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Beautiful Words Blog | Betrayal by Pastor John Moropoulos | Gateway Christian Fellowship

What a season this is. The first day of Spring and stepping outside one can easily believe it (though it would be wise not to put away the snow shovel and cleats just yet). Palm Sunday is almost upon us. Resurrection Sunday is so close! It is a season that brightens the heart of every believer.

But in the midst of the increasing daylight and warming days there is an element of darkness, an element without which this season is incomplete. There is the darkness of betrayal.

As we read the events of our Lord’s Passion Week, there is no avoiding it. The Betrayal is there. It was at work even as the week began and by week’s end it was in full bloom. It cuts us to the core, as it should. What is as hurtful as betrayal?

The word itself, as it appears in Scripture, isn’t all bad, in fact, it isn’t necessarily bad at all. The word is παραδίδωμι (paradidomi) and it means, very literally, “to hand over.” It is found all over the Bible. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was the common text of the Scriptures for most first century Jews, the word appears almost two hundred times, translating twenty-six different Hebrew words. It could refer to a message handed over by a messenger. God Himself had handed over nations and peoples to the sword. It could be used for the payment of a ransom. The word was essentially neutral, a dispassionate description of someone handing something to someone else. Good or bad was determined entirely by the circumstances.

In the New Testament the word continues in its varied applications, some very good and some very bad. The Gospel was handed over. Traditions were, by definition, handed down or handed over. In the first Corinthian letter Paul wrote of the Lord’s Supper, the table at which believers share in His body and blood, as something he had handed over. In fact the word is used twice in the same verse, I Corinthians 11.23, Paul saying, "I delivered unto you… in the night in which He was betrayed…” Same word.

So what matters isn’t the simple act of handing something over, but rather, who hands what over to whom. When we are given something and entrusted to deliver it to another, the act of giving over is one of faithfulness. But when we are given something that should not be handed over, or should only be handed to a certain person, and we give that to another, that is betrayal as we know it, betrayal in all its darkness.

And there is the crux of the matter. It all depends on what we have been given and what we do with it. And the measuring line is faithfulness, for when we are given something to hold, or to deliver only to certain persons under certain circumstances, there is an expression of trust. This trust must not be violated.

So we ask ourselves, what have we been entrusted with and what are we supposed to do with it. As believers we have been entrusted with a message, the Gospel message, and are expected to deliver it to as many as will hear us. Failure to do this is an act of unfaithfulness, a violation of trust.

As spouses, friends, confidants, we are entrusted with things, things like experiences, memories, intimacies, and hopes. These we must deliver over only to those whom the ones that have entrusted us intended. This is because the measuring line is faithfulness. This is why we call the act of betrayal unfaithfulness, and the wound that unfaithfulness leaves is in direct proportion to the depth of trust that was extended.

Which brings us back to our Lord, and the week of His passion. Betrayal was at hand even as He walked His last steps with those closest to Him. It was one of those He trusted most who betrayed Him in that hour. Of course we know that all of the disciples eventually left, ran, denied, and so betrayed. And Jesus forgave and restored them. It was a demonstration of the extent of His love, and a demonstration of His mercy, of His faithfulness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:9 NASB

As we gather to celebrate His glorious entry in Jerusalem, and the Resurrection that followed, we take hope in His love, grace, and mercy toward us.


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