Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirty-six through fifty-six of the twenty-sixth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of scripture you find the events which Jesus spoke about and foretold beginning to take place and unfold. It’s at this particular juncture where everything Jesus spoke concerning His betrayal into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders actually taking place. What’s interesting—particularly and especially when you read this passage of scripture is how it all began within the chapter. It is worth nothing that Judas’ betrayal didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t an instantaneous decision and one that was made on the spot and spur of the moment. As you read this passage of scripture you will notice and find that the betrayal which we read about within the life of Judas began long before the act of betrayal actually took place. It would be incredibly wise for us to recognize and understand that the betrayal which Judas committed against Jesus was more than just a spontaneous act, and was actually premeditated and carefully planned out. As you begin reading this chapter found within the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find that after Jesus had finished speaking all those things He spoke concerning the Last Days and end times, He began to once more speak unto the disciples concerning the time now coming for Him to be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders. When you come to the beginning of this passage you find Jesus beginning to speak unto His disciples and once more reminding them that He was going to be betrayed into the hands of the religious system and community, and as a result of that betrayal, He would suffer many things and would ultimately die. As this chapter opens up, it not only opens up with Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning His betrayal, but we also read of the conspiracy of religion against Jesus Christ. Immediately after we read of Jesus’ words we find the religious system gathering together in order that they might conspire against Jesus the Christ to put Him to death.
The opening two verses of this chapter bring us face to face with Jesus’ words and reminder concerning His being betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, while immediately after those words were spoken we read of the scribes, the chief priests and the elders of Israel conspiring together to put Jesus to death and to remove Him from the picture. Within the first sixteen verses of this chapter we not only find the conspiracy of religion, but we also find the betrayal of relationship as religion began consisting together against Jesus and as Judas came unto and approached the priests, scribes and elders of Israel concerning betraying Jesus into their hands. We dare not miss the incredible importance of what takes place within the first sixteen verses of this chapter, for I am convinced that if it weren’t for the betrayal of relationship, the conspiracy of religion potentially would and could not gain the traction and momentum it did. It wasn’t enough for religion to conspire together against Jesus, for they had done that before. It wasn’t enough for religion to conspire against Jesus for it had already tried that once and was unsuccessful. There were previous times when religion would conspire against jesus, and even when it would seek to stone and utterly destroy Him. The truth of the matter is that despite religion’s best attempts to conspire against Jesus previously, its attempts would and could not get off the ground. There were specific times when Jesus perceived their hatred, perceived their animosity, and perceived their resentment towards Him, and knew of their desire and intention to put Him to death, and He always removes Himself from their midst. What is so incredibly interesting about this New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is that despite religion’s previous attempts to lay hold of and put Jesus to death, He would not allow Himself to be taken into their hands. In fact, even when we read the words which Jesus spoke unto His assailants in the garden, we find Him speaking unto them concerning His daily teaching in their synagogues and in the temple, and how they never seized or laid hold of Him.
What we find and what we read in the opening sixteen verses of this chapter is actually quite interesting and intriguing, for what is contained therein is the conspiracy of religion against Jesus to put Him to death, as well as the betrayal of relationship. We must recognize and understand that it wasn’t merely the conspiracy of religion that brought about the death of Jesus Christ, for the conspiracy of religion needed the betrayal of relationship to work in tandem with it. Conspiracy alone wasn’t enough, for it would need betrayal, and betrayal from one of Jesus’ own disciples to hand Him over into their hands. Try and try as they did before to conspire together against Jesus, they never had one from among Jesus’ own circle or disciples who was willing to turn on Him. What’s so intriguing about Judas’ betrayal is that it wasn’t something that was added to the plan for Jesus’ sacrifice once the time came for Him to die. If this were the case, Jesus would not have mentioned betrayal the previous two times He spoke unto His disciples concerning His being betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders. We must recognize that even betrayal was part of the redemptive plan of salvation and sacrifice and for Jesus to be put to death and die on the cross. Perhaps one of the most interesting realities surrounding the redemptive plan of salvation as set forth and displayed by the Heavenly Father in heaven was that as much as it was His divine will and plan that the Lamb of God should be slain, and was in fact slain from the foundation of the world, betrayal and suffering were a part of that eternal plan of salvation. When we speak of Jesus’ death upon the cross, it is absolutely impossible to separate His death on the cross—first from His betrayal in the garden, as well as from the tremendous amount of suffering He experienced at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel. What’s more, is that in addition to the suffering Jesus faced, experienced and endured at the hands of His own, there was an additional measure and degree of suffering He experienced before He was finally sent off to die upon the cross outside of Jerusalem atop Golgotha. The death of Jesus Christ would not only place Him directly at the mercy of His own people—place Him at the mercy of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders—but it would also place Him at the direct mercy of Gentiles and sinners. We must understand that Jesus was betrayed into the hands of religion, but it wasn’t ultimately religion that put Him to death. Oh, it is true that religion did in fact oppose and oppress Jesus, but religion would not and was not responsible for putting Jesus on the cross. What’s more, is that it wasn’t even the crowd and the mob that put Jesus to death—despite the fact that they cried out as loudly as they could “Crucify Him.” The actual act of crucifixion would take place at the hands of the Romans, for it would be the act of crucifixion that would be used to put Jesus to death. Crucifixion was not a method the Jewish people implemented for putting people to death, for even when John the Baptist was put to death, he was not crucified, but was rather beheaded at the request of Herodias’ daughter during a great feast Herod threw one night.
In order for us to truly and properly understand that which took place within this particular passage of Scripture, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that nothing that took place at this point within and during the life and ministry of Jesus took Him by surprise. Everything we find and everything we read in this particular passage of Scripture was preordained and orchestrated by the divine hand and divine will of the Father. In fact, it was the divine will and plan of the Father for His own begotten and beloved Son to take on the form of flesh, to walk among men, and to ultimately be put to death. What’s more, is that there were multiple references made by the ancient Hebrew prophets that describe this tremendous suffering which Jesus would face while walking on this earth among His own. I can’t help but be reminded of what is perhaps the single greatest reference to the suffering of Jesus as it is found within the Old Testament prophetic book of the prophet Isaiah. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament prophetic book of the prophet Isaiah you will find that there is perhaps no other prophet who had such a clearer picture concerning the Messiah who was to come than Isaiah. The entire prophetic book of Isaiah is saturated and inundated with Messianic prophecies and references concerning the Messiah that would be referenced quite frequently within the New Testament gospel of Matthew. In fact, one of the most intense, and one of the most intriguing prophecies concerning the Messiah as found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah is found in the fifty-third chapter of this Old Testament book. Beginning with the first verse of this chapter you will find the following words written and at one point spoken by the prophet concerning the Messiah:
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openers not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
Within this particular Old Testament prophetic passage we find it written and recorded by the prophet Isaiah the divine plan of salvation as set forth by the eternal Father. What’s more, is that the eternal plan of salvation—while it was spoken of and mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, as well as other prophets—did not originate within the heart and mind of the living God when they walked upon the earth. If you read the New Testament writings of the apostles and New Testament writings, as well as that which is written and recorded within the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, you will find that before the foundation of the world, the Lamb was slain and atonement was already made for our sins and for our transgressions. Twice when looking upon and seeing the Messiah John the Baptist cried out and emphatically declared, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and on one such occasion we find and read of John the Baptist emphatically declaring “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” John the Baptist knew, recognized and understood that the Lamb of God had in fact come to take away the sins of the world, and John the Baptist was able to discern and recognize the Lamb of God when he saw Him walking by the waters where he would baptize all those who came unto him. When we speak of the divine redemptive plan of salvation, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that this was a plan that was put into motion long before Jesus ever took on the form of human flesh, and long before Jesus every walked upon the face of the earth among His own. The divine redemptive plan of salvation originated within the heart and mind of the eternal Father from eternity, and the Lamb of God was slain before the foundation of the world. Many of the New Testament writers recognized and understood this reality, although it is perhaps not realized as much as it was in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In the fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we find a scene taking place and unfolding in heaven, and specifically taking place within the very throne room of the living God. It is within these two chapters where we are brought face to face with a wonderful assembly of worship that took place before the throne—and not only worship which took place before the throne, but also worship that took place of the Lamb whom John the Baptist declared would take away the sins of the world. Consider if you will that which is written, and that which is found in the fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ:
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who live there for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that live that for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:1-11).
“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look therein. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look therein. And on of the elders smith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:1-14).
It is within the fifth chapter in particular where we find it referenced concerning the Lamb who was slain and who redeemed all mankind from their sin and from their transgression. If you continue reading the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, as well as the various New Testament writings of the apostles and New Testament writers you will find it mentioned how the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, and how it was the predeterminate will of the Heavenly Father for the Son to be crucified for the salvation and redemption of mankind. The more I think about, and the more I consider this particular fact, the more I can’t help but think how everything that surrounded the death and crucifixion of the Messiah—the betrayal, the suffering, the trial, the false accusation, the opposition, and the like—was all a part of the divine plan of salvation itself. Could Jesus have gone straight to the cross without being betrayed? Absolutely. Could Jesus have gone to the cross without being conspired against by religion? Of course. Could Jesus have gone to the cross without suffering at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders? Without a doubt. Could Jesus have gone to the cross without facing and standing trial? Yes. Could Jesus have gone to the cross without all the false accusation, and without His own people turning on Him and crying “Crucify Him?” Undeniably And unmistakably yes. The truth of the matter is that everything that surrounded the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ—the agony in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, the conspiracy of religion, the trial before Herod, the trial before the Sanhedrin, the trial before Pontius Pilate, the suffering, the crown of thorns, the act of carrying His cross, the beatings He took—everything that Jesus faced and endured was all a part of the eternal and divine plan of God for the salvation of mankind. When I read the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, I can’t help but be completely and utterly gripped by the fact that both the betrayal of relationship and the conspiracy of religion were a part of the divine plan of salvation and redemption. We read of the betrayal of Judas, and in our natural minds we would be surprised and perhaps even caught off guard by the sudden act of betrayal, and yet as you read the New Testament gospel of Matthew, you will find that three different and three distinct times within his life and ministry, Jesus spoke of His betrayal, and His being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Consider if you will the three different accounts written and recorded by the apostle Matthew when Jesus spoke unto His disciples concerning his being betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders:
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:21-23).
“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19).
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Matthew 26:1-2).
In the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ we find Jesus speaking unto and declaring unto his disciples that He must needs go unto Jerusalem where He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders, and ultimately be crucified before being raised from death to life on the third day. It’s worth noting in this passage that although Jesus spoke of His suffering many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, and ultimately be put to death, He did not yet mention the act of betrayal—the very act that would help set in motion and facilitate His death and crucifixion upon the cross of Calvary. It wouldn’t be until we come to the twentieth chapter of this same New Testament book where we find and read Jesus for the first time speaking unto His disciples and making them aware of the fact that not only would He suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, and be killed, but He would also be betrayed into the hands of those who would seek to kill and destroy Him. It is when we come to the twentieth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find the first reference of Jesus being betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, while it is in the twenty-sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ that we again find it mentioned and recorded concerning the Son of many being betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders, and ultimately be crucified and put to death. While at first Jesus didn’t reference and mention His being betrayed, there would come a point when he would add to His words and to His language that He would be betrayed into the hands of both the religious, as well as the sinners. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that Judas’ betrayal not only put Jesus in the hands of the religious, but it also put Jesus in the hands of sinners as well. We dare not miss or lose sight of this particular reality, for to do so would be to miss the tremendous significance of what actually took place within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. When we come to the thirty-sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew we find the following account of the betrayal of Jesus by one of His own there in the garden. Consider if you will the account of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus there in the garden of Gethsemane during the night while Jesus was praying and fellowship with His disciples:
“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and smith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And He went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to His disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus and said, Hail, Master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword and struck a servant of the high priest’s and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkers thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? IN that some hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves four to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled” (Matthew 26:36-56).
What is found written and recorded in this passage of Scripture is the beginning of the events that would bring about the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as Judas led an insurgent of those with swords and staves into the garden where he would betray Jesus into their hands. It wasn’t enough for Judas to merely betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, and undoubtedly, he had arranged with the scribes, the elders, and the chief priests that when he did betray Him, he would be accompanied by a force strong and great enough to take Him without any type of resistance. What is so incredibly interesting and intriguing about this particular passage of Scripture is that when Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, he engaged in the act of betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane—that place of prayer, that place of communion and that place of fellowship. In fact, Judas could only know about this particular place if He had been there previously with Jesus and the other disciples. In other words—not only did Judas betray Jesus into the hands of the religious leaders of that day, but he also betrayed Him in the place of prayer and fellowship. What’s more, is that Judas didn’t merely betray the Son of man with a kiss in the place of prayer and fellowship, but Judas also betrayed Jesus with an insurgent and great multitude of those who came out against Jesus with swords and staves. Please don’t miss and/or lose sight of this particular reality, for to do so would be to miss the tremendous treachery which Judas displayed toward and against Jesus. It would be the events which we find within this passage of Scripture that would begin to set in motion Jesus’ subsequent trial before the Sanhedrin, before Herod, and ultimately before Pilate. It would be this single act of betrayal in the place of prayer, communion and fellowship that would set in motion the events that would bring about the death and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ by the Romans. What we must understand is that not only was betrayal part of the plan for Jesus’ death and sacrifice, but so also was the suffering. I can’t help but be reminded of this, for when Jesus spoke unto us concerning denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him, I am convinced that there may be those times when we find ourselves not only experiencing betrayal, but also experiencing suffering at the hands of those before and around us.
Within this particular passage we are confronted with the tremendous fact that betrayal was a part of the divine plan of God for salvation, and that betrayal often takes place at the hands, and at the behest of those who are closest to us. In other words, it would be incredibly difficult for the betrayal to be as severe were it not committed by that one, or those individuals who are closest to us. In fact, Judas’ betrayal is portrayed and typified during the days and life of David, for David himself was betrayed by his own son, and even betrayed by one who went up with him to worship the living God in the sanctuary. It is absolutely necessary that we read the words which are found and contained within this passage of Scripture, and that we would understand that the conspiracy of religion was in and of itself not enough, and that Jesus’ betrayal by one closest to Him was the catalyst that ultimately set in motion the divine plan of God for His life. Please mark and mark this well, for there might very well be times in our lives when we find ourselves being betrayed by those closest to us, and yet their betrayal and the suffering that ensues as a result will thrust us into the very center of the divine will and plan of God for our lives. IF there is one thing about this passage of Scripture that so intrigues me, it’s the fact that betrayal of Judas actually played a part in the divine plan of God to bring about the death and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. It would be one thing to think that betrayal was somehow not a part of the divine plan of God for Jesus the Christ, however, this simply isn’t the case. The more I read and the more I consider this passage of Scripture, the more I can’t help but be directly confronted with the fact that the betrayal of Judas in the garden of Gethsemane was actually instrumental in bringing about the trial of Jesus Christ, bringing about the suffering which Jesus Christ experienced, and even brought about His death upon the cross. There are those of us who think and perceive within our hearts and minds that betrayal—regardless of how deep and how devastating that betrayal is—is somehow not a part of the divine plan of God. What we find and what we read in this particular passage of Scripture is a powerful reality that betrayal is indeed, and betrayal can in fact be an integral part of the divine plan of God for your life—even it results in suffering, and even if it results. In death. Judas’ betrayal was no shock to Jesus, and it did not catch Jesus off guard or by surprise, for there were two occasions when Jesus actually proclaimed unto His disciples that He would be betrayed into the hands of the scribes, the elders, and the chief priests. In fact, one of the references found and contained within the New Testament gospel of Matthew in which Jesus foretold of His betrayal is actually found at the beginning of this particular chapter when Jesus—for the second time—prepares the disciples for His betrayal, and His betrayal which would lead to death. We would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand that betrayal can in fact be part of the divine plan of God for our lives, and was not somehow something that was added in independently from the divine will and foreknowledge of the living God. I am convinced that just as the betrayal of Judas was preordained by the living God and Heavenly Father, so too can betrayal be preordained within our own hearts and lives. Regardless of how deep; the wounds, and how deep the scars might be within our hearts and lives, that doesn’t mean that the betrayal wasn’t a part of the divine will and plan of God for our lives.