7729 - A Betrayer


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In our study through the book of Luke we have come to the final night in the life of Jesus on earth. He has joined with the twelve apostles for the Passover meal. At one point in the meal the one who was to betray Jesus was revealed.

Listen to Luke 22, verses 21-23:

But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.

The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him."

They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

As Luke writes here, he does not give the name of the betrayer, only that Jesus says, “the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.”

Don’t you know that all eyes traveled the perimeter of that table to see whose hand was on the table with the hand of Jesus.

The other gospels tell of the sorrow that filled the apostles. They even began to question Jesus, “Is it I, Lord?” one by one.

In a previous study we learned that Judas had already gone to the chief priests and bargained with them about what they might give to Judas for delivering Jesus to them in the absence of the multitude, which usually surrounded him in the temple.

Matthew tells us the Jewish leaders gave Judas thirty pieces of silver to commit this act of betrayal (Mt. 26:15-16, cp Zech 11:12). And from that time he sought opportunity to deliver Jesus (Lk. 22:6).

Scripture also tells us that Jesus gave a holy warning at this point in the meal. Jesus told them that the Son of Man would go just as it is written about him. You see, every detail of Scripture is to be fulfilled by these events.

Jesus continued by saying, “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born (Mt. 26:24).”

Can’t you imagine the conscience of Judas, feeling as if he is being stripped naked. Judas likely did not consider when he sold out to the Jewish leaders that Jesus knew. Now as he sits at the table with Jesus before the other eleven apostles he realizes, “Jesus knows.” In fact Matthew (25:25) tells us that Judas actually asked Jesus, “Is it I, Rabbi?” and Jesus replied, “Yes, it is you.”

I can’t imagine the awful feeling Judas experienced at that time, and in the following hours of his life.

We remind you again that Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would commit this dastardly act. He knew that Judas was not committed to the Kingdom work which the other eleven were undertaking. But never did Jesus treat Judas with less love, kindness and attention than he gave the other eleven. Just think, Jesus sent Judas along with the other apostles to heal, drive out demons, and to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. Scripture tells us they went from village to village, ministering everywhere. One wonders what Judas did on these occasions? We never see Judas was shown up as a fraud. Never do we have indication that Judas did less than the eleven. Never do we see those eleven having doubts about Judas. But Jesus knew, and now that Jesus had identified Judas as the betrayer they all knew, although they did not know how Judas was going to betray Jesus.

Possibly the warning of woe haunted the conscience of Judas throughout the balance of the hours before he took his own life.

Both Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus also told those at dinner after the warning, that it would have been better for the betrayer if he had never been born (Mk. 14:21). That’s the price of evil — eternal suffering and agony. It would be better for any who die in unbelief if they had never been born.

However, this is a choice each person must make. The offer of forgiveness and eternal life is open as long as one is alive, but once they give up physical life, no change can be made.

Oh friend, may no one of us betray Jesus. May we each come to a strong faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and then live a life of obedience, to please him.