Betrayal is an ugly word. The heart of betrayal is always love of self. Take Judas, for example. He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Can you even imagine?
Here he was, impersonating a disciple and professing to follow Jesus, but deep down it was never real. Deep down inside this man had an insatiable desire for money that stuck with him because he was never saved. He never believed the message of Jesus but was simply pretending.
There are many parables in Matthew with this same theme of impersonation. The parable of the seeds, the parable of the wheat and tares, the parable of the wedding garment, the parable of the dragnet, and the parable of the wise and foolish virgins all seem to focus in on this truth: There will be many who claim to follow Jesus but are actually only pretending.
At the end of the age and when Jesus comes back in all His glory, He tells us that he will finally separate true believers from the pretenders (Matthew 25:31-46). True believers will go into the Kingdom that has been prepared for them and the pretenders will be cast into everlasting darkness.
This is a sobering truth.
And, with this truth, comes a few questions we all should be asking.
Am I living for God or for self?
Am I a true follower or a pretender?
What would it take for me to turn my back on Jesus? A little ridicule? Unpopularity among my peers? Severe persecution?
Pretenders always show themselves when it becomes difficult to be a true follower of Jesus. And with the way this world is going currently, I would guess we will start to see many who show their true colors.
The thing that makes it difficult to discern is that so many pretenders continue to pretend but they change the rules. They make up all kinds of falsehoods about God and His Word and twist scripture irreparably, all while claiming to be a follower of Christ. This is why all things must be examined in light of the Bible.
Judas betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver. But many betray him for far less than that. They betray Him for a few extra dollars on their IRS return check. They betray Him for a job promotion or to be liked by their co-workers. They betray Him to avoid discomfort and conflict. Or to gain a popular following on social media.
May it never be said of us that we have betrayed our Lord.
Thankfully, in this same chapter where we learn of Judas (Matthew 26), we also see the failure of the disciples to acknowledge Jesus when He is arrested. This reminds us that a true disciple can really mess up sometimes. We can turn our backs temporarily as we fall to temptation.
But a true disciple will feel deep remorse and repent and change. That’s how we can know the difference. False disciples fall away and never return. True disciples ask for forgiveness and change.
I am so glad God put those verses about the disciples in that same chapter so that we can understand just how great His grace is and that sometimes true followers really fail.
And so Matthew 26 gives us so much to consider. What would it take for you to turn your back on Jesus permanently? Hopefully, the answer to this question for all of us is nothing.
I often think of something I read a long time ago about the martyrs who were burnt at the stake for Christ so many years ago. While they hung on a pole with the flames licking their feet, many of these martyrs sang praises to God. They sang.
Oh, what a great encouragement this is by demonstrating that God can give us a song in the midst of any trial or persecution. Oh, may we keep singing by and through God’s all-sufficient grace, all the while knowing that we have a far greater glory that awaits!
The worst kind of deception is deception about our eternal destiny. Please click on link below to read what God says in His Word about our eternity–