SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (March 22, 2013)
“And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him,“Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:47-53.
“BUT JESUS ASKED HIM, “JUDAS, ARE YOU BETRAYING THE SON OF MAN WITH A KISS?” Luke 22:48 (NLT).
One of the most painful moments in the world occurs when a person is betrayed by a loved one. Many people have committed suicide or murder because they were betrayed by a trusted friend. Many have betrayed and continue to betray loved ones almost every day. This means that people will continue to mourn or despair due to the betrayal by loved ones. But this will continue as long as we continue to live in this world. This world is full of sin and wickedness and until we leave here, we can always expect such betrayals and disappointments. What matters most is how Christians are able to handle such situations when they come our way. Many have fallen into the hands of Satan because a Christian brother, sister or friend betrayed them. Should this be the way of the followers of Christ? In our passage for today, we want to look at how Jesus handled his betrayal by one of his own disciples, Judas Iscariot.
As we all know, Judas had lived and walked with the Lord for about three years and learnt a lot from him. He had received a lot of spiritual and physical blessings from Jesus. Jesus loved him like any of his other disciples. He remained with Jesus even when many left him. Yet, a time came when he betrayed his beloved master. He connived with the religious leaders of Jerusalem, collected money from them and betrayed Jesus.
HOW SHOCKING AND SAD IT IS TO FIND OUT THAT YOUR BEST FRIEND IS YOUR WORST ENEMY, AND HOW WILL YOU REACT WHEN YOU FIND OUT?
Jesus was not too surprised because he knew. Yet he felt the pain when Judas betrayed him with a kiss. THE PAIN OF BEING BETRAYED BY A GOOD FRIEND CAN BE COMPARED WITH BEING STABBED WITH A SHARP KNIFE BY A CLOSE FRIEND. JESUS FELT THE PAIN SO MUCH BUT HE DID NOT REACT NEGATIVELY TO IT.
Jesus did something we can also learn to follow as Christians. He understood that even though he had been betrayed by Judas with a kiss, it does not make Judas his enemy. He did not hate Judas to the point of pouring out curses on him as some of us would have done. He kept his cool. He was patient enough to endure the pain he had to go through because of Judas’ betrayal. He understood it to be part of God’s plan for his life on earth. He did not fight back; neither did he permit his disciples to fight against the soldiers.
Even when one of his disciples cut the ear of one of the soldiers, He was kind and loving enough to put it back for him.
JESUS DID NOT ENGAGE HIMSELF IN ANY PHYSICAL BATTLE AT THAT TIME EVEN THOUGH HE HAD PROVEN BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT THAT HE WAS A STRONG PERSON NOT A WEAKLING AND CAPABLE OF RESISTING ARREST. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW STRONG JESUS WAS, CAST YOUR MIND BACK TO THE TIME HE SINGLE-HANDEDLY DROVE ALL THE TRADERS OUT OF THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM.
Instead of using His strength to resist the soldiers, He advised his disciples not to fight the soldiers. Does this make Jesus a coward? CERTAINLY, JESUS WAS NOT A COWARD. HE ONLY ALLOWED THE WILL OF THE LORD TO BE DONE IN HIS LIFE. IF YOU KEEP SILENT WHEN YOU ARE PROVOKED BY OTHERS, IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU A COWARD! IT SHOWS HOW STRONG YOU ARE!
MANY OF THE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES WE GO THROUGH IN LIFE MAY NOT GO DOWN WELL WITH US. This is natural and I don’t see anything wrong with that. HOWEVER, WE SHOULD ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT SOMETIMES GOD ALLOWS US TO GO THROUGH THEM FOR THE SAKE OF HIS GLORY AND ALSO FOR OUR FUTURE GLORIFICATION. Satan thought that by seeking to kill Jesus through Judas, he was destroying God’s salvation plan for mankind. Little did he know that it was part of God’s salvation plan for mankind! What you are going through now may be part of God’s plan for your elevation. So do not react negatively to it and allow the devil to take advantage of you. Do not sin or allow the devil to rejoice over your pains.
Jesus would have resisted God’s plan if he had engaged in any physical battle with the soldiers. Equally, he might have resisted God’s plan if he had hated and cursed Judas. He understood it to be part of God’s plan and took it calmly even though not without great pains. BUT HE WAS CAREFUL WITH HIS UTTERANCES, AND ENDURED THE TEMPORAL PAINS FOR THE SAKE OF A FUTURE GLORY (Check from Philippians 2:5-11).
Sometimes we resist God’s plan for our lives unknowingly through our reactions to the circumstances we find ourselves in. The truth is that it is hard to know whether or not what we are going through is from the Lord or the devil. However if we are true children of God then we should remember that our lives are in the hands of the Lord who orders our lives on daily basis and knows where he is taking us to. Therefore the devil does not have any control over our lives. Whatever he may be able to do against us will be known God and will therefore not stand. It is only what the LORD allows that can happen in our lives. This is not the same for those who are not children of God. We should trust that with him as the pilot of our lives, we shall arrive safely whether or not the weather is bad. We should also remember that ALL THINGS will work together for our good. When we understand God and his word this way, we shall take disappointments and betrayals which come our way calmly, trusting that IT IS WELL WITH OUR SOULS NO MATTER WHAT!
BELOVED PEOPLE OF GOD, INASMUCH AS WE WANT GOD TO KEEP US OUT OF THE REACH OF THE ENEMY, WE MUST ALSO LEARN TO ENDURE PAINS IN DIFFICULT TIMES FOR IT MAY BE PART OF GOD’S PLAN FOR OUR EXALTATION. OUR REACTION IN TIMES OF CHALLENGES CAN EITHER LEAD TO OUR EXALTATION OR OUR DEMOTION. THEREFORE, WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL OF WHAT WE SAY AND DO IN SUCH HARD TIMES. WE SHOULD ALWAYS EXPECT DIFFICULT TIMES AS CHRISTIANS AND TRUST THAT WE SHALL BE GLORIFIED IN THE END (James 1:2-4)!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.