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The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, [1858], at



The Betrayal of Christ


I was then carried down to the time when Jesus ate the Passover supper with his disciples.  Satan had deceived Judas, and led him to think he was one of Christ’s true disciples; but his heart had ever been carnal.  He had seen the mighty works of Jesus, he had been with him through his ministry, and yielded to the overpowering evidences that he was the Messiah; but he was close and covetous.  He loved money.  He complained in anger of the costly ointment poured upon Jesus.  Mary loved her Lord.  He had forgiven her sins which were many, and had raised from the dead her much loved brother, and she felt that nothing was too dear to bestow upon Jesus.  The more costly and precious the ointment, the better could Mary express her gratitude to her Saviour, by devoting it to him.  Judas, as an excuse for his covetousness, said that the ointment might have been sold and given to the poor.  But it was not because he had any care for the poor; for he was selfish, and often appropriated to his own use that which was entrusted to his care to be given to the poor.  Judas had not been attentive to the comforts and wants of Jesus, and to excuse his covetousness, he often referred to the poor.  And this act of generosity on the part of Mary was a most cutting rebuke of his covetous disposition.

The way was prepared for the temptation of Satan to find a ready reception in Judas’ heart.  The Jews hated Jesus; but multitudes thronged him to listen to his words of wisdom, and to witness his mighty works.  This drew the attention of the people from the chief priests and elders, for the people were stirred with the deepest interest, and anxiously followed Jesus, and listened to the instructions of this wonderful teacher.  Many of the chief rulers believed on Jesus, but were afraid to confess it, fearing they would be put out of the synagogue.  The priests and elders decided that something must be done to draw the attention of the people from Jesus.  They feared that all men would believe on him.  They could see no safety for themselves.  They must lose their position, or put Jesus to death.  And after they should put him to death, there were still those who were living monuments of his power.  Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.  And they feared that if they should kill Jesus, Lazarus would testify of his mighty power.  The people were flocking to see him who was raised from the dead, and the rulers determined to slay Lazarus also, and put down the excitement.  Then they would turn the people to the traditions and doctrines of men, to tithe mint and rue, and again have influence over them.  They agreed to take Jesus when he was alone; for if they should attempt to take him in a crowd, when the minds of the people were all interested in him, they would be stoned.

Judas knew how anxious they were to obtain Jesus, and offered to betray him to the chief priests and elders for a few pieces of silver.  His love of money led him to agree to betray his Lord into the hands of his bitterest enemies.  Satan was working directly through Judas, and in the midst of the impressive scene of the last supper, he was contriving plans to betray Jesus.  Jesus sorrowfully told his disciples that all of them would be offended because of him, that night.  But Peter ardently affirmed that although all should be offended because of him, he would not.  Jesus said to Peter, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

I then viewed Jesus in the garden with his disciples.  In deep sorrow he bade them watch and pray lest they should enter into temptation.  Jesus knew that their faith was to be tried, and their hopes disappointed, and that they would need all the strength they could obtain by close watching and fervent prayer.  With strong cries and weeping, Jesus prayed, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.  The Son of God prayed in agony.  Large drops of sweat like blood came out of his face, and fell upon the ground.  Angels were hovering over the place, witnessing the scene, while only one was commissioned to go and strengthen the Son of God in his agony.  The angels in heaven cast their crowns and harps from them, and with the deepest interest silently watched Jesus.  There was no joy in heaven.  They wished to surround the Son of God, but the commanding angels suffered them not, lest, as they should behold his betrayal, they would deliver him; for the plan was laid out, and it must be fulfilled.

After Jesus had prayed, he came to see his disciples.  They were sleeping.  He had not the comfort and prayers of even his disciples in that dreadful hour.  Peter who was so zealous a little before, was heavy with sleep.  Jesus reminded him of his positive declarations, and said unto him, What! could ye not watch with me one hour?  Three times the Son of God prayed in agony, when Judas, with his band of men, was at hand.  He met Jesus as usual to salute him.  The band surrounded Jesus; but there he manifested his divine power, as he said, Whom seek ye? I am he.  They fell backward to the ground.  Jesus made this inquiry that they might witness his power, and have evidence that he could deliver himself from their hands if he would.

The disciples began to hope as they saw the multitude with their staves and swords fall so quickly.  As they arose and again surrounded the Son of God, Peter drew the sword and cut off an ear.  Jesus bid him put up the sword, and said unto him, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  I saw that as these words were spoken, the countenances of the angels were animated.  They wished then, and there, to surround their commander, and disperse that angry mob.  But again sadness settled upon them as Jesus added, But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  The hearts of the disciples sunk again in despair and bitter disappointment, as Jesus suffered them to lead him away.

The disciples were afraid of their own lives, and fled one this way, and the other that, and Jesus was left alone.  O what triumph of Satan then!  And what sadness and sorrow with the angels of God!  Many companies of holy angels, with each a tall commanding angel at their head, were sent to witness the scene.  They were to record every act, every insult and cruelty imposed upon the Son of God, and to register every pang of anguish which Jesus should suffer; for the very men should see it all again in living characters.


See Matthew 26:1-56; Mark 14:1-52; Luke 22:1-46; John chap.11, 12:1-11, 18:1-12


Next: Chapter 8. The Trial of Christ