Reflection: Between Betrayal And Redemption
Where are you, spiritually, in your life? Are you on the mountaintop enjoying the peace and blessings only God can give? Maybe you are staring out at what appears to be an endless valley devoid of hope. Or maybe you are hiding from God, ashamed because, once again, you have sinned and feel as if you have betrayed Him. If you are on the mountain—and I don’t say this to discourage you—you won’t always be there. As Christians, there will come a point in our lives when we betray God with our words or our deeds. At that moment, whatever we do next is the most important moment of our lives—but first must come the reflection.
When this posts, we will be between the day of Jesus’ betrayal and His resurrection, and it is this time between the two we want to look at. Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot with a kiss for thirty pieces of silver; He was betrayed by Peter because of fear. What happened to them after their betrayal was a result of their reflections of their deeds.
In Matthew 26:14-16, we read of Judas’s betrayal.
“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What
are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty
pieces of silver. So from that time he sought the opportunity to betray Him.”
In verses 17-25, we read of what occurred during the first day of Feast of Unleavened Bread. While Jesus and the twelve are sitting around the table eating, Jesus announces “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Of course, this causes everyone to begin asking, “Lord, is it I?” When it was finally Judas’ turn to ask, and, remember, he has already collected the money, he asked, “Rabbi, is it I?” To which Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
As the evening meal continues, Jesus, again, makes an announcement, telling the disciples, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night…”. This time, Peter speaks up and tells the Lord he would never be made to stumble to which Jesus replies. “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Again, Peter denies the possibility.
From here, Jesus and his disciples journey a short way away to the Garden of Gethsemane where He wants to pray. While at the garden, Judas along with the chief priests and elders arrive to “arrest” Jesus. The disciples forsake Jesus and flee. The Lord is taken before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling body, where He is tried and convicted to death. While this is taking place inside, prophecy is about to be fulfilled outside.
In Matthew 26:69-75, we read of Peter’s betrayal.
“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You
also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying “I do not know
what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him
and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But
again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little while later those who
stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you are also one of them, for your speech
betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said,
“Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept
So, now we come to that moment of reflection for these two men. As we saw in Matthew 26:75, Peter went out and wept bitterly. At some point after this verse, but before the end of the Sabbath, Peter rejoins the disciples (all of whom had fled when Jesus was taken). We can only surmise that, after he had quit weeping, he decided to track down the others to figure out what they should do next. Before we get too far ahead, let’s go to Matthew 27 and see what came from Judas’ moment of reflection.
Matthew 27:3-5 says this.
“Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented
himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
saying “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” And they said, “What
is that to us? See thou to that” And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and
departed, and went and hanged himself.”
Both men deeply regretted what they had done. What sets them apart is their moments of reflection. When Peter chose to return to his fellow disciples, he—unknowingly—was gaining the opportunity for redemption. Judas, on the other hand, saw no hope for himself after what he had done and committed suicide. (In Matthew 26:24, Jesus even commented concerning His upcoming betrayal that, “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” Was He saying this because of the betrayal or because He knew Judas would end up killing himself? Something to think about.) When Jesus appeared to His disciple the third time, three times He asked Peter if he loved Him; once for each of Peter’s denials. Peter’s reflection led him to redemption.
Regardless of what is going on in your life today, whether you are a Christian or not, you might be at that moment of reflection. No matter how dismal it may seem, how deep and dark you valley appears, choose Jesus. Nothing in this life is worth missing out on redemption.
Tongue and Ear Wakened
“The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, He wakens my ear to hear as the learned.”–Isaiah 50:4
Statutes And Words Of The Lord
“Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?
“So they returned and said, “Just as the Lord of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so He has dealt with us.”–Zechariah 1:5-6
Sixth And Final Day Of Creation
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”–Genesis 1:31
The sixth day of Creation—the final day of creation—has ended and God has decided it was a good day. Beyond that, He reviewed all He had made and determined everything He created was very good. The obvious take away from this verse is everything God created was good, but we see so much more than that. God is giving us another example of how we should view what we do in His name.
By looking at completion of all He created, He is teaching us to focus on the present. Read over today’s verse again and take note of the first sentence. “Then God saw everything He had made, and indeed it was very good.” At no time does the Bible say, “for now”, or “but things were going to get worse”. God already knew what mankind was going to do and had made plans to deal with what would take place. Instead, He is focusing on what He has just created.
Too often, we become jaded by the world around us and the people we must deal with. Take, for example, someone with an addiction. You can, with the noblest of intentions, do all within your power to help them overcome. Once they are clean, you feel the sacrifices you made were worth it, but before you know it, the addict returns to his or her addiction. Out of love, or the sense of responsibility, you, again, do what you can. Again, success, and, again, a return to the addiction. You begin to see the inevitable return to addiction before they ever set foot on the path to sobriety. And this is just one example; talk about disheartening.
This is why we need to follow God’s example. Do good for the sake of good. Even if you know things will go wrong in the future, focus on the present. When we begin to question why we even bother to do good, we forget what God can do with the good we’ve done. Reconsider the addiction scenario. When we help someone for the fifth or sixth time—wondering why we still bother to help at all—we forget God is helping us. If we give up after the fourth intervention, we rob the addict of the chance to find God after the fifth intervention. Just because there is a pattern of reverting back to the old ways, it doesn’t mean God can’t break that pattern.
Regardless of how many times you help someone, or do good in your own life, focus on that. We know the future is in God’s hands so let’s trust Him to take care of it. Continue to do what you can and do it in God’s name, He will see that good comes from your efforts.
Nebuchadnezzar Recovers Understanding
“And at the end of time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.”–Daniel 4:34
Food For Substantial Thought
“Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so.”–Genesis 1:30
While your actions may be your own, the end results can have long-lasting consequences on those around you. In last week’s verse, we saw how God intended for us to live on the herbs and fruits. We also saw how God put His original intentions on hold because of sin. (We cannot confuse man’s choice to go against God’s law as a mistake on His part. Had Adam and Eve obeyed God to begin with, we would not need the meat as we do now.)
In today’s verse, we discover man was not the only species designed by God to be vegetarian. God designed the birds, the animals, and every creature that creeps on the earth to subsist on a meat-free diet. Although it is hard to imagine a pack of hungry wolves wandering into a garden for a lovely tossed salad, that was God’s original intent. We need to remember, however, God neither gave up on nor abandoned His initial plans. He has prepared for us a world where blood would not be necessary for us to survive. In Isaiah 11:6-7, we find the prophecy of the day we get back to what God intended all along.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” [Just a quick side note: These verses show the lamb and the wolf lying down together, not the lamb and the lion, as many often quote.] Not only will the need for animals to kill to live be taken away, they shall live in unity as was God’s goal all along.
Everything we do—good or bad—is going to affect someone, or something, else, just as we will be affected by the actions of others. A few years back, before we did anything, we were to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”. While I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, perhaps we should start asking ourselves “How is this going to affect others?”
In today’s post, my original intent was to show simply this; what we do affects others. God’s intentions, however, was to show me even more. He has shown me how, even when something interferes with my original goals and I have to put them on hold, I shouldn’t abandon or give up on them. He has also shown me the necessity of preparing for changes in my plans. Most of all, He has shown me to trust in Him in all things because He knows the outcome.
As you read these posts, if God shows you something I don’t touch on, feel free to share with us. We could all use a little food for thought
Have a blessed day.
Hearing Or Works
“This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”–Galatians 3:2
Vegetarian, But Not For Long
“And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”–Genesis 1:29
God’s original intent—according to this verse—was for mankind to be vegetarian. He designed every herb and every piece of fruit so mankind would have food indefinitely. And just as He created these to sustain us, He made our bodies so this would be all we would need. It was never God’s desire for blood to be shed for man to survive. Unfortunately, He knew the day would come when it would be required, so He prepared us for that eventuality. Unlike many of the herbivores in the world, He gave us the teeth of a carnivore. While we can get protein and certain vitamins from plants, science has proven we need meat.
These herbs and fruits are a great representation of God’s Presence and fellowship. After the creation of man, God walked with him and talked with him. Had he not listened to Satan in the guise of the serpent, God would have sustained all his needs eternally. When man sinned, he lost the sustaining Presence of God. Man now needed something more to maintain contact with God; he needed blood. God Himself killed the first animal to make tunics for Adam and Eve. He fashioned the tunics to cover their nakedness and their shame; it was also to protect them from the elements.
While it is unlikely we will all return to our vegetarian roots, God made a way for us to return to Him. It, too, required blood. Just as He took the lives of the animals for Adam and Eve’s sake, He gave His only begotten Son for our sake. It is now His sacrifice that sustains us. It is the grace and the mercy that allows to come into God’s Presence and partake of His fellowship.
Failed At Nothing Of Which He Spoke
“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.”–Joshua 23:14