¿Habla español?

Betrayed and Denied

If you have ever been in a romantic relationship that hit the skids, you probably have a gut-level response when you hear the phrase, "betrayed by a kiss."  But the truth is that intimacy is not only romantic; that same crushing betrayal can come from parents and siblings, from friendships, and can even be found at work when your loyalty is betrayed by a coworker or corporation.  Our level of pain often mirrors the depth of intimacy, and so to be betrayed by someone close enough to kiss causes deep pain.  In the pain of betrayal, we often feel terribly alone and we begin to wonder if we are even worthy of love.  But did you know that Jesus himself was betrayed with a kiss?  Mark records the incident in chapter 14:

43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard." 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him.

This man, one of the twelve disciples, among the closest people to Christ when he walked the earth, betrayed his Lord and friend with a kiss. In that moment, Judas used the closeness of their relationship to hand Jesus over for persecution and execution, all for a bit of notoriety and a few coins.  In our pain, we can cry out to a Jesus who does not have to imagine the sting of betrayal because he has experienced first-hand the pain and consequence of investing in years of life and work with someone only to have them act out in their own cruel self-interest.

Jesus had actually predicted these actions just a few hours before, along with another disciple's denial.  Peter, a man who once walked on water with Jesus, says he could never deny knowing Jesus--could never deny following him.  I feel for Peter.  I would like to say I would never deny God; I may even say so in an earnest moment of faith (as I think Peter did).  But I also know that I have neglected to show up in countless ways for the people I love.  I know that I have shied away from difficult discussions or failed to advocate for people I respect.  I know that fear can be an overwhelming motivator sometimes.  I could be Peter any day of the week.

One of the reasons I appreciate the season of Lent, is because it highlights these unflattering moments in the lives of those who follow Jesus, reminding us (me) that it does not matter how close to him we (I) may be, there is still probably some way we (I) have denied, maybe even betrayed, Jesus over the last year.  It is a time to take stock of things done, and left undone, for which I truly need his saving grace.  When are the times the Spirit called for generosity or encouragement and I remained closed off or silent?  When did I act in my own self-interest at someone else's expense?  When have I denied the plain truth of scripture because it was hard to live out?

Believe me when I say it is difficult to read the denials of Peter because in them, I catch a glimpse of myself.  Here is how Matthew captures the conversations in chapter 26:

69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth."
72 He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away."
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

I am brought almost to tears myself when I read this passage.  We can dismiss this story as that of a weak man who caved under pressure, or we can envision our own weakness and grieve our own fault.  I believe Lent is a time to grieve, to lament, to face the truth of who we are, the role we play in Jesus' road to the cross.  We surrender to our need for a savior and cry out from the bottom of the pit...and our compassionate savior will come to the rescue.  Remember, though he knew that Peter and Judas (and you and I) would betray and deny him, Jesus still chose to call them (us), to serve alongside them (us), and to offer redeeming forgiveness and healing salvation.  Praise God!

No Comments



1 Kings 12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai American way America Antelope Valley Apostle Paul Apostle's Creed Bibile Bible study Bible Birmingham Book of Acts But God COVID-19 COVID Calvary Charlies Angels Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Confessional Prayer Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father in Heaven Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God of peace God still Moved God's Will God\'s Will Good Friday Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Happy Father's Day Hawaii Hebrews Holy Spirit Hosea How are you doing How to Pray I want that Instagram Isaiah 43 Isaiah James Brown James Jenna Bush Hagar Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Hughes John Wesley John Judy Garland King David Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Love is Love your neighbor Luke MLK Malachi Mama Bear Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Memorial Day Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Molly Ringwald Monday Night Manna Mother Hen Mothers Day Nancy Drew Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Pentecost Peter Philippians Prince Phillip Prince of Peace Proverbs 13 Proverbs Psalm 10 Psalm 139 Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalm 42 Psalm 46 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Queen Elizabeth Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Sheridan Voysey Son of God Son of Man Son Spider Man Sunday School Surprised by Joy TV Target Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer The Sound of Music Timothy Titanic Today Show Twelfth Night Veggietales Voter Guide Wizard of Oz Women in Leadership Women of Faith Women's Bible Study abide abstain accused act justly action adoration adventure advice advocate afraid allelon alone anchor anger answers anxiety app art ask attack authority awe awkward back to school balance baptism be kind be open be prepared be still and know beaten and condemned beauty and struggle beauty belief believe belonging betrayed by a kiss betrayed black friday blackbelt blameless bleeding woman blessed blessing blog body bond bookmark book boundaries breadsticks broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called by name called carbs care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges change childbirth children choice choosejoy choose christian christ chronic illness church nerd alert church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort comment community compassion into action compassion compost confession of faith confession conflict resolution conflict confusion connection connect consumer culture contemplative prayer conversation with God conversation corruption court tv court creation creative juice creativity cross crucified and kind crucified crucify dad dating daughtership daughters death defense delight denied depression differently abled disabled discernment discipleship discipline discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action donate doughnuts dreams dream early church eating disorder eden election emotional health emotions empathy encouragement endurance enjoy enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family of God family systems family fangirl fasting fast favorite scripture favorite things fear feel find and follow Jesus fine flexible forgiveness forgive free time freedom free friendship friends fruit funeral fun future gaining faith galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift give it away give life giving goals god good news good shepherd gospels gospel government grace of God grace grass is always greener gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grieve grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harmony harsh truth head healing healthy habit heart sick heart help holding tight holidays holiday homeless homeostasis homeschool honor hope deferred hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss how to worship how to humanity human humility humor innocent inspiration intercessory prayer intimacy introvert invitation isolation join journal journey joy just believe justice kids kindness kind kingdom of heaven knock lament laughter learn lent let it be life together light listen live loneliness longing losing faith loss love in action love mercy love story love the Lord love loving like Jesus magi map marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes meditation memorial memories mental health mentalhealthmonth messiah momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move mystery navigate need neighbors neighbor new beginning new normal new season new year newlywed news new nickname normal not alone not easy note to self nothing but joy nourishment now and not yet nowandnotyet nurse offering one body online overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor patience patient peacemaker peacemaking peace perseverance personal prayer perspectives perspective petition phillipians pity planted by water plan play something podcast politics potatoes practice of confession practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayer request prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray preach prepare presence of God present priortize prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questioning God questions quiet race read reconciliation reconnect recovery reevaluate reflect regather regret rejoice relationships relationship remember repentance repost research resilience resources respect rest resurrection retreat rhythms riot road to the cross roles routine ruby slippers rules sabbath sacred sadness safe at home safe salvation scalloped potatoes schedule scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scriptures scripture searching seasons season seek self-care self-denial self-differentiation serve serving share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sing sinking sink slowly smile sober social distancing social media soil solitude sonship soul care soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices spirit spring stars starting point star stayathome still good stop and look up storm storytelling streams of water strength stress struggleisreal study success sudden suffering of Christ suffering summer support surrender take heart talking with kids teacher tears technology template thank God the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life theology thessalonians think thisistheday time tithe to be honest together traditions transformed transition trauma treasure tree of life trials trust and obey trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love unity universe vacation vice president virtual voices volunteer vote vulnerable waiting waking up walk humbly we cannot go back weather wedding welcome welcoming prayer wisdom wise counsel woman at the well woman caught in adultery women pastors women wonder worry worship yield youmatter zoom