A Universal Back-Stabbing
I’ve never noticed until yesterday the severity of the disciples’ betrayal of their Lord in the last hours of His life–and not just the severity of their betrayal, but the universal scope of their betrayal. Each of the disciples broke the heart of their master in some way in those final hours. Matthew 26 illustrates this for us.
1. A Disappointment – vv. 40-46 – His disciples kept falling asleep in the garden instead of praying and keeping watch.
2. A Betrayal – v. 49 – Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of the sanhedrin for 30 pieces of silver.
3. A Desertion – v. 56 – “…Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” – Following Judas’ betrayal, the rest of the disciples scattered. They deserted Him.
4. A Denial – vv. 69-75 – Peter denied that He knew Jesus three times to people he didn’t know.
This same group that had shared their last meal together and sang hymns together (v. 30) all betrayed their Lord in one way or another only moments later. From this one chapter there is this escalating scale of betrayal culminating with Peter denying Jesus three times and the rooster acting as the capstone, the final note of this tragedy.
Lord, as I think about how You were so badly mistreated by Your closest friends in those last hours of Your life before the cross, my pride wants to ask,
“How in the world could Jesus’ friends have acted this way only moments before Your death? Why? What would drive them to such a low?”
And yet, if I’m honest with myself I have to acknowledge that I would have done the very same things–or even worse. I would have disappointed You by falling asleep instead of praying. I would have betrayed You for money. I would have deserted You, fled the scene, and run toward safety. And I would have denied that I knew You–at least three times–maybe more if given the chance.
I know that about myself because I’ve already done them–some in my heart–some in public. I’m quick to point the finger at the disciples and quick to ignore … the four pointing back at me? No. The middle one that I’ve got raised in the air as a rebel to a cause already lost. In this case, the lost cause being this sense of self-righteous entitlement–a battle I’ll never win because I’m entitled to nothing, save Hell itself! So why do I go kicking and screaming when all You want is my surrender?–the white flag–to give it all over to You.
O Lord, forgive me. It was I who disappointed, betrayed, deserted, and denied You. And then it was I who stripped, cursed at, beat, stabbed, mocked and nailed you to a cross leaving You for dead. Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for it was I who murdered You.