Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stabbed in the Back

By Allen White

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
   “‘I will strike the shepherd,
   and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. Matthew 26:17-35

Have you ever been betrayed by someone? If a close confidant or trust friend went behind your back, would you really feel like taking more food in? You’d probably feel sick in the pit of your stomach. The sensation would involve food flowing in the opposite direction.

Yet, Jesus sitting around the table, predicting His betrayal, shares a meal with His betrayer. This is no ordinary meal. This isn’t burgers at Five Guys. This is the Last Supper. This is the model for communion practiced by billions of Christians all over the world.

Jesus treated His betrayer much differently than we would treat ours. While we wouldn’t look our betrayer in the face or speak to him, Jesus broke bread with His enemy. Why?

Jesus knew His mission. He knew that part of His mission involved betrayal, trial, humiliation and death. But, the price He paid would lead to the salvation of billions. His afflictions were the only means of redemption.

Following God’s plan isn’t an easy, uneventful journey. There are setbacks and even stabs in the back along the way. Both the good and the bad in our lives are part of what God intends to do with us and through us.

Thinking of a betrayer as part of God’s plan is quite a stretch for most of us. We usually don’t smile and say, “I know that your stabbing me in the back is exactly what God intended to point me to where God would have me next.” But, isn’t God more powerful than a betrayer?

Now, don’t get me wrong. God doesn’t encourage, endorse or commit sin. But, God in His Greatness can transform any outcome for His Glory. That doesn’t glorify the act. It shows His Power and Might.

As Joseph said to his betrayers, his brothers, in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God never wastes a hurt. He will take even the most painful events in our lives and use them to build our character and give us opportunities.

Now, what about those betrayers? Were they in the wrong? Absolutely. If their actions pointed us to a better path, a new direction and eventually God’s blessing, would we wish them away? Absolutely not.

Who are you struggling with today? Why are you allowing them to continue to have power over you? Isn’t it time to release them? Isn’t it time to release yourself?

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