Jesus was betrayed by Judas, exposing Jesus to His enemies and ultimately leading him to death on a cross. Yet, this betrayal also revealed astoundingly peace-filled moments in the last hours of Jesus’ life. Here are some:
Jesus had intimate knowledge of His betrayer—He knew Judas would betray Him (Matthew 26:21) and He knew the very moment when Judas would betray Him (Matthew 26:46)—and Jesus didn’t prevent it.
Jesus’ disciple Peter used a sword to slice off an ear of a servant of the high priest who was among those intending to arrest Jesus—but Jesus healed the ear and told Peter to sheath his sword.
Jesus testified to the Father’s willingness to receive an appeal of protection from Jesus—to send 12 legions of angels (Matthew 26:53)—but Jesus never asked the Father for them.
Jesus didn't pursue prevention of His arrest, protection from the crucifixion, or retribution against those who came to take Him to death—when He had opportunity for all three. Jesus, while facing what He knew would be an excruciating death to bear the punishment and wrath of God for the sins of all who believe for all time, was at perfect peace.
Yet, perhaps one of the most instructive details in the accounts of Jesus’ being betrayed is one easiest to miss. Jesus references the Scriptures—stating that everything happening to Him was in accordance with what was written. Jesus knew He was in the process of fulfilling prophecy as the long-awaited Messiah (Acts 3:18).
When predicting Judas’ act of betrayal, He said:
“The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him…”
Matthew 26:24, emphasis added
Right after instructing Peter to sheath his sword, He said:
“Do you think I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
Matthew 26:53-54, emphasis added
I could not help but think of Jesus’ words earlier in His ministry, spoken when He was being tempted by the devil. Jesus said:
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Jesus didn’t ask for what He was truly due as the Son of God. His plan was for the Father’s will to be done (John 14:31), and to have the joy set before Him—while despising the shame of the cross—of saving many for the glory of God (Hebrews 12:2, Ephesians 1:6). His plan was to see the Scriptures fulfilled—that was the peace-filled perspective He spoke of when being betrayed. Jesus perfectly exemplified living on the basis of the word of God.
Do You Feel Betrayed by God?
Sweet mom, are you tempted to feel betrayed by God due to your extreme suffering? Are you tempted to feel like He betrayed you to this enemy of death and pain? Think about this: when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, He knew He had not been betrayed by the Father. For Jesus knew the Father's purpose and plans in sending Him.
Like Jesus, when being betrayed to death by Judas, we can look to God's plan. Like Jesus, we can have poignant perspective and peace from the Scriptures, perspective that directs our hearts toward God.
The Gospel of John records in detail the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples prior to being betrayed. So we know exactly what was on Jesus' agenda to share with His disciples in His last hours before crucifixion. His words give us an outline for understanding our present suffering.
Jesus speaks to the disciples as friends, telling them future plans for the world.
Jesus called the disciples close like the nearest of friends and have significant understanding about His plans for this world.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
In 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, His ordered plans are further detailed for us:
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
He does not leave us alone, but gives us the Helper.
Presently, the risen Christ is at the right hand of the Father while He awaits returning, with praiseworthy patience (considering the manifold evil in this world, the hardships His people are enduring, and the abuse brought daily to His holy name!). He is waiting to return so that those who do not yet believe in Him have opportunity for repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). But He says that while we believers wait for His coming, we are not alone. The apostles' teachings recorded in the Scriptures that we have read (above) were guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13a). And we believers also receive the Helper, the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16
He says that tribulation will occur in a fallen world, but that He has overcome.
Prior to being betrayed, Jesus speaks about the tribulation that the disciples will have because of this fallen world. He speaks of the persecution they will experience because they no longer follow the ways of the world (John 15:18). Yet, He promises that He has overcome the system of the world, meaning He will, with certainty, complete His plans.
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
He indicates purposes in His people remaining on earth.
Jesus next implies that instead of taking believers to heaven the moment we place our faith in Him, we stay with purpose in this world to testify to Him for the remainder of our God-appointed earthly lives. Yet, while we live here, we have the assurance that we can no longer belong to the evil one. And we have the Scriptures as our tremendously peace-giving defense system in this world. Jesus prays to the Father about purpose and protection:
“I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
Patience and the Last Enemy
Jesus disclosed to us the state of this world. He spoke that this world would not be right until He returns. He said that He would not immediately take those who believe out of the world; He has purpose left for His people here. Not the author of sin or the reason death is here, He is the reason we can expect with joy that the enemy of death will be defeated.
Jesus has overcome the system of this world, and He has a plan.
He arose, and ascended to the right hand of God. He will return for His people, and finally, He will put everything, every enemy, in right order underneath His reign—the last enemy being death, which will be destroyed.
None of this dismisses the reality of pain. Scripture clearly calls death an enemy, and being affected by this enemy inflicts pain beyond what we can express. Thankfully, Jesus does not lead His people astray or desert us. We have the Word of truth to keep us solid, the Helper who is near, and His assurance that—no matter what His people experience—we will never belong to the evil one.
Jesus said that He would be patient to return so that the full number might believe in Him (Rom. 11:25). He is working His salvation in this world, raising people out of their sin to follow Him. And only God knows the moment this work that keeps Him presently in heaven will be done. Faith in the gospel implies having faith in Jesus’ timing.
All that He has told me in His Word gives me unfaltering peace. King Jesus—the same Jesus with indescribable peace facing His betrayal and with compassionate words of provision and instruction before being taken away to death—is on the throne. And I can trust in His plans in the Scriptures, that the Savior will return. I find joy today in enduring for the joy that is ahead.
This post was originally written at Hope Mommies.