PART ONE: Innocent facing BETRAYAL ...
Over the past few weeks nearing Good Friday and Easter, the Lord had me reflecting on Luke 22-23 & Matthew 26. These chapters reveal the story of Jesus facing the Cross to redeem our sins. Although I've read this many times, as I'm sure you have, I was led to another aspect of Jesus' journey. A deeper understanding of the days leading up to Jesus' assignment to endure the Cross was uncovered. Over the next few weeks, we will examine the betrayal Jesus faced and intentionally pushed past, the Betrayal Ending in Victory.
Jesus faced appointed officials who were meant to bring justice…
"So they arrested him and led him to the high priest's home… The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and said, 'Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?' And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at him." Luke 22:54a, 63 NLT
Justice and freedom were not to be found as we would estimate for an innocent person. Jesus was arrested, accused, mocked, and beaten, yet he was innocent by the laws of that day. Jesus was brought by Roman guards to Pilate, the Roman Governor, for him to make a lawful verdict. Instead, Jesus found Himself immediately abandoned and pushed off onto another appointed official for the resolution of his case.
"Oh, is he a Galilean?" Pilate asked. When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas because Galilee was under Herod's jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time… Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer… Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus… Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him." Luke 23:6-9, 11, 15-16 NLT
Jesus was betrayed by the officials who were appointed to protect the innocent. Jesus was abandoned by those chosen to punish criminals deemed harmful to the community. Jesus refused to even answer, for He did no one harm. In fact, His reputation was one who performed miracles for those He came in contact with. This reputation even saturated the Roman government.
Jesus was betrayed by people who were supposed to bring balance and justice. He was innocent and maintained a pure reputation, yet he was sentenced to excruciating punishment. Jesus understands unjustified betrayal.
Have you ever been faced with betrayal?
By a trusted leader?
By the community around you?
By those that were meant to protect you?
Dictionary.com defines "betrayal" as…
the act of exposing or delivering someone to an enemy through treachery or disloyalty.
the act of disappointing a person's trust, hopes, or expectations.
the act of revealing information in violation of confidence.
failure to keep or honor a promise, principle, cherished memory, etc.
Although these definitions seem concise and accurate, they still feel incomplete when describing what it feels like to be betrayed by someone you trust. Feeling betrayed can lead us to isolation and separation. We can entertain thoughts like, "No one could possibly understand what I'm going through." The truth is that there is someone who knows how you and I feel when we encounter this kind of pain. There is one who has pushed past the pain and attained glorious victory. His name is Jesus.
How did Jesus gain Victory after Betrayal?
Jesus knew and believed what the Bible said about the coming Messiah. Jesus knew there would be suffering and betrayal for God's only Son, yet He chose to be silent and continue to move forward trusting in what God had planned.
“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people." Isaiah 53:7-8 NLT
"Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.” Zechariah 12:10
I believe Jesus could endure the ridicule, punishment, and ultimately His death at the Cross because He knew what was coming. Jesus knew the scriptures about the Messiah, God's only Son. He would sit in a place of honor, seated at the Father's right hand. Jesus knew that pain, suffering and ridicule was not the end of the story. Jesus knew His Father would give Him victory.
"The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.'" Psalm 110:1 NLT
Although Jesus knew great pain and a sacrifice was needed to fulfill His Father's plan for the atonement of sins, He also knew there was a great victory in His future. Trusting His Father to be faithful and believing scripture to be true gave Him the proper perspective needed to push past the betrayal and gain victory for all of us.
What do you know about the character of Father God?
What do you know from scripture about God's plan for you and your future?
What is God saying to you right now about any betrayal you might have experienced?
"For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!" Deuteronomy 20:4 NLT
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NLT
The God of the Universe, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, is the one who is with you to fight against your enemies. God understands the sorrows, hurt and pain you face. He knows things can be trying at times. Trust God. He will give you victory! You do not need to fight betrayal alone. Allow God to give you the proper heavenly perspective. The victory is already won!
STOP. Take a breath, or maybe three. Pause and give God an offering of your time. Allow Jesus to come to you right where you are. Allow Him to invade the eyes of your heart. Allow Him to speak and show you what He wants to reveal about Betrayal. Let Him come and minister to any areas of pain. Allow Him to move freely. Allow Him to bring victory to the hurt places in your heart. Allow Him to apply His love and power to move you past the betrayal or rejection and into His loving arms of peace, redemption and victory!
Pray and speak with Him:
Father God, thank you for always being with me no matter what I face. Thank you for sending your only Son to atone for the sins of the world, mine and others. I can trust in your plans knowing you fight for me when I face unjustified betrayal. I ask today that you would give me a heavenly perspective to push past the betrayal. I choose now to forgive in the way you forgave those that betrayed you. Help me to trust in your plans even when I haven’t yet seen the end of the story. Nothing is beyond your power to bring victory in my life. I receive your peace and declare I will trust you because you are trustworthy. In Jesus Name, Amen.
In His Grace,
Sparkling Brooks Ministries