The Sadness of Betrayal

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Leviticus 15-16; Matthew 27:1-26


When Judas, who betrayed Jesus, saw that Jesus was condemned to die, he felt deep regret. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, and said, “I did wrong because I betrayed an innocent man.”

But they said, “What is that to us? That’s your problem.” Judas threw the silver pieces into the temple and left. Then he went and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5, Common English Bible).

I don’t know how many times I have read Matthew 27:3-5 over the years. Every time I read it I find myself shaking my head. Most of the time I shake my head at Judas for betraying Jesus for such a small price. But, then again, if you would do it for any price, large or small, you are a betrayer.

When I started shaking my head this time I realized I wasn’t shaking my head at Judas but at Chief Priests and Elders. They knew Jesus was innocent. They knew they had to take him to Pilate on trumped-up charges. They also knew Judas’ betrayal really was meaningless to their purposes. All he did was lead them to Jesus, something they could have done all on their own.

I guess what bothers me most with the Chief Priests and Elders is, they had the opportunity to give grace to someone they had led down a wrong path, and they chose to do nothing. Sometimes our decisions to do nothing can bring great harm.

Still, at the end of the day, Judas did betray Jesus. I recently read a quote that said, “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from those you trust most.” While I was looking for the author I now know is anonymous I was on a website that allows comments. One person said, “They are your enemy only you don’t know it yet as they are masquerading as your friend.”

I think Jesus always knew who and what Judas would turn out to be. Still, there was a level of trust that Judas betrayed, perhaps if not to Jesus, as Jesus knew what was coming, but certainly to the other eleven. That kind of broken trust is difficult to bear. It is evident that the pain was still very present by the way the Gospel writers deal with Judas.

The Chief Priests and the Elders were many things but they were not betrayers. They never portrayed themselves as Jesus’ friend. They always saw him as one who was a threat to their power and as such needed to be dealt with in the firmest ways possible. Hence, an innocent man died the most heinous death the Roman Empire had to give. It was a death made far worse by the additional punishment Jesus received before being sent to the cross and on his way there.

And, I can’t help but believe, had Judas given Jesus the chance to do so, he would have found that Jesus would have forgiven even the likes of him. And, if Jesus can forgive Judas, I think there is more than hope for we who believe.

Have a great day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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