Emotions of Passion Week - Betrayal

God loves variety.  He created day and night, and nature’s seasons.  I love spring!   That suits me well.  What a delight to feel the warmth of the sun and to relish the light of day a little longer each day.  But God designed summer and winter and fall as well.

Another variety built into God’s creation is human emotion.  Seasons look calm and passionless when it comes to human emotions.  We pass through many different emotions.  You may feel fear, sadness, joy, doubt, delight, anxiety, and relief all in one day.  Perhaps some people feel these all in one hour.  As we gain age and experience, we learn to control and even channel these different emotions for good rather than allowing them to control us.
One comforting thought is that Jesus not only designed us to emote, but He too felt human emotions.  Christ, the Son of God, took on human flesh and with that He took on the emotions of humanity.  In a very real sense, He feels your pain.  Perhaps no other week did He feel these emotions more strongly than Passion Week.  I’d like to take the opportunity this Passion Week to post a few articles that highlight the different emotions that Jesus endured during His final week, primarily focusing on the final hours before crucifixion.  

Feeling the Emotion of Betrayal for You

Betrayal is a powerful and overwhelming emotion to endure.  Over the years I have felt this emotion keenly.  As a pastor, I’m called to serve people and yet people are fickle and will at times stab in the back those who stoop to wash their feet.  That is so hard to endure!  Our Lord felt exactly that.

He knew the betrayer.

We don’t know who is going to betray us.  This is different for our Lord – He knows all things.  As Jesus laid Judas’s cards of betrayal out in front of all the disciples during His final meal with them, Judas’s heart must have been beating fast.  “One of you will betray Me.”  Judas’s eyes are huge!  “How did He know!?”  And yet he keeps a calm outward appearance, and plays the fool. “Is it I?”  Following the language of the rest of the disciples, Judas boldly lies in front of all.  And yet when Judas voices “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus replies “You have said yourself.”  The other disciples do not get the accusation – but Judas gets it immediately. 
Judas can’t keep it together; he has to leave the room.  As he gets up to leave the room in order to betray Jesus to the religious officials, Jesus confronts him.  “What you do, do quickly.”  Jesus knew what Judas was doing.  And He let him leave.
A merely human king would tell the other disciples who were (at this meal at least) ready to die for Him.  They would immediately make sure that Judas did not harm Him.  But Jesus allows Judas to slip out.  Jesus willingly walked into this plan.  He knew all things.

He served the betrayer.

The betrayal is even more intense, however, when we consider that just an hour or so before this time, Jesus took the towel of a servant and washed Judas’s feet.  How could Judas have allowed this?  Is there no end to the depth of human hypocrisy?  Look at Judas’s calendar and to-do list for the night.  He is planning to betray Jesus over to the Jewish officials, to share with them where and how they can take Him without a raucous, and to actually pinpoint specifically which of these men is Jesus the Messiah.  And as Judas mulls this over, he looks down and sees Jesus washing his feet from the filth and dirt so prevalent on those streets of Jerusalem during festival week.  What a filthy job; one that none of the other disciples would even take on themselves because they thought they were too good!  If only Judas would have asked the Lord to wash him inside and not just outside.   
Betrayal is felt the deepest when betrayed by those who are most trusted.  If you are betrayed as a child by your parents, or as a spouse by your husband or wife, you truly know this emotion.  The Lord too felt this.  Here is a man that Jesus served for years, taught, called out, aided, and even the night of betrayal, washed his feet.  Our Lord’s heart felt betrayal deeply during that time.  And yet He was ready to die.  He knew He must be betrayed.  He felt betrayal for you and for me.

He was kissed by the betrayer.

“Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away under guard.’  After coming, Judas immediately went to Him, saying, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.  They laid hands on Him and seized Him” (Mark 14:44-46).
Luke tells us that Jesus asked Judas a question as he came to Him.  “Do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?”  He confronted the depth of Judas’s betrayal.  You expect a kiss from a friend.  But when the friend carries in their hand a dagger for your back, you stagger.  No doubt our Lord feels this emotion deeply, and yet He calmly controls this feeling of betrayal, and He is able to question Him as he comes.  Judas has a choice as he comes to Jesus.  And he chooses again to betray.  He could yell, “run!” But he kisses and betrays the innocent, sinless, Lamb of God to be sacrificed on the altar of the cross.
It had to happen.  It was predicted.  Even a thousand years earlier, King David was betrayed on that same Mount of Olives by those he trusted.  That was to foreshadow this event in the life of our Savior.  For those of you who have felt this emotion keenly, you can sing with David the emotion he penned in response to betrayal:
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.  But You, O LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up, that I may repay them.  By this I know that you are pleased with me, because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.  As for me, you uphold me in my integrity, and You set me in your presence forever.  Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen” (Psalm 41:9-13).

Where do we go from here?

You have been betrayed.  You know the emotion.  It is not an enjoyable emotion.  But the Lord allows you to feel it.  So where do we go with this emotion?  Worship the Lord in your feeling of betrayal. 

Worship a God Who was betrayed willingly.

You can worship the Lord because He was betrayed, because we know that His betrayal was entered into by choice.  He was not fooled or surprised.  He loved you more than His desire to dodge the feeling of betrayal.  He knew what Judas would choose, and yet He still entered that dark hour.  He chose to bear the prophesied betrayal, to take upon Himself the penalty for your sin.  When you feel that betrayal you know even more the feeling that Christ endured at Passion week.  Thank Him and worship Him for not just taking the physical pain of the cross, but the emotional pain of suffering rejection and betrayal from someone He loved and trusted.

Worship a God Who knows your feeling of betrayal.

One helpful, even therapeutic, practice is sharing our difficult experience with someone else who endured a similar experience.  If you were abandoned as a child, or if you were fired unjustly, you really are helped by someone who not only knows the right answers but can listen sympathetically to your story because they went through the same.  “I know how you feel!”  is a comforting thought.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
As you come to Jesus in prayer and perhaps you come weighed down by this feeling of betrayal or rejection, know that you come to someone Who was no stranger to rejection and betrayal.  His closest allies ran from Him in the dark hour.  And the most trusted of His 12 followers (treasurer) actually betrayed Him to His enemies for money.  What a sellout.  If you feel betrayed today, talk with a Savior Who can empathize with you and not only empathizes, but can help you out of that experience to gain firm emotional footing on His promises… Which brings us to a final reason to worship.

Worship a God Who never will betray you.

Although Judas committed suicide, the other disciples who fled from Jesus (leaving Him alone) were welcomed back to Him after the resurrection.  Although they betrayed Jesus, He did not leave them.  Although they forsook Jesus, He did not forsake them. 
Today, you can trust in this God who was willing to be betrayed for you.  The truth be told; you can trust no one else.  Only He will never leave nor forsake you.  Worship Him today as the God Who will stick with you and be with you in the garden of betrayal and in the garden of delight.

Worship a God Who has power over betrayal.

It is something of a mystery, but if there were no betrayal there would be no cross and if there were no cross there would be no resurrection and no opportunity for forgiveness and eternal life.  So, in an amazing twist of God’s providential plan, God allowed their betrayal and sorrow to bring eternal blessing on all who come to Him.  He took the betrayal and made salvation.  He took the cruel intentions of man and allowed them to be used to bring about the death of His Son which brings about the life of all who trust in Him.  Betrayal begat blessing.  The betrayer’s cross turned into the agent of forgiveness.
You too can trust God in your feeling of betrayal.  The wounds hurt.  They go very deep.  But God can use even the deepest wounds for the greatest healing.  Trust a God Who orchestrated the deepest betrayal and wickedest plans of hypocritical man to bring about the greatest blessing to all.