Innocent betrayed is about how most of the human race has betrayed God and His creation by not caring for and protecting the whole of His creation as He charged us to do when He created the heavens and the earth and all who live upon it.
God gave us the animals to be our companions, and instead of protecting the earth from evil, humans began killing and eating some of the animals instead of eating the plant foods that God created for us to eat; thus, humans began betraying these innocent animals and the trust that the Lord had given us, and this has gotten even worse over the years, and human beings became more and more depraved.
Innocent animals began to be herded as property, and even then the animals looked to humans as their protector and supplier of food, so killing them was a betrayal of our relationship with them.
Instead of repenting of our evil ways and returning to God to become his children who live in His heavenly will and do everything they could to free creation for its corruption they continued in their ungodly ways of having the innocent betrayed.
Today things have become even worse, animals are confined in concentrated animal feeding operations or factory farms where most of them suffer all their relatively short lives, since humans mostly eat the children, but some of the adults are forced to suffer for years on end.
What they were and are doing to the animals is very similar to what the religious hierarchy and their followers did to Jesus; the innocent betrayed.
In our Bible lesson for today, Matthew 26:26-68, we are going to see how the innocent Jesus was betrayed, but at the same time keep in mind how billions of the animals are the “innocent betrayed” every year.
26. Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."
This was taking place at the last supper, which was a Passover service, and which today is part of our Communion service.
The bread Jesus broke was unleavened bread, because leaven was symbolically considered to be sin.
27. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you;
The cup contained wine or grape juice, as it does to this day as part of Passover service, and our Communion service.
28. for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus said it was his blood symbolically, for it is against God’s commandments to drink or eat any blood; however, it is the shed blood of Jesus which is offered up for the forgiveness of our sins, but we must accept it through our repentance.
29. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
In other words, Jesus knew that He was going to be killed.
30. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The singing of the hymn was the end of the Passover service.
31. Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
Jesus is speaking prophetically to the disciples about what they were going to do so that they would always remember it.
Additionally, Jesus is telling them that what they would do would also be a fulfillment of a Biblical prophecy that was written hundreds of years previously, which would further be imprinted in their memories, so that they would always remember where they came from as they ministered to others.
32. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."
Jesus is plainly telling the disciples that He will indeed rise from the dead and will see them again in Galilee.
33. Peter declared to him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away."
The Lord knows the truth, and Peter is still thinking in the flesh, and even thought he may want to do this, worldly fear will prevent him.
34. Jesus said to him, "Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times."
Jesus is plainly telling Peter that he won’t be able to do what he thinks he will do, but that he will fail three time in the same night.
35. Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." And so said all the disciples.
Peter doesn’t want to accept what Jesus is telling him, and still thinks that he can overcome his earthly fears.
We all need to remember that perfect love casts out fear, which means that Peter and the other disciples were not perfected in love at this stage of their lives, even though they had been with Jesus for three years.
36. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsem'ane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go yonder and pray."
Jesus wanted to commune with His Father without all of the disciples around.
37. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zeb'edee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
Being troubled is most likely because of His thinking in the flesh, for He knows He will have pain and suffering inflicted upon Him.
38. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me."
Jesus most likely feels betrayed by the very people He came to earth to help, and this coupled with the fact that He will no longer have his earthly companionship is making Him sorrowful.
39. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
In this verse we can see the struggle between the God side and the human side of Jesus; the man is deeply troubled over what He knows will shortly take place and the spiritual God side that knows that after the suffering everything will once again be alright.
40. And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour?
We believe that Jesus is deeply saddened that the disciples, even after being with Him for three years, would so casually view what is about to take place that they could fall asleep.
41. Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
They were not even praying for themselves, and as we can see in Scripture with Peter, he does fall into temptation three times that very night.
42. Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done."
Without using His Godly powers, Jesus consigns Himself to the worldly fate that awaits Him.
43. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
Even after what He had just said to them, they went back to sleep.
They seem to be thinking of this day or night being as any other.
44. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
This time Jesus doesn’t even bother to awaken them; He simply walks away to pray again.
45. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Jesus knows that the worldly are about to come and capture Him so He finally awakens the disciples again with an urgency.
46. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand."
It is really too late to leave, but at the same time He wants the disciples to be alert, to understand what is taking place so that they would always remember it.
47. While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
This verse confirms the fact that the religious leaders, who were not really living in the heavenly will of God, but in their own worldly ways; however, they were falsely teaching their followers that it was the will of God; all of this was part of this conspiracy to kill Jesus.
The Jews didn’t kill Jesus, the ungodly people did, for there were Jews who truly lived in the heavenly will of God, among them were Jesus and the disciples.
48. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him."
Just because Judas was one of the disciples, it doesn’t mean that he was also living in the heavenly will of God, of which we see proof here.
There are many people of the world even in our churches, some of whom are our religious leaders, and we are not to listen to their worldly ways.
This is why it is so important for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can discern who are the godly ones or the follows of the devil, as was Judas.
49. And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Hail, Master!" And he kissed him.
This is known as the Judas kiss, for it was the kiss that betrayed Jesus.
This is also a case of the innocent betrayed.
50. Jesus said to him, "Friend, why are you here?" Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
Jesus was still being somewhat friendly to Judas, but He clearly knew that he was the one who had betrayed Him to those who seized Him.
51. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
This was most likely Peter who drew his sword and cut off the ear of the slave, but this is not what Jesus wanted.
52. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and wants peace and not war, no matter what they do to Him.
53. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
Jesus responded in this way so that everyone would hopefully understand, and He goes on to explain another reason why He is letting them do to Him what they choose.
54. But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
In other words, He knows He is going to be mistreated and killed, for He also knows that He will rise from the dead in three days.
55. At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.
He is really telling them that He knows how cowardly they really are.
56. But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.
Again He tells everyone that what they are doing to Him is in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
And, as Jesus said, the disciples fled in fear of their own lives, despite what they may have said to the contrary, which is really another case of the innocent betrayed.
57. Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Ca'iaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.
Cowardly people always want someone else to take the responsibility for their actions, and as we shall see Caiaphas does the same thing.
58. But Peter followed him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.
Notice at this time Peter is also acting cowardly, for he seems to be afraid of what the people might be going to do to him.
59. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,
This is another example how cowardly people act, and those who are doing things that deep down inside they know are wrong, for they seek ways to justify their actions before the masses of worldly people; they are not fooling God or others who live in the heavenly will of God.
60. but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward
61. and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.'"
This is what Jesus said about His own body and not the physical temple building.
Even if this were true, it is laughable in its absurdity, for only God could do such a thing, and there is no reason to think that He is blaspheming God; if anything, they should think that He is crazy…or do they really know that Jesus is Messiah, and they are afraid of losing their positions of authority?
62. And the high priest stood up and said, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"
They are trying to make a lie sound like the truth in another attempt to justify their evil actions.
63. But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."
I believe that Jesus knows that they are just being cowards, because they really know who He is and don’t want to admit it.
64. Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
So Jesus tells them the truth, but also confirms that the truth will be revealed and expose them for who they really are.
65. Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, "He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy.
The high priest was not upset or shocked; this was all a show for the public; He knew that Jesus is innocent.
66. What is your judgment?" They answered, "He deserves death."
This was nothing but mob rule, which had nothing to do with the heavenly will of God, either then or now.
67. Then they spat in his face, and struck him; and some slapped him,
This is a perfect example of how evil worldly leadership leads people to react in the same evil ways.
68. saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?"
This was only sarcasm for crowd appeal and we have seen many political leaders do this over time, even to this very day.
The leadership knew that Jesus was innocent.
This situation with Jesus (incarnate) was a perfect example of the innocent betrayed, much in the same way that millions of humans and billions of animals are sentenced to suffer and die every year for the benefit of power hungry and greedy people in power.
We can and must do everything in our power to help free creation from its present corruption and encourage others to love the Lord our God and to have compassion and empathy for the whole of creation, and this begins with who we put on our plates.
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