Holy Week Devotional: Betrayed
Updated: Apr 23
John 13:21–32 (ESV) 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Can you imagine having one of your good friends betray you? One of my friends in sixth grade pulled a prank on me by telling the school bully that I had made fun of him. The bully and I got into a minor shoving match, but I explained I had no idea what he was talking about when he accused me of making fun of him. I wasn’t even mad at the bully. I was really mad at my friend, especially because he was laughing at me. Et tu, Brute? For some reason, it hurts extra bad when our friends and loved ones hurt us. When the people we trust and love most, the people we’ve invested in, the people we’ve spent time with, when they reject us and turn against us, it is crushing. It is discouraging. No wonder it says that “Jesus was troubled in his spirit.” And what makes it even worse is that Jesus is the last person who should be betrayed. This is a man who was the most popular guy in the country because he had incredible miraculous powers and public speaking ability, but was humble enough to wash all his friends’ feet before dinner. Why would anyone betray this man? It makes me feel very bad for Jesus, what he went through. And this betrayal was just the beginning of a very bad night for Jesus. Even more incredibly, Jesus knew everything that was about to happen, and he did nothing to prevent it. In fact, he set the events in motion by telling Judas to go and do what he was about to do quickly. Why didn't he stop Judas? Jesus had a different perspective on his torture and death. He did not see it as humiliation, defeat, or tragedy. He saw it as glory. Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. How could he see his own betrayal, torture and death as glory? And not only his glory, but God’s glory in him? How could Jesus see glory in the cross? Because in the cross, Jesus achieves salvation for you and me, his beloved people. Jesus’ shame is our honor. His wounds are our healing. His death is life for us. It is the beautiful exchange. Jesus takes upon himself our sin, sickness and shame. And he gives to us his glory, wholeness and indestructible life. When we think about the events of Holy Week, how Jesus was betrayed, suffered and died, I hope that we can sympathize with him, feel a small portion of his pain, share a small portion of his trouble. It will help us love him more, realizing what he went through. Being the God-Man did not make it any easier for him. But he put up with all of it out of love for us.
Thank you, Jesus. Help us to not be like Judas. Help us not to betray you, reject you, or turn against you. Help us not to deny you like Peter. Give us strength and love to be faithful to you, even as you are faithful to us. Amen.