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Betrayal's Role in Holy Week

  • Rick Renner Author
  • 2008 3 Mar
  • COMMENTS
Betrayal's Role in Holy Week

Have you ever felt betrayed by a friend or by someone you dearly loved? When it happened, were you shocked? Did it feel like that person put a knife in your back by violating your trust and revealing things that should have been kept in confidence? Did you marvel that such a trusted friend could turn out to be so disloyal? Did you wonder, How in the world could a person so dear and close be used so viciously by the devil to attack me in this way? 

It’s painful when a friend betrays you. It’s even worse when the person is your best friend or someone you’ve known and trusted for many years.

Betrayal is something that has happened to people since the beginning of time. It is simply a fact that the devil is a master at distorting and ruining relationships. He knows how to lure people into situations where they end up feeling offended or hurt; then he coaxes them into nurturing their offense until it mutates into strife that separates even the best of friends and family.

Don’t forget — Satan was kicked out of Heaven because of his unique ability to create confusion, discord, and strife. Heaven is as perfect as an environment can be. Yet in that perfect environment, the devil was still able to affect one-third of the angels with his slanderous allegations against God. Angels who had worshiped together for eons of time now stood opposed to each other over issues the devil had conjured up in their minds.

That should tell you how clever the devil is at creating discord and strife! If the devil is persuasive enough to do this with angels, think how much easier it is for him to deceive people who live in a far-from-perfect environment and who wrestle daily with their own imperfections and self-images!

Satan watches for that opportune moment when a person is tired, weary, or exasperated; then he waits until someone does something that person doesn’t understand or agree with. Suddenly it is as if the devil shoots a fiery arrow of rage straight into the person’s emotions! Before long, strife, bitterness, unforgiveness, and division begin to mount. Friends who once stood side by side and cherished each other now stand facing each other as hostile rivals.

If this sounds familiar, be encouraged! This same scenario happened to Jesus! After working with Judas Iscariot for three years, the devil found his way into Judas’ soul, turning him so sour against Jesus that this disciple became His betrayer.

But we need to ask: What opened the door for this deception to occur inside Judas?

In John 13:2, the Bible gives us a very powerful insight into the way the devil establishes a foothold in people’s minds. Back in John 12:3-7, Mary brought a pound of spikenard and poured it on Jesus’ feet. Judas thought her act of love was a waste of money and took issue with Jesus about it. But Jesus told Judas to leave Mary alone and allowed her to continue. John 13:2 then tells us, “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.”

What was the exact moment that Satan put this thought into Judas’ heart? Apparently, it was when Judas became offended with Jesus about the spikenard. Perhaps Judas didn’t agree with Jesus’ decision, or maybe he didn’t like the fact that Jesus told him to leave Mary alone. Or maybe it was because Judas was a thief. As the ministry treasurer who stole regularly from the moneybag he held, he probably didn’t like it when money was spent elsewhere instead of being placed in the treasury!

Whatever the reason, it was at that moment of disagreement that the devil found an open door into Judas’ heart.

Especially notice the phrase “...the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot.…” The words “put into” come from the Greek word ballo, which means to throw, to cast, to thrust, or to inject. This word ballo carries the idea of a very fast action of throwing, thrusting, or injecting something forward, such as the throwing of a ball or rock, or the forward thrusting of a sharp knife.

It is significant that this word was used in this context, because it tells us how quickly the devil moved to inject a seed of betrayal into Judas’ heart. When the seed of betrayal was injected, it went so deep that it turned Judas — one of Jesus’ closest associates — into a deceiver and a betrayer. Judas became the epitome of a disloyal and unfaithful friend.

When Satan finally penetrated Judas’ mind and emotions with this seed of betrayal, he injected it so hard and fast that it became deeply embedded or lodged in Judas’ soul.

John 13:2 could therefore be translated:“...the devil having now thrust into.…”; “...the devil having now inserted into.…”; “...the devil having now forcibly hurled into.…”; or “...the devil having now embedded into.…”

There is no doubt that the word ballo means the devil quickly seized an opportunity to inject a seed of betrayal into Judas’ heart. He was so offended by Jesus that a window to his heart and emotions opened, even if only for a brief moment. When the devil saw that opening, he moved like lightning to penetrate Judas’ mind and emotions in order to sour a long-term relationship and turn a trusted friend into a betrayer.

Judas was used as Satan’s instrument because he allowed the enemy to drive a wedge between him and Jesus. Rather than let go of the disagreement and forget about it, Judas let the issue become a big deal in his mind — something so blown out of proportion that the devil was able to use the offense to lure him into the ultimate act of disloyalty. Because Judas didn’t take his thoughts captive, the devil succeeded in tainting his view of Jesus. This then led to a disastrous effect on Judas’ relationship with Him.

It is important that you learn how to recognize those times when the devil tries to inject a seed of division into your heart. He wants to drive a wedge between you and the people you love. Rather than let him get away with this evil tactic, make a decision to resist every temptation to get angry and offended. By resisting these thoughts, you can take a stand against the devil and protect your relationships.

Learn from the example of Judas Iscariot. Determine that you will never let any issue get so blown out of proportion that it turns you into a disloyal, lying, betraying friend. And if you are hurting right now because someone has recently betrayed and hurt you, choose the route of forgiveness. Remember, what you sow is what you reap — and if you sow forgiveness now, you will reap forgiveness from others when you need it in the future.

Think About It

  • The devil is a destroyer and is therefore masterful when it comes to ruining relationships. Can you recall a time in your own life when the devil used a friend or someone you trusted to betray you, violate your trust, or cause you grief and inward pain? What are the lessons you learned as a result of walking with God through that difficult experience?
  • Has there ever been a time when the devil used you to betray someone else? Did you ever stop to think of the pain you brought into that person’s life as a result of your actions? Did you ever go back to him or her to ask for forgiveness and to try to make it right?
  • Relationships are a vital element in the fabric of our lives. People can use their influence in our lives either to aid or to hinder our divine purpose. Think of some of the crucial relationships in your life. In what way can you add value to those individuals’ lives to strengthen them along the course of their divine destiny?

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Excerpted from: Paid In Full: An In-Depth Look at the Defining Moment of Christ’s Passion, by Rick Renner. Used with permission.
Teach All Nations Publishers, ISBN: 0-9779459-1-X.
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Rick Renner is a highly respected leader, teacher, and author within the global Christian community, best known for his ministry in the former Soviet Union and his interpretation of the Greek New Testament. Rick attended the University of Oklahoma, where he studied Classical Greek, Journalism, and Mass Communication. In the years that followed, he continued his extensive study of the Greek New Testament, later earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Ministry. His vast knowledge of the Greek is evidenced in Sparkling Gems of the Greek, which has sold over 100,000 copies. Rick is founder and pastor of the largest and fastest growing church in Russia, The Moscow Good News Church, the Good News Association of Churches and Ministries for Russia, Latvia, and Ukraine assisting approx. 700 churches throughout and has launched “It’s Possible!”, a humanitarian foundation that currently distributes vitamins monthly to thousands of pensioners in Moscow and also bringing assistance to their prison ministry, orphanages, and feeding the hungry. He is the author of more than ten books including the best-sellers, Dressed to Kill (400,000 copies sold), Ten Guidelines to Help You Achieve Your Long-Awaited Promotion, Point of No Return, Insights on Successful Leadership and more. He has been a guest on Joyce Meyer’s “Enjoying Everyday Life”, “Life Today” with James & Betty Robison, Trinity Broadcasting Networks, “Praise the Lord” program and more. His daily television broadcast, “Good News with Rick Renner” can be seen by a potential 100 million viewers across Russia. Rick and his wife, Denise, make their home in Russia along with their three sons: Paul, Philip and Joel, who are all actively involved in the ministry.

Originally published on: March 17, 2008