Jesus and Judas

Good morning. It is Friday, February 27, 2015. 38 days until Opening Day. One more day in February.

Today’s word of the day is nescient. Another word that can be an adjective or a verb. As an adjective, it means, 1. ” Ignorant. Freq. with of,” 2. “Agnostic; (asserting that mankind is) incapable of understanding the ultimate constitution of reality.” As a noun, it means, “An agnostic. Obs. rare.”

Today is Polar Bear Day. And a right fine day for that it is, too.

Polar Bear Day is a great segue (not “Segway”) into this section. It seems that February is going out with a bang, so to speak. the current temperature is either 31 or 27, depending on which source you look at. It’s supposed to snow, either starting at 8:00 AM or right now, again, depending on the source, and continue snowing until around 4:00 to 5:00 PM, after which it is supposed to become freezing drizzle. All night long (cue Lionel Ritchie).

I’m going to work after I finish this. Will I get home tonight? Only God knows the answer to that one.

Prayers would be appreciated for Christi’s family. Her step-dad fell out of his chair several times over the past few days. One of their friends wound up taking him to the ER yesterday. He frequently needs to have fluid pumped from his stomach, and is on regular dialysis, as well. At one point, they were saying things “didn’t look good” for him. The friend kept calling Christi, telling her that someone needed to go stay with her mom, and, at one point, insinuated that she wasn’t doing anything to help. That kind mad Christi just a little bit angry, so she called the guy back and let into him. He has no clue how much Christi has done for them. And Christi’s niece always has an excuse for why she can’t go over there to help, except for on the first of the month, when they have money. She’s the biggest mooch I have ever known. She always says, “We’re family, we’re supposed to help each other,” when she needs something. But apparently that only goes in one direction. We are currently paying for her phone service. I think I’m going to stop doing that very soon. Anyway, things got better. Don got out of CCU and was doing better, and someone was found to go stay with Carol (someone who has been there before and knows the situation). But Christi was emotionally drained by the time we got home, so we just chilled for the rest of the evening.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Psalm 19:2-6

(From Knowing Jesus)

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
John 6:66-71
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Matthew 26:20-25
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
Matthew 26:47-50

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Magnanimous to His Betrayer.”

(That means “very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival.”)

Have you ever been betrayed by someone? How did you handle it? Do you know someone who has been betrayed, perhaps by a child, spouse, pastor, or co-worker? How did they handle it? “One word sums up their feelings: pain, not ordinary pain but intense pain, bitterness, frustration, and anger.” Did they forgive? Some may have, but probably not quickly.

The Bible tells us constantly to look to Jesus. When we do, we see his reactions to Judas’s betrayal of him, and we are both astonished and rebuked. “It is a mysterious puzzle, and we simply cannot put all the pieces together.”

The first question is, “Why did Jesus choose Judas in the first place, since he knew in advance that Judas would betray him?” Was this to be the ultimate example of hypocrisy for us? Or perhaps a warning? “Did Jesus choose Judas to show us the perfidy lurking in our own hearts?” (Perfidy means “deceitfulness, untrustworthiness.”) Even worse, “Are we all potential betrayers of Jesus?”

Who among us would choose a spouse or board member if we knew they would betray us? As we fall on our faces before Jesus, admitting that we just don’t understand, we must also search our hearts for “any hints of betrayal and confess those times when we have betrayed our Lord.” By the way, if you think you have never betrayed Jesus, please stop reading this and go on living your fantasyland life.

There’s another question, here. Why did Jesus call Judas “friend” at the hour of his betrayal? It’s right there in Matthew 26:50. We probably would have screamed “Traitor!” at him. If you have known someone who has betrayed loved ones, or have been betrayed, yourself, it is doubtful that the word “friend” was on your lips at the time.

“So when I look at this snapshot of Jesus, not just in Gethsemane but throughout his three years of fellowship with Judas, I see only a vast chasm between Jesus and me.” I have to confess that I still harbor hatred and anger toward some people who have treated me wrongly over the years, rather than “tenderness and forgiveness.” Oh, sure, there are some instances that are, as they say, “water under the bridge,” and I rarely think of them. When I do, it is almost with a wave of the hand, to disregard it. But there are still others that still raise my hackles and cause my stomach to hurt.

“Jesus is so different from me. He handled betrayal with patience and forthrightness during his work and at his last supper with his disciples.” He never flinched. The author of this book says that Jesus kept the door open for Judas to repent. I suppose that is technically true, but don’t believe it was ever in the cards. But that’s not the point of this reading. The point is to say that Jesus “set the highest standard for all who profess to be his followers.”

Father, sometimes I look at Jesus and am almost discouraged to the point of giving up. I see a standard that I cannot possible meet. But that’s the point, isn’t it? We cannot attain the level of Jesus. That’s why we need him in our lives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I can, at least partially, be the kind of person Jesus was/is. I can forgive others when they wrong me (at least 490 times for the same offense, right?). I can love people who would otherwise be unlovable. The problem is that I’m not this way most of the time, even with the help of the Spirit. So I pray for more help; I pray to be more like Jesus. Teach me to walk the way he walked. Teach me to love unconditionally and forgive when necessary.

I pray for this day, Father. If I may be so bold, I would pray that the snow and freezing drizzle be held off until after the afternoon rush hour. Nevertheless, may your will be done on earth as in heaven, and teach us to be accepting of whatever comes our way. Teach me, most of all, not to worry about this stuff, especially things that I have absolutely no control over. May your grace take us to work and home safely today. I pray for your grace and mercy in Stephanie’s life. I pray for Don and Carol, that you would bring peace to them, and physical healing, as well. Also, I pray for peace in this situation for Christi.

Your grace is most definitely sufficient.

Take a look at your own reactions to when people do you wrong, then notice how far away we are from Jesus. This is a humbling exercise. But that’s right where we need to be, isn’t it?

Grace and peace, friends.

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