Temptations to Betray

MEMORY SELECTION: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” —John 13:21

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 12:3-6; 13:21-30

OUR Lord’s betrayal by his Apostle Judas shows the extent to which the degraded human heart is capable of sin. Indeed, because of his actions toward the Savior, Judas has become the symbol of that which is evil and corrupt. His behavior is a betrayal of the One who had invited him to the inner circle of fellowship in the Early Church. Judas was privileged to share in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet his heart was out of harmony with the spirit of the truth and the laws of righteousness.

The selected scriptural reading shows two incidents in the experience of Judas. In the first we find Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Martha prepared a meal for Jesus. Judas was also present, with others of the disciples. It was six days before the Passover, the 12 time when Jesus was to be delivered to his enemies and crucified.

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” (John 12:3) The account tells us that Judas protested such waste of a costly ointment. He said, (vs. 5), “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”

We are told that Judas was greedy for money and really not interested in the welfare of the poor at all. “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (vs. 6) As treasurer for the group he was using the money for himself. He probably would not have given the money to the poor anyway.

Jesus quickly recognized the expression of love and devotion manifested by Mary. “Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.” (vss. 7,8) Judas had protested Mary’s actions because he wanted to keep the money for himself. Later he was willing to betray the Master for money also.

The second incident took place at the Last Supper. Again we find Judas’s character manifested. This was the occasion of our Lord’s final meal with his disciples before he went to his death. He had just finished washing their feet and had been talking with them about the need for humility and of ministering to others even as he had been ministering to them.

Jesus knew that one of his own number would betray him. He was able to read a man’s heart. He also knew the Hebrew Scriptures, which prophesied of his sacrificial death and the redemption to be provided thereby for the sins of the whole human family. He no doubt thought of the passage that concerned him so specifically at that time: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”—Ps. 41:9

This was when he uttered the words of our memory selection, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” The disciples did not know what to make of the news and were reluctant to ask the Master who the traitor was or how the betrayal would take place.

Peter rose to the occasion and beckoned to John to seek an answer from the Lord. “He [John] then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give sop [a morsel], when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.—vss. 23-26

“And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” (vs. 27) Judas’ heart was evidently seized by the power of Satan, who was working through him. The other disciples did not understand what was taking place. “Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.” (vs. 28) After receiving the sop, Judas left immediately on his mission of betrayal. Thus was the Son of man betrayed into the hands of those who sought to do him violence, in fulfillment of all that had been written concerning him.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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