Summary: If you’ve ever felt the sting of betrayal (if you haven’t, don’t worry… you will)… it’s much more than just a word out of the dictionary. It is a word that communicates pain, rejection and deep hurt.As we move into the last week of Jesus’ life on earth
Betrayal At Hypocrisy Headquarters
Series: Final Days at Planet Earth
March 7, 2010
Betrayal is defined as: “to harm or be disloyal to a country or another person by helping an enemy or giving information that is confidential; to deliver somebody or something to an enemy. To act in a way that is contrary to a promise made”. If you’ve ever felt the sting of betrayal (if you haven’t, don’t worry… you will)… it’s much more than just a word out of the dictionary. It is a word that communicates pain, rejection and deep hurt. Maybe you were betrayed by a spouse, or by an ex-spouse. Maybe you’ve felt betrayed by a company or by a close relative. Perhaps you’ve been betrayed by a parent who as Dr. Laura says, “Tore up their parent card” when they abused you. Betrayal comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes… but there’s one common denominator to all betrayal… it always begins with trust.
In fact, it’s impossible to be betrayed by someone you don’t trust. What makes betrayal so painful is that someone who knows your heart, turns from what they know and chooses to believe that you’re dangerous. Your mind freezes as you try and grasp how a friend, someone who knew you deeply and intimately could turn and attack you. I remember a song by Michael Card that explains betrayal… “Only a friend can betray a friend, a stranger has nothing to gain… and only a friend comes close enough to ever cause so much pain.” Betrayal makes you to want to shut down, and never trust or be vulnerable to anyone again.
As we move into the last week of Jesus’ life on earth this morning, I want to look at the greatest betrayal in human history. Jesus, the Son of God…is betrayed by someone in his own inner circle. As we read what the bible says this morning, my prayer is that we can learn a few things from the life of Jesus …1st of all, about what causes people to betray one another and 2ndly, how we can recover and respond to it.
When I think of Judas, I’m reminded of a monument that’s been erected on a Revolutionary War battlefield in Saratoga, New York. At the base of the monument are four deep niches for the bronze figures of the generals who fought there so heroically. The 1st niche contains the figure of Horatio Gates, the 2nd contains the figure of Philip Schuyler. In the third niche we see the figure of Daniel Morgan, but when you come to the 4th, it’s empty! It was reserved for a general who performed honorably during battle. However, later he committed an act of treason, and became a traitor instead of a hero. At the base of that empty niche, the name of this general is engraved in the stone. It’s Benedict Arnold. That empty space is a monument of a person who went from heroism to treason.
In the same way, the name of Judas Iscariot appears in every list in the bible of the apostles (except for the list in Acts 1, where it doesn’t appear at all)… but alongside his name is the notation that brands him as a traitor. Here’s a man who committed the most horrible, despicable crime of all history… he betrayed the perfect, sinless & holy Son of God for a handful of coins. Judas stands as a monument of the evil potential that lurks in all of us. Think about it…here’s a guy who was privileged to get as close to Jesus Christ as humanly possible. He saw all the miracles, listened to all of his messages, saw him in every situation and would have agreed that He was sinless…but yet in the end remained an unbeliever and went out into a Christ-less eternity. I think the life of Judas reminds us of the possibility of associating with Jesus, even hanging around people that know Jesus… but never really KNOWING and LOVING Jesus ourselves.
That could be you this morning. Maybe you come to church on a regular basis. Maybe you were raised in the church. You don’t read the bible much yourself, but because you’ve been around it enough, you can even sound like you’re a Christian to others. But you’re not. You may be following others who are following Jesus… but you’ve never personally given your heart to Him. If that’s you…I’d strongly encourage you to get serious about your relationship to Christ. Because, if you don’t…given the right situation, or the right opportunity…or even the right person…you’ll end up walking away and betraying Christ too!
There are 3 causes that led to Judas’ ultimate betrayal of Christ, and they’re the same 3 causes or symptoms that lead people to betray Christ today. The 1st one is…