Jesus Predicts His Betrayal


TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH RC SPROUL

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
===========================
Matthew 26:20–25 “The Son of Man goes
as it is written of 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” (v.
24).

Per the custom of their day, Jesus and His disciples recline at the
Passover,
lying on cushions arranged like a horseshoe around the table (Matt.
26:20).
Some commentators believe that the room in which they are
commemorating the
exodus belongs to John Mark, an associate of Barnabas and
Paul (Acts 15:36–41)
and probable author of the second book of the New
Testament. Whether or not
this is the case, we do know that Jesus sees this
Passover as the beginning of
events absolutely critical to His work. In 26:18
Matthew uses the word kairos,
one of the Greek terms we translate as “time.”
This is significant because
kairos refers to a decisive or special moment.
Christ knows the climactic
point of His ministry is soon to come while He is
eating His last supper.

Such knowledge of the future is also shown when
Jesus reveals that He will be
handed over to sinners (vv. 20–21). This
betrayal fulfills Scripture (v. 24),
but how? First, the Messiah must feel
the punishment His sinful people have
earned and Judas’ betrayal may be one
way the Father metes out His wrath.
Israel pledged to follow God and then
betrayed Him, breaking His Law (Hos. 8);
now Jesus — the true Israel —
endures in the place of His people the same
betrayal they deserve for
double-crossing the covenant Lord. In Christ, God
repays Israel in kind.
Moreover, though the Psalms belong to the entire
covenant community, the
Psalter is uniquely the king’s song book. David’s
greatest son can only sing
the Psalms if He feels a friend’s betrayal (see Ps.
55).

Of course,
Judas does not operate independently of the Almighty’s sovereign
decree
(Matt. 26:24–25). But Judas’ evil purpose makes him no less guilty
for
bringing about what God has ordained. John Calvin comments, “Men can
do
nothing but what God has appointed, still this does not free them
from
condemnation, when they are led by a wicked desire to sin. For though
God
directs them, by an unseen bridle, to an end which is unknown to them,
nothing
is farther from their intention than to obey his decrees.” Christ’s
betrayal
results both from divine fiat and human sin, yet God, mysteriously,
remains
untainted by evil in the process. This exemplifies the doctrine of
providence.

Coram deo: Living before the face of
God
========================================
Calvin reminds us to “always
place before our minds the providence of God,
which Judas himself, and all
wicked men — though it be contrary to their wish,
and though they have
another end in view — are compelled to obey.” The Lord is
able to bring about
what He wills even through the wicked deeds of men. We
should therefore trust
that He is working out His good purposes for His people
even as others do
evil to us (Rom. 8:28).

For further study:

Psalm 41

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