The Path of Unbelief
In the Garden of Gethsemane, as the soldiers approached to arrest the man who the Jewish leaders had decided must now die, the central figure was of course the Lord Jesus. But Judas played a key part—and teaches us a hard lesson.
Judas’s betrayal of Christ reveals a deep hypocrisy rooted in a deeper denial. His treachery serves as a warning of how a heart, though seemingly close to God, hardens as it travels down the path of unbelief—a path marked by betrayed trust and corrupt company.
The Garden of Gethsemane was not just any garden. The disciples appeared to know it well. For Jesus and the Twelve it was a place of fellowship, of relaxation, and, doubtless, of many happy memories. And yet it was in this beautiful place that Judas betrayed Christ. It’s quite staggering that he would choose a place of such intimacy in which to perform an act of such infamy, like an adulterer who breaks the marriage bond in their own marriage bed.
Picture Judas walking along the path and leading a group of soldiers and Jewish officials (John 18:3). He who was so dreadfully lost spiritually became a guide: the blind leading the blind. The path of unbelief is a lonely place that often begs for the false comfort of hopeless companionship.
The garden was a beautiful, tranquil place, but it nevertheless witnessed a heinous event. When we think of the places where we’ve been tempted to betray Christ—on a lovely vacation, in the comfort of our homes, even in places where Christ has previously met with us, blessed us, wooed us, and won us—we clearly see our heart’s perversity in our willingness to join Judas in his betrayal.
Let Judas’s example remind us that we must all be on guard. There is no room for complacency in the Christian life, no matter what you have done and seen and no matter what your standing in your church. After all, Judas had lived with Jesus for three years, had seen His miracles, and had heard His teaching. Yet still he betrayed Him. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
How do we remain followers and avoid the tragic path taken by Judas? As the word of God implores again and again, we must beware a slowly growing hard-heartedness that causes us to drift down the path of unbelief. Instead, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit as He guides us. We need to pray that we would find a tenderness in our hearts, an openness in our minds, and a prompting in our spirits telling us, “Now, go ahead and embrace this Christ!”
The hard lesson of Judas is that only by God’s grace can we remain standing. So pray that you would never be found among the traitors: Save me, Lord, from the real temptations to doubt and deny You. Show me the wonder of Your protection and provision, and renew my assurance that You will lose none of those whom the Father has given You.
11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
19There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
I and the Father Are One
22At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me,1 is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one.”
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