Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. — Matthew 26:14-16 (NLT)
I suppose there is no greater pain than the pain of betrayal. When you think you can trust someone, only to find out that they have been plotting, working, talking and scheming behind your back for your demise or destruction, the emotional impact is devastating.
The story of Judas’ deal to betray Jesus happened on the Wednesday of the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. It was a dark, ugly moment in human history. Judas, one of the 12 who had been privileged to be with Jesus during His ministry, became a tool of Satan in his plan to take Jesus’ life. Because of greed, Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver.
Jesus certainly felt the pain of this betrayal. The next day, on that Thursday evening, Jesus washed Judas’ feet and served him food and drink at the Last Supper, knowing exactly what Judas had done, and what he was going to do. Later that night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus felt the stinging kiss of this betrayer on His cheek, as Judas identified the Lord to those making His arrest. Someone who was supposed to be a trusted friend turned out to be a vicious enemy. We can only imagine the agony this caused Christ.
The end of Judas’ story is not pretty. Betrayal never ends well for the betrayer. There’s a price to pay when we sell out people for our own personal agenda, because of a personal offense or for personal gain.
But Jesus, the betrayed one, didn’t let this betrayal defeat Him. He didn’t become bitter or resentful. To the end He loved. To the end, He forgave.
What lessons do we learn from the Wednesday of Passion week? Don’t be a Judas. Things never end well for betrayers. And when you’re betrayed, follow the example of Jesus who loved and forgave to the end!