As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me.” Mark 14:18 (NASB)
This is passion week. It always causes me to think of what Jesus went through as He faced that last week knowing what lay ahead of Him. From that first high exhilaration of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the sweat drops of blood of despair in Gethsemane to the agony of the cross and back to the exhilaration of final triumph at the Resurrection.
Last night Tyler Perry broadcast a live production of The Passion, a modern interpretation of the last events of Christ’s life. It was inspiring to see a large cross being carried down Bourbon Street in New Orleans. My brother lives there, and I couldn’t help but pray that somehow he might be touched by this unique Gospel presentation. The man who played Jesus and the man who played Judas were both amazing. Their faces were such portraits of the agony of the situation.
Did they even begin to approximate the true agony? I don’t know. I doubt it.
Somehow I think the hardest part for Jesus might have been the betrayal of his friends. Peter and Judas had been with Him constantly for three years. He’d shared His heart with them. Yet they betrayed Him. By fleeing, all of the disciples did.
But even worse, in that moment when He cried “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” did He feel betrayed by God Himself? What sheer torture!
Does that sound crazy? He was beaten. A robe placed on his bloody back, then ripped off. A crown of thorns pierced His head. He went through hours of agony on the cross. Unbelievably painful physical torture. A spear in His side. He died. He stayed in a cold dank tomb for about thirty six hours. How can I even suggest the hardest part might be feelings of betrayal?
Maybe because I’ve been there. When the world hurts us, it’s as nothing compared to when those we love betray us. A marriage is a faint reflection of the unity of the Trinity. When that fellowship was broken, even if it was only for a moment as sin was judged, it had to be devastating beyond anything we could comprehend. God is eternal, outside of time, and that moment scarred Him forever. Yes, He had nail scars in His hands and feet, but I think the scars of betrayal on His heart were far worst.
Fortunately, the Resurrection provided triumph not only over sin and death, but also forgiveness—the answer to betrayal. Betrayal didn’t get victory. Christ did. Peter went on to become a great leader of the early church. So did all the rest of the disciples. Judas could have had that same forgiveness. It’s available to all who will receive it.
Have you been betrayed? Have you betrayed someone else? Have you forgiven or found forgiveness? Christ forgives us as we forgive others. Get victory over betrayal. You’ll still have the scars, but you won’t have the pain. God bless.