We are continuing our meditation from yesterday, looking at the question, why did Judas betray Christ? Some suggest that Judas sought to force Jesus' hand to revolt against the Romans so that a confrontation would occur and Jesus would use His power to overcome Roman rule. What was in the mind of Judas as he walked to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard? (Luke 22:4). What we do know is that he watched for a convenient time and place to betray his Master with a kiss on the cheek, and he had already received the thirty silver coins in payment for betraying Christ before the Last Supper:
14Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over (Matthew 26:14-16, Emphasis added).
Thirty silver coins were the cost for a typical enslaved person in the time of Jesus (Exodus 21:32). The Supreme Servant of all was valued and sold for the price of an enslaved person. To sell his Master was not a rash decision by Judas, for he took time to think through how he was going to betray Jesus (v.16). He waited for an hour of darkness, not knowing that it was also God's hour for the Son to be glorified as the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Many go through the test of being betrayed by a friend, business partner, spouse, or relative. Has someone close to you ever hurt you with their words and actions? No one can ever say to God, “You don’t know what it’s like.” Jesus took the worst things that this world could throw at Him. When Judas walked up to Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, greeting Him and kissing Him on the cheek, Jesus said to Judas, “Friend, do what you came for” (Matthew 26:50). There was no anger, hatred, or bitterness in the heart of Jesus toward Judas. It must also be the same for each of us.
Whatever you and I go through in life, Jesus has been there and is able and available to help. As our Leader, He endured every fiery trial thrown at us by our enemy and yet harbored no bitterness and resentment. His trust was in His Father every step through the pain of rejection and betrayal. Whatever you are experiencing in life, He has been there before you and can come alongside you in every trial and help you through it.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18, Emphasis added).
Doctor Donald Grey Barnhouse tells the story of a certain man who had a beautiful estate upon which were some magnificent trees in which this man took great pride. His custom was to walk among the trees and gaze upon their beauty. This man had an enemy who hated him sorely; this enemy was always seeking ways of annoying the master of the estate. At last, the enemy conceived a plan, which he thought would greatly wound the heart of the estate owner.
He decided to go to the estate in the dark of night and cut down one of the most beautiful of the trees. He laid his plans well. He took with him a saw and an ax and worked energetically. All night, he toiled until his muscles were sore and his hands were blistered. As morning dawned, he saw the estate owner riding with a companion toward the trees where he had been toiling. He redoubled his efforts, and finally, the great tree began to creak and totter. As the tree fell, the enemy started to shout in triumph. However, one of the branches fell on him and mortally pinned him to the ground in agony.
His hatred, however, was intense, and in his death throes, he jeered at the estate owner approaching him. The owner called his companion and said to the enemy, "You thought to do me great harm, but I want to show you what you have done. This man with me is the architect of a beautiful home I intend to build here amid these trees. I needed to cut down one of these trees to make room for my house. Look at this plan. The tree upon which you have toiled all night, and now the cause of your death is the tree which must be cut down to make room for my house. You have worked for me without knowing it, and your toil is for nothing, and bitterness is your food in death."
In his opposition to God's kingdom, Satan may think he is smart, but there will come a time when he sees that God has outsmarted him. We know because we have read the end of the book! Keith Thomas
Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke. Click on Study 58. The Betrayal of Jesus.