Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and was born a man. Even he had to wait until God called him into the public ministry. Around age 30, he began to preach and teach the people all the things his father had told him to say. he chose disciples to help him in the ministry, and he empowered them to go about preaching the Gospel to the poor, casting out demons, and healing the sick in his Name. One of these became the most infamous betrayer of all time. His name was Judas.
“Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matt 26:14-16, KJV).
The feast of the Passover was a meal each year in remembrance of God’s great deliverance of the people from Egypt. Jesus, of course, celebrated this holy day also.
“Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, the master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the 12. And as they did eat, he said, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matt 26:17-24).
Judas left the Passover meal to do his horrible act of betrayal.
After the meal, Jesus and the remaining disciples went to the garden where Jesus liked to pray in solitude to God. He knew what was coming: the betrayal, the cruelties, the mocking, the beatings, and the agonizing death for the Salvation of all of us who believe in him.
He prayed to God that if there was any other way … he was not looking forward to the brutal beatings, torture, and death.
“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the 12, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.” (Matt 26:42-50).
Jesus called Judas “friend,” because Jesus had been the ultimate friend to Judas— he was going to die on the Cross for sinners, but Judas rejected that friendship. He wanted money more than friendship. He wanted to ease his own jealousies against Jesus who was always loving and giving to others. He resented the fact that Jesus let a woman use expensive oils and perfumes to anoint his head and feet. Judas was evil. He betrayed the Son of God.
The name Judas is so associated with betrayal that the other “good” disciple whose name was Judas chose to be called Jude instead. We too betray the name of Jesus when we go through life finding fault with everyone and every situation, and have petty jealousies against those who are trying to do the Lord’s work (and are blessed for it), and we make snide comments about them. There was never a perfect, sinless, man to walk the earth before Christ came, and there hasn’t been one since. When we constantly find fault with others, we are only showing more of our own sins, but we are making ourselves less useful to God.
Let us all encourage each other more and uplift our fellow Christians. We should strive every day to never betray the name of our savior, Jesus Christ.