“But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table.” Luke 22:21, NASB
Jesus “resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) as His ascension drew near. But why did He need such determination? Because before Jesus could ascend, He had to undergo the most excruciating death known to mankind: crucifixion. And His path to the cross lurched forward with the heart-wrenching agony of betrayal.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, spent three years loving, serving, and teaching the one who eventually sold him for 30 pieces of silver. Judas Iscariot walked with Jesus regularly, presenting himself as a sincere disciple. Everyone perceived his act as genuine … except Jesus.
He knew all along. Every day they spent together—every ordinary or miraculous moment—Jesus knew Judas would betray him with a kiss.
Amazingly, Jesus still loved Judas and included him throughout His ministry. Yet during His Last Passover Supper on earth, the Lord Jesus revealed that the hand of His betrayer rested with His on the table. Even so, this revelation didn’t fully resonate with the disciples, who “began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing” (Luke 22:23).
Jesus knew, yet He continued on. Enduring the knowledge of impending betrayal for years, He faced betrayal with eternal perspective. Jesus focused on the final outcome of His betrayal—not the injustice and heartbreak of it. Jesus’ example provides hope.
Instead of moping in the mire of a trusted person’s disloyalty, we can imitate our Lord by looking ahead to the spiritual benefits of our experience. God uses searing times to work His character into us. Despite our aversion to suffering, God implements it for divine purposes. Eternal perspective shifts our attention from the pain and soothes us with His purpose.
Are you struggling to overcome the hurt, the grief, and the bitterness of betrayal? Remember Jesus. He didn’t shrink away from Judas’s kiss because He knew God held something magnificent in store: a bride for Him—you and me—bought with His precious blood. God holds something magnificent in store for you, too. He’ll walk you through this emotional agony if you’ll simply take His outstretched hand. Concentrate on what He’s forming in you rather than what someone did to you.
Putting betrayal in perspective strengthens us to move forward, graced by the knowledge of God’s good work in you and me.