Betrayal: Who Really Was Responsible For Christ’s Death 1


Betrayal: the very word stirs up negative emotions within our hearts. Its meaning goes against every ideal we hold dear whether it be as a husband, as a father, as a citizen or as a friend. Perhaps the greatest betrayal of all is the betrayal of Jesus Christ recorded for us in Scripture.

But who really was responsible for Christ’s betrayal? This question has been the source of great controversy down through the centuries. In the Bible, the word betrayal is translated from the Greek word paradidomi (pronounced par-ad-id’-o-mee). It is the overwhelming use of the word in the New Testament. In relation to Christ’s crucifixion, the Bible uses this Greek word to describe the decisions of several people or groups of people. Although each had a part in the responsibility of Christ’s death, the Bible also tells us definitively who really was responsible.

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is good to be reminded of the role each played in His death.  One of the darkest aspects of Christ’s death was His betrayal.  It was pictured in the betrayal of Joseph by his brethren, prophesied of by many of the Old Testament prophets (see Zechariah 11:12-13 & Psalm 41:9), and promised by the Savior Himself:

And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men. Matthew 17:22

The Accusation
The Greek word for betrayed in this verse comes from paradidomi. Although the word is used over 120 times in the New Testament, the overwhelming majority is used in connection with Christ’s death.  It means to deliver up into the hands of another; to betray; and it used by God to place responsibility on those who were responsible for delivering up Christ to the cross. It is evident that part of the suffering and humiliation of Christ’s atonement was meant to include betrayal. But who does the Bible lay responsibility on for this betrayal and who really was responsible for Christ’s death?

The Question of Guilt
This question has been hotly debated throughout the centuries since. Some blame Judas exclusively. Others have laid blame on the Jews for their involvement, even going as far as persecuting today’s generation for the actions of people two thousand years ago. Some say we all had a hand in it since we have willfully sinned.

The Great Betrayal
The Bible uses the word paradidomi of several people and groups of people in relation to the betrayal involved with Christ’s crucifixion. Some of them are well known; others might surprise you. But the Bible also clearly tells us who ultimately was responsible for the death of Christ – in other words – The Greatest Betrayal.

On Trial
And so, for the next few weeks, we are going to put each party on the stand and the Bible will be our chief witness. We will examine exactly how much responsibility each party had in the crime and what their motivation was behind their actions. Ultimately, we will determine who was guilty of the greatest betrayal and what the motivation could possibly be for such a deed.

On the stand next week: Judas Iscariot


Debt, Forgiveness, & The Lord’s Prayer

CoinsYou will not get very far in any Bible study on forgiveness before you get to the classic passage often referred to as the Lord’s prayer.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12

As I prepared to teach on forgiveness (the theme of Vacation Bible School this year was “Forgiveness”). I came across this very verse and my mind began to churn as I thought about the relationship between the two words debts and forgive. In the original language, the phrase is καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν and literally means and forgive us what owe.  The meaning  of τὰ ὀφειλήματα is very clearly moral faults i.e. trespasses. The root verb from which it is derived means should or ought, and it gives us the impressions that we are under moral obligations which we have failed to perform or hold up. In fact, some of the Old English versions read, “And forgive us our gyltas i.e. guilts… Matthew 23:18 translates the same word as guilty.

 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.

In another passage in Matthew, Christ told the parable of two servants: one who owed the master a great sum of money while the other owed his fellow servant a small sum. The master forgave the debt of the servant who owed him a great deal, but this servant did not forgive the small sum owed to him by his peer. In this passage, Matthew also uses words derived from the same root word of τὰ ὀφειλήματα. Again, its very interesting to note the connection between debt and forgiveness.

The importance of all of this lies in the answer to the simple question, Why will God forgive me? As sinners, we are in debt i.e. moral obligation. The law demands death for such rebellion. As we like to say, It’s time to pay for what we’ve done. But Christ paid our sin debt in our place and rose again to promise us eternal life with Him. So why will God forgive me? Because of what Jesus did for me when He died on the cross.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

The debts are forgiven; the price is paid; we are redeemed. Christianity is filled with terminology that illustrates to us the relationship between these two words debt and forgiveness; and it all started with Christ’s famous prayer.

To read an interesting article on this click here:


Tour of the Tabernacle 2

The tabernacle was a type and a picture of Jesus Christ!

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

No wonder why Creation is given so little attention while the tabernacle receives so much more! Creation only gives glory to God, but Christ is the Glory of God! Hebrews 1:3, speaking of Jesus Christ, says,

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person!

Creation is no match for Salvation, and though Creation on the outside displays its wonders to us, it moans before God. But the tabernacle has not the display of beauty on the outward appearance. In fact, Isaiah 53:2-3 says,

…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Yet on the inside of this ugly tent that you now see, there is beauty that cannot be told of: from the Golden Candlestick, to the Golden Table of Shewbread, to the Golden Altar, and indeed, to the Golden Ark of the Covenant that no man could even look upon!

But before we go inside to see the spectacular furniture, let us walk around the outside of this tabernacle for a moment and observe a few things. Notice that this tabernacle was a tent. As a matter of fact, the word “tabernacle” means a dwelling…a tent. This tabernacle was an earthly, temporary, residence. Hebrews 9:1 describes it as a worldly tabernacle. It was made of perishing materials which belong here to the earth!

You see, this tabernacle is a far cry from its cousin, the temple, and while both of these places pictured Christ, they represent 2 completely different aspects of Jesus’ ministry: The Temple represented Christ when he comes the 2nd time, but the tabernacle represented Christ when he came the 1st time on Christmas night over 2,000 years ago!

  1. After all, it was the Tabernacle that was made first, then the temple. The tabernacle was temporary, and when Christ came the first time, he was here for only 33 some years, and while he was here, he abode not in 1 place.
  2. But the temple was permanent. And when Christ comes again, he’s here forever!
  3. The tabernacle was erected by a prophet, and when Christ came the first time, he held the office of a prophet.
  4. But the temple was constructed by a king, and when He comes the second time, He will be King of Kings!
  5. The #5 is prominent in the tabernacle representing grace, and when Christ came the first time, his ministry was all about grace.
  6. But the #12 is prominent in the temple (#12 is the # for governmental perfection), and when he comes the second, he’s here to rule the kingdom.
  7. The tabernacle was built in the Wilderness, and when Christ came the first time, he was born in a manger, raised on a carpenter’s bench, ministered with nowhere to lay his head, and when he died, he was laid in a borrowed tomb.
  8. But the temple was in Jerusalem, the city of kings, and when he comes again, Sound the trumpet! Lift up your voice and sing! Look to the throne of Grace and worship and the King of Kings!
  9. The tabernacle was mean, humble, and unattractive on the outward appearance. And Christ, when he came the first time, had no beauty, no form, and no comeliness. He was veiled in flesh.
  10. But the temple was magnificent, and when he comes again, Christ will be exalted!

In the book of Revelation you do not find the words meek or lowly; humble or obedient; but instead, you find the Apostle John saying in Revelation 5:11- 12,

… Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!


A Journey Through James Post 3 “Nazareth, Home of the Just”

Journey Through JamesAs mentioned earlier, James was the oldest son of Joseph and he lived much of his early life in Nazareth. There is much we can learn from this historical fact. Around 100 years before the birth of Christ, a small clan of Davidic descendants migrated back to Israel from the Babylonian exile. They formed two small villages on either side of the Jordan River: Kochaba, which means village of the star, and Nazara, which means village of the shoot. These descendants of David were very Messianic, believing that Israel’s deliverer would indeed come from their ranks. They refused to marry outside of the Davidic line and they kept very detailed genealogies. Those found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were doubtless provided by members of Christ’s extended family in Nazareth.

The village became synonymous with this religious sect. Given that archaeological discoveries have determined it was no larger in population than 120-150, it is safe to assume that many of the families were related, and thus a close-knit community.

The Hebrew word netzer means shoot. The significance of this word comes from Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 11:1. The prophecy of Isaiah was greatly esteemed in this village, the importance of which cannot be overlooked when studying Luke’s account of what took place in its synagogue. James undoubtedly was a zealous follower of this group. For more information and details on the historical context of both Jesus’ and James’ upbringing , please sign up for A Journey Through James at


Just, Like His Father

Journey Through JamesJames, the author of this epistle, was someone very familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ. Being the eldest son of Joseph, he grew up in the same household as Christ. The Scriptures tell us very little about Joseph, James’ father. In the account of Christ’s birth, Joseph is described as a just man (Matthew 1:19); the Greek word dikaios is translated both as righteous and as just. Today, the term just is used almost exclusively to describe someone’s decision making i.e. a just judge.Throughout the Christmas story, Joseph consistently made the right choices no matter how hard or difficult the decision was. The same can be said of his son James as well. He was known throughout Jerusalem as a righteous and devout man. Many called him James the Just. Historians tell us that when forced by the high priests to renounce Christ as the Messiah in front of the large crowds that had gathered for the Passover, James refused, deciding to use the opportunity to reaffirm his faith in the Lord Jesus as the Messiah. It led to his martyrdom. Another right decision in the face of difficult circumstances -just like his father, I guess you can say that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Journey Through James

Interested in learning more? Firebreak University offers the course “Journey Through James.”

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