THE TALE OF TWO BETRAYALS - (or The Devil Made Me Do It)
    
     I know we all have had some experience with betrayal.  Sometimes as the Betrayer and sometimes as the Betrayed.  I think of a dark time in Jesus’s Ministry when he was celebrating Passover with his disciples and he was soon to become the Passover Lamb himself.  I think about Judas Iscariot and how he had spent hours, days, years at the foot of the Master, witnessing His healings, raising the dead, His casting out of demons, and numerous other miracles.  He had seen Jesus’s joy, anger and tears.  He even had his feet washed by the Son of God.  What could have turned his heart so cold?  Was it an act of his will or some demonic control that was beyond his own choices?  Could ever our own hearts be so stony within our chests that we could turn from our Savior and sell Him to his death for thirty pieces of silver?  Perhaps an examination of the scriptures could shed some light?  Jesus said “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of man.  It would be better for him if he had not been born”.   Mark echoes the same words in Mk 14:21.  But Luke gives us some insight into the spiritual side of the equation with “Then satan entered Judas, called Iscariot. . .”  In Lk 22:3.   John provides the most spiritual insight with “. . . The devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus” Jn 13:2 and finally “as soon as Judas took the bread, satan entered into him. . .” Jn 13:27.  This seems to indicate that while Judas was setting up the deal with 30 pieces of silver as the prize, he was “prompted” by satan but wasn’t fully taken over by him until he accepted the piece of bread that had been dipped.   The bread scenario was a fulfillment of scripture according to Jesus in  verse 18  “. . .  he who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me”  The prophecy coming from  Ps 41:9 “even my close friend whom I trusted, who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”  Almost as if the completion of this prophecy was the signal for satan to take possession.
      Now of course, in an act of free will we also have the free will to seek forgiveness.  It is said in Matthew 27:3-4 when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders, “I have sinned” he said “for I have betrayed innocent blood” then in verse 5 “so Judas threw the money into the temple and left.  Then he went away and hanged himself.”  Now on some level it would please me to think that Judas’ remorse lead to his repentance and he sought forgiveness. But none of his actions following his sorrowfulness would indicate that Judas considered himself forgiven. 
      I did say this was a Tale of Two Betrayals . . .  The second Betrayal also happened on the same night in question.  Lets go straight to the spiritual happenings as recorded in Lk 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
     Now it is obvious that Simon Peter also witnessed the same acts of Jesus that Judas had, yet had a different impact on his life.  Lets make clear that Peter was not without faults.  A sense of arrogance being chief among them.  In the following verse he says “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison, and to death” Lk 22:33.  Personally, I have found that in a fight  the talking part is easier than the fighting part.  He denied knowing Jesus & cursed and swore to make his point.  As Jesus predicted the cock crowed the third time and Peter’s betrayal was complete.  His response afterward, consistent in three Gospels, “he wept bitterly”.  Both individuals identified their mistake but their responses varied greatly from that point on.  Judas went on to suicide and Peter went on to repentance and restoration and on to lead the greatest act of love God ever bestowed upon mankind.  Christianity.
     Any man (woman) can witness God’s miracles and love and go on to betray that very same love. It is how he responds after he recognizes that sin that makes all the difference.  Color that monkey any color you want, if it keeps you from God then it is sin and needs to go.  Life is too short and eternity too long to delay how you will respond to Jesus’ call.  Sin is a spiritual sickness and needs to be dealt with in your spirit.  Choose wisely, ask forgiveness, forgive yourself, and grow in God’s light.

Many other Titles:  www.gospelnotes.net - Link 1 is Index                          *  Andrew B. Hellman  *