While Jesus was still speaking, Judas came there. Judas was one of the twelve followers. Judas had many people with him. These people were sent from the leading priests and the older leaders of the people. These people with Judas had swords and clubs. Judas planned to do something to show the people which man was Jesus. Judas said, "The man I kiss is Jesus. Arrest him." So Judas went to Jesus and said, "Hello, teacher!" Then Judas kissed Jesus. Jesus answered, "Friend, do the thing you came to do." Then the men came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
— Matthew 26:47-50 NLT
Betrayed in the garden of prayer.
Betrayed by a kiss.
Betrayed by a friend.
Unfortunately, betrayal in God's family did not end with Judas. Betrayal by a Christian friend and confidant didn't stop when the moisture from Judas' kiss on Jesus' cheek dried. Unfortunately, betrayal in what is supposed to be a place of safety and spiritual nurture didn't end when Judas hung himself.
Have you been betrayed by someone you thought was a friend in Christ? Have you been undercut by someone who was supposed to be a loyal confidant? Have you been wounded in what is supposed to be a place of spiritual safety?
If you have, you know the wounds a friend can leave when he or she no longer is a friend! You know the pain of Gethsemane.
But if this is your story, remember it is also Jesus' story. For you, for us, the story of Matthew's Gospel finishes with a powerful two-point message. First, watch Jesus as he is betrayed, denied, and forsaken by his most beloved friends. He is a pioneer for us on how to handle the agony of betrayal and abandonment. Second, speak honestly to Jesus about your wounds and hurts. He knows and understands not only because he is Divine, but also because he has been in our world with real human skin and longs to comfort and help you and me in our times of heartbreak.
Almighty God, please help me never be the one who abandons a brother or sister in Christ in their time of greatest need. I know I can fall because I have fallen to other weaknesses at other times. And Father, help me to forgive those who have wounded and abandoned me in my times of crisis. Cleanse my heart of bitterness and resentment so that I can be more like Jesus, who was abandoned so that I would never ever be completely forgotten, forsaken, or alone. In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Hebrews 2:10-18
- Luke 22:47-48
- Colossians 3:13
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.