The Betrayal of Christ
I WAS carried down to the time when Jesus
ate the Passover supper with His disciples. Satan had deceived Judas and led him to think
that he was one of Christ's true disciples; but his heart had ever been carnal. He had
seen the mighty works of Jesus, he had been with Him through His ministry, and had yielded
to the overpowering evidence that He was the Messiah; but Judas was close and covetous; he
loved money. He complained in anger of the costly ointment poured upon Jesus.
Mary loved her Lord. He had
forgiven her sins, which were many, and had raised from the dead her much-loved brother,
and she felt that nothing was too dear to bestow upon Jesus. The more precious the
ointment, the better she could express her gratitude to her Saviour by devoting it to Him.
Judas, as an excuse for his
covetousness, urged that the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor. But it
was not because he had any care for the poor; for he was selfish, and often appropriated
to his own use that which was entrusted to his care to be given unto the poor. Judas had
been inattentive to the comfort and even to the wants of Jesus, and to excuse his
covetousness he often referred to the poor. This act of generosity on the part of Mary was
a most cutting rebuke of his covetous disposition. The way
was prepared for Satan's
temptation to find a ready reception in the heart of Judas.
The priests and rulers of the
Jews hated Jesus, but multitudes thronged to listen to His words of wisdom and to witness
His mighty works. The people were stirred with the deepest interest and anxiously followed
Jesus to hear the instructions of this wonderful Teacher. Many of the rulers believed on
Him, but dared not confess their faith lest they should be put out of the synagogue. The
priests and elders decided that something must be done to draw the attention of the people
from Jesus. They feared that all men would believe on Him. They could see no safety for
themselves. They must lose their position or put Jesus to death. And after they should put
Him to death, there would still be those who were living monuments of His power.
Jesus had raised Lazarus from
the dead, and they feared that if they should kill Jesus, Lazarus would testify of His
mighty power. The people were flocking to see him who was raised from the dead, and the
rulers determined to slay Lazarus also, and put down the excitement. Then they would turn
the people to the traditions and doctrines of men, to tithe mint and rue, and again have
influence over them. They agreed to take Jesus when He was alone, for if they should
attempt to take Him in a crowd, when the minds of the people were all interested in Him,
they would be stoned.
Judas knew how anxious they
were to obtain Jesus and offered to betray Him to the chief priests and elders for a few
pieces of silver. His love of money led him to agree to betray his Lord into the hands of
His bitterest enemies. Satan was working directly through Judas, and in the midst of the
scene of the last supper the traitor was devising plans to betray his Master.
Jesus sorrowfully told His disciples that all of them would be offended because of Him
that night. But Peter ardently affirmed that although all others should be offended
because of Him, he would not be offended. Jesus said to Peter, "Satan hath desired to
have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail
not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31, 32.
I beheld Jesus in the garden
with His disciples. In deep sorrow He bade them watch and pray, lest they should enter
into temptation. He knew that their faith was to be tried and their hopes disappointed,
and that they would need all the strength which they could obtain by close watching and
fervent prayer. With strong cries and weeping, Jesus prayed, "Father, if Thou be
willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done." Luke
22:42. The Son of God prayed in agony. Great drops of blood gathered upon His face and
fell to the ground. Angels were hovering over the place, witnessing the scene, but only
one was commissioned to go and strengthen the Son of God in His agony. There was no joy in
heaven. The angels cast their crowns and harps from them and with the deepest interest
silently watched Jesus. They wished to surround the Son of God, but the commanding angels
suffered them not, lest, as they should behold His betrayal, they should deliver Him; for
the plan had been laid, and it must be fulfilled.
After Jesus had prayed He
came to His disciples, but they were sleeping. In that dreadful hour He had not the
sympathy and prayers of even His disciples.
Peter, who was so zealous a short time before,
was heavy with sleep. Jesus reminded him of his positive declarations and said to him,
"What, could ye not watch with Me one hour?" Matt. 26:40. Three times the Son of
God prayed in agony.
Then Judas, with his band of
armed men, appeared. He approached His Master as usual, to salute Him. The band surrounded
Jesus; but there He manifested His divine power, as He said. "Whom seek ye?"
"I am He." They fell backward to the ground. Jesus made this inquiry that they
might witness His power and have evidence that He could deliver Himself from their hands
if He would.
The disciples began to hope
as they saw the multitude with their staves and swords fall so quickly. As they arose and
again surrounded the Son of God, Peter drew his sword and smote a servant of the high
priest and cut off an ear. Jesus bade him to put up the sword, saying, "Thinkest thou
that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve
legions of angels?" Matt. 26:53. I saw that as these words were spoken, the
countenances of the angels were animated with hope. They wished then and there to surround
their Commander and disperse that angry mob. But again sadness settled upon them, as Jesus
added, "But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Matt. 26:54. The hearts of the disciples also sank in despair and bitter disappointment as
Jesus suffered Himself to be led away by His enemies.
The disciples feared for
their own lives, and they all forsook Him and fled. Jesus was left alone in the hands of
the murderous mob. Oh, what a triumph
of Satan then! And what sadness and sorrow with the
angels of God! Many companies of holy angels, each with a tall commanding angel at their
head, were sent to witness the scene. They were to record every insult and cruelty imposed
upon the Son of God, and to register every pang of anguish which Jesus should suffer; for
the very men who joined in this dreadful scene are to see it all again in living
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved