peter, that’s the heartbeat of God and the person of Jesus, for those that have betrayed, there’s forgiveness. Don’t harden your heart to the soft gentleness of God’s love.
And Peter and Judas, the only difference is that one went into the cold and the other ran to the fire.
Justin Holcomb: Where else would I go, You have the words of eternal life. Peter, that’s it. He repented.
Okay. So the devotional thought that you might want to use on this Holy Week is simply this, Lord make me like Peter. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve and Justin, that was Steve Brown and Justin Holcomb, continuing to walk us through the events of Holy Week as we prepare our hearts for Easter. Brains and hearts full over here, seriously. We will continue this journey tomorrow, so make sure you join us then. Hey, and by the way, if you missed any of this, week’s broadcast from Steve and Justin, this is a great time to catch up on those episodes at KeyLife.org. We have transcripts for Key Life, each one meticulously edited by hand to assist in your study of the Bible. Also at KeyLife.org you’ll find encouraging life giving articles from Steve and all of your favorite Key Life voices, including Justin, plus links to our weekly e-mail Key Life Connection, and even a link to the Key Life app featuring our new Simply Sermons Podcast. And all of it is still free, thanks to the generous support of listeners like you. If you’d like to donate, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to
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