Day 192: July 11, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 26:21-25

21 While they were eating, He said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me.” 22 Deeply distressed, each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 He replied, “The one who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl—he will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, His betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”

“You have said it,” He told him.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Then Judas, His betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
“You have said it,” He told him.

—Matthew 26:25

by Derek Webster, Missions Mobilization Minister, Brentwood Campus

This is one of the most painful passages in all of Scripture. It’s so heart-wrenching in both the self-deception of Judas and the betrayal of Jesus that all four Gospels record it. The disciples were so stunned that they didn’t pick up on who Jesus was talking about. Literally, a dialogue in plain view that left them so confused they wouldn’t understand until the guards came.

This is the moment that marks the torture to come. These are the words that will lead to two deaths: one on a cross and one in a field. One is a testimony to the immeasurable love of God and the other a testimony to the immeasurable selfishness of man.

“Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Judas followed Jesus with his own agenda. He was there for every miracle and teaching. He watched as Jesus healed, heard as Jesus taught, and walked where Jesus walked. But he couldn’t pick up his cross to follow. He couldn’t leave behind his own agenda for the agenda of Jesus.

Judas wanted a king to ride into Jerusalem and overthrow the Romans. Jesus wound up being a servant that overthrows souls.

It is at this moment that Judas realizes that Jesus would rather dine than march. He would rather heal then hurt.

So Judas betrayed him. For thirty pieces of silver.

“Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

There’s a level of self-deception at work in this passage. Judas can’t even admit to himself that the agenda he holds to has preeminence over the Messiah that has come. Judas wants to die for a dream, but not a person. So he fools himself into believing he is something he isn’t. He chases his own vision in the name of Jesus, but without the indwelling of Jesus.

I wonder. How often do you and I “bless” our agendas in the name of Jesus? It’s amazing how much we justify in the name of what we hope He wants for us rather than what He actually does want for us. In spite of the fact that Jesus promises us life, we secretly hope He is promising us comfort. How many die for their own aims—as good as they are—without trusting Jesus’ way of doing it? Gandhi will march to the seas or starve Himself. Buddha will walk the earth in the name of eradicating classes. Pastors will burn books and march through streets.

But precious few will simply trust and obey to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. Our agendas for His. Our lives for His. Our hopes for His.

It would be amazing if the story simply ends with Judas. But the truth is that many betray Jesus today. They hear, follow, attend, or worship without laying down their own agendas for His.

“Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Reflection Questions

  1. Take some time to search your heart and bring to the light any hidden agendas before Jesus. What do you need to confess?
  2. Jesus is always leading us to the lost. Even this act of betrayal leads to redemption. Where is Jesus leading you?
  3. Why do you think Judas was so despondent after he betrayed Jesus? What made him unhappy with his own betrayal?
  4. How do you respond to disobedience in your own life?

About the Author

Derek Webster

Derek Webster is the Missions Mobilization Minister at Brentwood Baptist Church. He regularly teaches all over the world on cultural engagement and strategy. He, his wife Melissa, and their three sons served for 10 years with the International Mission Board in Western Europe. Prior to that, they served for 10 years in full-time ministry on the West Coast. Derek’s hobbies include music, sports, and reading.