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119: Captured by Design

May 15, 2009

Major Text: Matthew 26:47-56

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 26:47-56       Mark 14:43-52       Luke 22:47-53       John 18:2-12


  1. The Betrayal Matt. 26:47-50
  2. The Arrest Matt. 26:51-55
  3. The Desertion Matt. 26:56


Judas knew exactly where Jesus was staying so he personally guided the soldiers and Jewish leaders to Jesus. He greets Jesus with a kiss so there is no question who the right person is in the darkness of the night. Jesus actually comes out to meet the party and more or less says let’s get on with it. Since the soldiers were armed, Peter gets out his sword to defend Jesus and cuts off the ear of the servant of the Jewish leaders. Jesus has to tell Peter to put it away and then proceeds to heal the servant’s ear. So at the height of betrayal Jesus is still lovingly healing those who are His enemies. All this is happening to fulfill scripture. Jesus gives His most memorable defense here, not in their court, by proclaiming there is no need for weapons because He is not leading a rebellion but just teaching in the temple courts. Jesus is bound and led away and all the disciples flee in different directions, afraid. Later, Peter and John show up at the house of the High Priest to spy on what’s happening.


  1. Be willing to meet face to face with your enemies, those who betray you. We are to never stop loving our fellowman, even our enemies. The testimony of our lives in times of adversity will speak volumes.
  2. There may come a day when we might be arrested because we believe Jesus is the Christ. Go willingly. We will have a chance to tell the gospel to people who have not heard or who haven’t wanted to hear. Speak the Truth always, with boldness and in love.
  3. When times are tough and chaotic, do not desert your friends; do not desert your Lord. Be bold. Stand firm in Truth and for Truth.
  4. God’s Word is revealed in the toughest of times.

To illustrate what has happened, let me tell you about some friends of ours. Richard and Kaye Daniels were part of our Growth Group at church. They are a dedicated couple with a heart for children and continually were witnessing of God’s goodness. Kaye has three daughters and a son living nearby in Austin. Even though they were adults, Richard and Kaye were continually ministering to and supporting these children and subsequent grandchildren toward increasing their faith and trust in the Lord.

Richard and Kaye decided to leave Austin and relocate in a small community about an hour away. The Lord was blessing this move by locating a perfect house for them and selling their home in Austin quickly in a buyers market. Everything was going well. Everyone was happy.

Then after a three day visit by Kaye’s three year old granddaughter, a visit that her daughter Susan had urgently requested, an accusation was registered by Susan against Richard for molesting her daughter. Susan also accused her mother of knowing it had taken place and accused her of protecting her husband by not taking any action against him.

This was devastating to all the family. It was serious. It did not fit with the testimony of Richard’s life. Even though Richard and Kaye tried to resolve the issue in a reasonable manner, the accusation became greater and Richard was eventually indicted by a grand jury. The trust of each other within the family had been betrayed. This is similar to what happened with Jesus and His disciples. Judas’ betrayal caused questions and uncertainty at a time when their faith needed to be strong. The accusations against Jesus didn’t ring true with His life and testimony either.

Richard went to trial and was found innocent by a jury within fifteen minutes. Of course, Jesus went to trial and was found innocent too but was sentenced as if He were guilty. Richard and Kaye’s lives have changed. Any monetary security they had is gone as a result of their defense costs. But their faith in Jesus Christ is stronger. Faith was all they had and they held on and held together for dear life.

In the scripture passage for this Lesson, the disciples ran away after Jesus was arrested. In Richard and Kaye’s family, the family all banded together in support of Richard and Kaye except for the one daughter who brought forth the accusation. Why the difference? The Holy Spirit had not yet come in the disciple’s case. The Holy Spirit presides in the lives and hearts of believers today bonding together the hearts of believers. Fortunately for Richard and Kaye, family unity and spiritual unity has strengthened. That is the value of bearing one another’s burdens even though we must take responsibility and bear our own burdens. Richard and Kaye are together today because the Holy Spirit resides in their lives and in the lives of their family, their friends, and their church family. In times of crisis, our unity in the Lord is absolutely necessary to survive. The disciples will experience this but they must first make it to Pentecost. We who believe have it today.

In relaying this experience of Richard and Kaye, I don’t mean to imply all Christians are innocent of crime. We know that isn’t always true. Hypocrisy among Christians does exist. But again those close to us know us best. They can discern the real truth. They see clearly if our words and our actions are consistent or if we are just putting on a good show.

Betrayal brings crisis brings separation. Healing takes time. For Judas, his impatience didn’t allow him time to see that Jesus still loved him and wanted to forgive him. Unconditional love surpasses personal betrayal and false testimony.

So if you happen to feel betrayed by someone, trust in the Lord. He has been there. You may have to endure unpleasant circumstances but you will be stronger in your love for Jesus and in your faith. He alone will make things right according to His timing and His will. That’s what Jesus did. That’s what His disciples did when persecution began and they were falsely accused and martyred. That’s what Richard ad Kaye did. That’s what’s required of all who believe in Jesus.

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