As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed. (Matthew 17: 22-23)
Jesus told the disciples that things would soon come crashing down. He told them that they would be tried and found wanting. Even though they were distressed by His predictions, and even though they protested and swore they would remain steadfast, they did indeed betray Jesus.
In these words, the bad and sad news is that he wasn’t only talking about them; he was also talking about us. Like them, we betray Jesus.
How? We betray Him when our faith doesn’t translate into how we live; when we don’t live with gratitude; when we don’t share the good news of His love; when we gossip; when we withhold mercy; when we live small or mean; when we use or consume others; when we treat anyone with scorn, ridicule, or contempt; when we nurture resentments and stir up strife. In all these ways, and in many more, we betray Jesus, betray our faith, and betray how God wants us to live.
I encourage us to see both the bad news and the good news in today’s scripture. The bad news: We betray Jesus. The good news: Jesus doesn’t betray us.
Even though Jesus knew the disciples would betray Him, and even though He knew we would as well, He never betrays us. He never betrays us because He never withholds His mercy or love or grace. If Jesus betrayed us, He would be betraying Himself. That He never did. That He will never do.
Here’s the question we must ask ourselves: How can we betray Jesus less often, knowing that when we betray Him, we betray what’s best in us?
- Have you ever betrayed Jesus, betrayed your faith, betrayed how He calls you to live? If so, when and how?
- Are you right now betraying any of your important commitments, either to others or to yourself? If so, what would it take for you to stop so that you could be true to what most matters to you?
- Jesus would never turn His back on you, never betray you, never walk away, no matter what. How do you feel about His steadfast love? How do you think Jesus would like you to respond?