Story of Hope


Chapter 8 - The Sacrifice

The Betrayal of Christ

Satan had deceived Judas and led him to think that he was one of Christs true disciples, but his heart had always been carnal. He had seen the mighty works of Jesus, been with Him through His ministry, and had yielded to the overpowering evidence that He was the Messiah, but Judas was stingy and covetous. He loved money. He complained angrily about the costly ointment that Mary poured on Jesus. SH 60.1

Mary loved her Lord. He had forgiven her sins, which were many, and had raised from the dead her much-loved brother, and she felt that nothing was too valuable to bestow on Jesus. The more precious the ointment, the better she could express her gratitude to her Savior by devoting it to Him. SH 60.2

As an excuse for his greed, Judas urged that the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor. But it was not because he had any care for the poor. He was selfish, and he often took for his own use the funds entrusted to his care to be given to the poor. Judas had been careless about the comfort and even the needs of Jesus, and to excuse his covetousness he often referred to the poor. Mary’s act of generosity was a most cutting rebuke of his covetous character. This prepared the way for Satan’s temptation to find a ready reception in Judas’s heart. SH 60.3

The priests and rulers of the Jews hated Jesus, but great crowds thronged to listen to His words of wisdom and to witness His mighty works. The people were stirred with the deepest interest and anxiously followed Jesus to hear the instructions of this wonderful Teacher. Many of the rulers believed on Him, but they did not dare confess their faith for fear of being put out of the synagogue. The priests and elders decided that something must be done to draw the attention of the people from Jesus. They feared that everyone would believe on Him. They could see no safety for themselves. They must either lose their position or put Jesus to death. And after they would put Him to death, there would still be those who were living monuments of His power. SH 60.4

Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, and they feared that if they were to kill Jesus, Lazarus would testify of His mighty power. The people were flocking to see the man who was raised from the dead, and the rulers determined to kill Lazarus also and put down the excitement. Then they would turn the people to human traditions and doctrines, to tithe mint and rue, and again have influence over them. They agreed to arrest Jesus when He was alone, because if they attempted to take Him in a crowd when the minds of the people were all interested in Him, they would be stoned. SH 61.1

Judas knew how anxious they were to get Jesus, and he offered to betray Him to the chief priests and elders for a few pieces of silver. His love of money led him to agree to betray his Lord into the hands of His bitterest enemies. Satan was working directly through Judas, and in the midst of the impressive scene of the last supper the traitor was making plans to betray his Master. Jesus sorrowfully told His disciples that all of them would be offended that night because of Him. But Peter ardently asserted that although all others might be offended because of Him, he would not be offended. Jesus said to Peter, “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31, 32. SH 61.2

In the Garden—Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. In deep sorrow He asked them to watch and pray, so that they would not enter into temptation. He knew that their faith was to be tried and their hopes would be disappointed, and that they would need all the strength that they could obtain by earnest watching and fervent prayer. With strong cries and weeping, Jesus prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42. The Son of God prayed in agony. Great drops of blood gathered on His face and fell to the ground. Angels were hovering over the place, witnessing the scene, but only one was commissioned to go and strengthen the Son of God in His agony. SH 61.3

After Jesus had prayed He came to His disciples, but they were sleeping. In that dreadful hour He did not have the sympathy and prayers of even His disciples. Peter, who had been so zealous a short time before, was heavy with sleep. Jesus reminded him of his positive declarations and said to him, “What? Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Matthew 26:40. Three times the Son of God prayed in agony. SH 62.1

Judas Betrays Jesus—Then Judas appeared with his band of armed men. He approached His Master as usual, to greet Him. The armed group surrounded Jesus, but then He displayed His divine power, as He said, “Whom are you seeking?” “I am He.” They fell backward to the ground. Jesus asked this question so that they could witness His power and have evidence that He could deliver Himself from their hands if He wished. SH 62.2

The disciples began to hope as they saw the crowd with their clubs and swords fall so quickly. As they arose and again surrounded the Son of God, Peter drew his sword and struck a servant of the high priest, cutting off an ear. Jesus ordered him to put the sword away, saying, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53. When He spoke these words, the faces of the angels were animated with hope. They wanted to surround their Commander then and there and disperse that angry mob. But again sadness settled over them, as Jesus added, “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” Matthew 26:54. The hearts of the disciples also sank in despair and bitter disappointment as Jesus allowed Himself to be led away by His enemies. SH 62.3

The disciples feared for their own lives, and they all abandoned Him and ran away. Jesus was left alone in the hands of the murderous mob. Oh, what a triumph of Satan then! And what sadness and sorrow among the angels of God! Many companies of holy angels, each with a tall, commanding angel at their head, were sent to witness the scene. They were to record every insult and cruelty imposed upon the Son of God, and to register every pang of anguish that Jesus would suffer, for the very men who joined in this dreadful scene are to see it all again in lifelike display. SH 63.1