Shortly before His death, Jesus prophesied two different episodes of betrayal by His disciples.

When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. (John 13:21-26)

Jesus goes on to tell Judas “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Later in the same chapter,

Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward." Peter said to him, "Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times." (John 13:36-38)

Imagine the tension as Jesus calls out these two followers. Though not all of the disciples may have known what was happening with Judas, John must have known because he asked Jesus who was to hand Him over. What must have the disciples thought after hearing of the betrayal? There must have been anger, confusion, and despair. After Jesus called out Peter, the others in the room must have been thinking “Don’t make eye contact. He might call me out next”.

So often we are well intentioned, but when someone challenges our faith or disparages our beliefs, we lose our courage and remain silent. What we may not realize is that this not only is a betrayal of our Lord, but it also empowers the aggressor, making him think that he is right or at least entitled to continue attacking. People will sense weakness and use it against us. I do not mean that we should go looking for fights, but a well-placed rebuke or counterargument goes a long way in defending our religious freedoms, whether individual or societal.

We too can witness to others about the Lord, our Savior, but do we? Let us take every opportunity to bring Jesus to others, even if we will be ridiculed, persecuted or cast out for our beliefs. Our message will be heard if we have conviction and confidence in our words. We must not allow ourselves to betray our Lord the way Peter did, or worse still, as Judas did. Pray for strength, that we may not withhold our witness to Christ.

“All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” – anonymous