Love and Betrayal

Key Verse: “As they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?”
—Matthew 26:21,22

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 26:3-15,

THE FEAST OF PASSOVER is Israel’s celebration in remembrance of liberation from slavery in Egypt. Two days before Passover, while Jesus was assembled with his disciples, he told them the Son of man was to be betrayed and crucified. At that very time, the chief priests, scribes, and elders were gathered together discussing how they might get hold of Jesus by some trick and kill him.

The Master was at the house of Simon the leper, where a woman poured a flask of very expensive perfume over his head as he reclined at the meal. “When his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.” (Matt. 26:8,9) Jesus responded that she did it for his burial. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”—vss. 14-16

On the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples asked Jesus where he wanted them to prepare for eating the Passover. They carried out all the instructions as Jesus directed, and made ready the Passover. “When the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.”—vss. 20-25

Following the supper they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus said all of them would be offended because of him that night, “For it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” (vs. 31) Impetuous Peter’s hasty response, however, was, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”—vss. 33-35

As the Scriptures and prophets had foretold, however, all the disciples forsook him and fled. (vs. 56) Meanwhile, Peter followed him to the palace. There he fulfilled Jesus’ words, denying him three times before the cock crew. “He went out, and wept bitterly.”—vss. 69-75

After our Lord’s resurrection, he appeared to the disciples as a stranger on the shore in Galilee after they had gone fishing, and had toiled all night without catching any fish. Jesus instructed them to cast the net on the right side, and the net was filled with fish. On the shore later, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him more than the others, to impress upon him a lesson in humility.—John 21

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