Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dealing with the sting of betrayal we inflict

Good morning friends. I call you friends yet I have not met most of you. It is through Jesus that we have this thing in common that we are able to call each other friend even when we do not know each other well. In fact, we are more than friends, we are family. So how would you feel if one of your closest friends, perhaps even a family member betrayed you? Perhaps they told someone something you had shared in confidence. Maybe they just abandoned the relationship completely and started hanging out with other people. Even if we had experienced this kind of betrayal I don't think it would come close to what Jesus experienced with Judas:

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:1-6)

There is a lot of speculation as to why Judas did it. Some figure it was because of the money. Others believe he was trying to provoke Jesus into action. I think it was because he lost faith and the enemy saw the chance and provoked him with opportunities. I think Judas had certain expectations of Jesus and Jesus did not meet those expectations. Judas wanted a conquering king and instead he found a teacher who emphasized the spiritual Kingdom and taught about loving one's enemies. Not exactly the type of teaching that would rally the people against the Romans. Disillusionment can lead to all kinds of thoughts and emotions the enemy can play with, taking us to the kind of extreme actions that we would normally never contemplate.

We are hard on Judas, as we should be, but we should be equally hard on ourselves. We constantly betray Jesus but in forms that we do not recognize as betrayal. We deny him in many areas of our life without being willing to confess to ourselves what we have done. We deny the promises he gave us. We fill our lives with worry and fear. We hate where we are suppose to love. We abandon where we are suppose to remain faithful. We get so occupied with our own needs that we fail to see the needs of others. Some would say these things are not a denial of Jesus but I tell you they are. We are denying Jesus' authority and ability to intercede in these situations. We are betraying him by not allowing him to complete what he has started. We panic and grab back the control of the situation instead of seeing how Jesus will work it out.

I think we sell Jesus out on more than one occasion and if we take the time to reflect on our past you will see that I am right. Betrayal is when we stop believing in the one who gave the promises and we turn to someone else for help. Honestly, how often have you done that? Even if we have done this it will not lessen the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Peter experienced this; Judas did not. The difference was that Peter was willing to receive forgiveness because he hoped it was possible. Judas had no such hope and was a victim of his own solution.

Regardless of what you are facing, what guilt overwhelms you, or how tired and disillusioned you are, trust Jesus. Hold on where you are and allow Jesus to work. Give him some time and use that time to grow closer with him, not further away. Do not allow the enemy to provoke you with opportunities. Jesus is blessed by our faithfulness. Stand with him, remain faithful, trust his promises and see what Jesus can do with any and every situation of your life. And if you have betrayed him, seek forgiveness. Allow him to set it right.


John Wealth said...

Dear Pastor Paul,

What a wonderful post we have here!
I have also preached on similar lines contrasting Peter with Judas at many places. And yes, in spite of our innumerate betrayals and denials the Lord is ever so gracious with us. If only we stop betraying Him in our daily walk, He will be more pleased and bless us more.

Glory to God.

John Paneerselvam

玉鳳 said...