Bible Reading: Luke 22:1-30
It is easy to point out someone else’s failure as a follower of Jesus. But, is it easy to point out your success as a follower of Jesus?
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Traitor. That’s an ugly word. It is a word that you would never want someone to use about you. A traitor is someone who attempts to overthrow the government.
One of the most famous (or infamous…that means famous for a bad reason) traitors in American history was Benedict Arnold. He was actually one of the early colonists who joined the fight against England in the Revolutionary War…so that America could become a free country. He was a General in the American Continental Army and became the Commander of the West Point fort in New York. But for some reason he betrayed his country. He sent a letter to the British military offering to surrender the fort to them. However, the letter was intercepted, and his plan was revealed. When Arnold heard that the letter had been intercepted, he fled to a British ship that was anchored in the Hudson River. George Washington became furious when he found out that one of his own generals had betrayed the country. Then, in September of 1780, Arnold joined the British army. They made him a Brigadier General and paid him a lot of money.
Why did Benedict Arnold betray the very country that he was trying to help start? Some people believe that he was frustrated at being passed over for promotion in the military, upset that others were taking credit for his achievements, and that he was angry that he was being accused of taking private property from the colonists for the use of the army. But, whatever the reason, he would be known for the rest of his life…and throughout American history…as a traitor.
The same idea can be applied to relationships between people. A traitor is someone who betrays the trust and confidence of another person. Jesus had a traitor among His disciples, named Judas. He betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities. He is the one who identified Jesus when the Jewish leaders decided to capture and crucify Him. Why did Judas betray Jesus? We don’t know for sure, but there are several suggestions in the Bible…
- He didn’t think that Jesus understood His real role as the Messiah. That being to establish the kingdom of God on earth. So, he thought that he would force Jesus to make a move, to do something. He thought that when the Jews tried to arrest Him…Jesus and the disciples would fight back and then lead a revolt against the Romans.
- To overthrow the Roman government. But this wasn’t so much for a religious purpose, like the first reason…it was purely a political move. Judas might have taken the side of a group of Jews called “Zealots”. They were a political organization that was opposed to the Roman government. Maybe Judas was simply trying to use Jesus as a weapon of the Zealots against the Romans.
- He wanted to be more notable among the disciples. Judas was not one the “important” disciples. He wasn’t like James, and John, and Peter…they were the closest to Jesus and the most influential leaders among the 12 Apostles. Maybe Judas thought that he would do something that would move him up the ladder of leadership.
- For the money. After all, the Jews did pay him to betray Jesus. Maybe he had been following Jesus for almost three years and he felt that he deserved something for all that he had done.
The Bible kind of hints at why Judas betrayed Jesus…but it doesn’t just come right out and say, “This is the reason why.” And there could be a reason for that. Could it be that in a way…Judas is a warning, for us. Not that you, or I, would ever, ever betray Jesus. No way! But, do we ever allow some of those same things to influence our commitment and obedience to Jesus? Think about it…
- Has there ever been a time when you have prayed…and not gotten the answer that you wanted…and you thought that maybe you could give Jesus a little advice? Evidently, He didn’t understand the procedure…you pray and He answers. You just want to help Him out. It’s not betrayal…but, it is trying to take over His role and authority, just a little bit, isn’t it?
- Or, do people ever want Jesus to be on their side of the argument? Do we ever see ourself as being “the” representative of what Jesus would when there is a difference of opinion? When really, both people can be faithful followers of Jesus…but just have different opinions about something that is not necessarily a religious issue (like the color of the carpet in the sanctuary…believe me, more than one church has split over that deeply religious and theological issue!).
- Have you ever been disappointed in Jesus…because you were not recognized at the church for something that you did? Or, someone else was chosen to lead a group, and not you.
- Finally, surely you’ve never felt that you deserve God’s blessing for the wonderful things that you have done to serve Him…have you?
Traitor. Betrayal. Those are ugly words. I don’t think that they would ever be used of any of us. But on the other hand…could the opposite words be used of us? Faithful. Obedient. Trustworthy. Dependable. Reliable. Committed. Those are good words, beautiful words. Those are the words that should be used of a follower of Jesus. What about you? Would Jesus use those words about you?
Love you more than bunches and bunches,