ODJ: brutal betrayal

October 14, 2015 

READ: Luke 22:47-53 

Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss? (v.48).

In October 2014, Italian authorities arrested a woman for the murder of as many as 38 victims. Most shocking was the revelation that she was the victims’ nurse. Police first charged the woman with the murder of a 78 year old hospital patient. Later, however, they suspected her involvement in a string of suspicious deaths. News outlets posted a disturbing photo seized by police: a selfie the nurse took of herself (in her hospital scrubs) standing near the body of a recently deceased patient while smiling and making a thumbs-up gesture.

The local prosecutor was aghast at the horrific nature of the evidence. “In all my professional years of seeing shocking photos, there were few such as these,” he said.

Of course, what was most appalling about this arrest was the betrayal—how the very person who was trusted to provide the most intimate care was the person who (it appears) brutally ended lives.

In the story of Jesus’ passion, Judas’ betrayal shows us a shocking reality about Jesus’ final days. How could the man who for years travelled the countryside with Him, shared meals with Him and heard Him proclaim the truths of the kingdom of God be the same man who handed Jesus over to His crucifixion? Luke tells us that the angry mob that approached Jesus was “led by Judas” (v.47). This 3 word phrase reverberates with shock. Why would Judas do such a thing? Jesus said, “My friend . . . do what you have come for” (Matthew 26:50).

We don’t know why Judas betrayed Jesus, but the treachery isn’t hard to imagine. We’re tempted at every turn—tested for whether we’ll stay true to the truths we believe and to the ones we love. May God’s love compel us to do what’s right.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Acts 5:17-42

Read Luke 22:47-50 again. Place yourself in the story. How do you imagine Judas felt? How do you imagine Jesus felt? 
When are you most tempted to betray those you love or what you believe? Why do you think this temptation is so strong?