Word for Today – Matthew 26:21

Rise Above Betrayal

Ah, the Last Supper: the glorious origins of our modern-day communion ceremony. The place where the King of Kings and Lord of Lord humbly washed the dirty and well-worn feet of his disciples. But, it was also the place of deception rivaling the best intrigue Hollywood has to offer.

Satan was lurking among shadows and in the heart of a man named Judas. Jesus wasn’t the only one donning the mantle of servant hood; the cloak of betrayal securely rested on the shoulders of a man who decided to serve Darkness that day.

“Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” (Matthew 26:21 NRSV).

These difficult words straight from Jesus greatly distressed the men alongside him at the feast. In today’s vernacular the immediate response probably would sound something like this, “No way, Dude!! We’ve got your back!”

Even the man Jesus identified as his betrayer (the one who dipped his hand in the bowl with Jesus) denied the possibility. I don’t think anyone ever aspires to traitorous greatness, but somehow it happens. I often wonder if slithering into that role comes from a moment of weakness, poor judgment, or both. I think even sincere hearts can succumb to an intoxicating vision lulling them towards an ego-centric, and often insidious, end result.

A few months ago my son experienced betrayal by ones he considered a good friends. The far-reaching tentacles of intrigue prevented my son from going on a school trip he had been looking forward to; nothing was done to confirm my son’s guilt or innocence. Additionally, the validity of his accuser’s claims was not pursued. It was then that my lessons of graciously handling a grave injustice began for my disappointed son.

When I read this section of Matthew recording Jesus’ unjust betrayal, it added clarity to a traitorous situation. When the dust settled around Jesus’ betrayal, his accuser was dead, but Jesus was still living the consequences. Yet, during his last hours of life, Jesus prayed that God would forgive everyone clambering for and responsible for his death. Folks, that not only included the hoards 2000 years ago, but that prayer included you and me because he died for sin, our treachery against our holy God (John 17:20-26). What a divine reaction to a multitude of betrayers both present and future.

My son’s flesh wanted to be all over his accusers and execute his own style of teen justice. Reigning him in has not been easy; thankfully, my son respects the guidance my husband and I shared. He’s handled the unfortunate events very well for a 17 year-old boy with plenty of testosterone coursing though his veins.

One interesting note comparing Jesus’ betrayal with what my son experienced: Judas killed himself. My son’s betrayers have had a different response (thankfully, because no matter the circumstances, I don’t want them to end up like Judas). One will not look him in the eye, and the other acts like nothing happened. I’ve experienced that before, and it usually reveals more about those who cast off the ties loyalty than it does the victim.

What can we learn from Jesus’ response to something most of us have experienced? Rise above it. Jesus rose above it and cast a shadow in the form of a cross on a world full of betrayal. Likewise, a Christian’s call is to rise above and not crawl into the gutter with those who decide there are things more important than loyalty.

Word for Today: Rise above betrayal.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 at 8:38 pm and is filed under Matthew, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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