Day 15: Betrayal

Day 15: Betrayal

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted His heel against me”
(Psalm 41:9).

“But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” (Luke 22:48).


David, the writer of Psalm 41, was no stranger to betrayal. As in many a royal court, there were always those vying for power. Some were content to stay with the one in control, while others were looking for the next rising star to which to hitch their wagons. David was betrayed by his own son, as well as his trusted advisor, so it was not strange that he would pen words such as, “If an enemy was insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship” (Ps. 55:12-14).

Jesus faced a similar situation. Though this treachery did not catch Him by surprise, it still was a part of the suffering Christ endured as He bore our sins to the cross. There is something particularly piercing about being betrayed by a friend, and the damage extended beyond Jesus to the disciples, because these beloved men also trusted Judas and were stung by the betrayal. This, too, must have weighed on Jesus’ heart.

The fact that Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was through a kiss is a further twist of the dagger, for the word here “denotes a fervent, continuous express of affection. It was likely prolonged enough so the crowd had time to identify Jesus” (John MacArthur). MacArthur goes on to say that the kiss in Middle Eastern culture was a sign of homage, respect and affection, and that the kiss on the cheek was one which demonstrated the closest affection—one “reserved for a one with whom a person had a close personal relationship…Judas could not have chosen a more despicable way to identify Jesus, because he perverted its usual meaning so treacherously and hypocritically.”

• What forms of betrayal have you experienced? How do they help you understand what David and Jesus experienced? Have you forgiven them?
• Have you ever betrayed someone? How did you rationalize it? Have you ever sought
resolution or reconciliation with that person? Why/why not?
• How have you betrayed Jesus? Take time to reflect and confess.

Lord, I have felt the sting of betrayal, and it helps me to know You have felt that pain, as well. But it makes the agony of my own betrayal of You even deeper, because I realize more the suffering You bore from me on the cross.

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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