John 13

One of the hardest things in life to negotiate is betrayal.  It seems like you can endure most things as long as people are with you, encouraging you on…but when people you were counting on betray your trust, it robs you of something…
It’s almost like it drains your energy, doesn’t it?  In a way it makes you want to quit.  It discourages you.  Betrayal ends marriages, business relationships and friendships.  I hadn’t thought about how discouraging it must have felt for Jesus when Judas betrayed him.  The text doesn’t describe any of the Lord’s emotions, but I’m sure that He had them.  I want to reach out and smack Judas for his colossal blunder…good grief, walking with the Lord himself for 3 years, witnessing miracle after miracle, seeing Lazarus raised from the dead even…and still able to betray Jesus into the hands of the Romans?  If Jesus had offered me the bread after he had dipped it into the wine, I want to think I would have refused it.  I wouldn’t want my legacy to be one of betrayal.   
Yes, I want to be very upset with Judas…but I can’t really, because I betrayed Him too.
That’s hard to reconcile, isn’t it?  You and I went through a period in our lives where we weren’t any different than Judas.  We denied Him also.   We witnessed the miracles and tried to explain them away, even if only the miracle to birth, or the miracle of nature, and we dismissed it as evolution, or something else.  Either way, at one time we failed to give God the glory for all that He has done.  We failed to surrender our lives to Him.  We are traitors, you and I.  Betrayers.  Judas’s.
The only difference is that we made one decision that Judas apparently did not, we confessed and asked for forgiveness.   Here lies the difference between what Peter will do and what Judas has done.  Peter will repent and ask to be restored, Judas will not.  We can be upset that Jesus is betrayed, but we cannot throw stones at those who betray him, can we?  “There but by the grace of God go I” (John Newton, approx 1530).
Jesus Washes The Disciples Feet
Since no servant is greater than the Master, and the Master has just set the example of serving others, we should never recoil at the thought or opportunity to serve others.  Jesus didn’t value social standings.  I think he saw them for what they really are: temporary constructs designed by fallen people who have no eternal vision.  Jesus had eternity in full view, and he acted based on what is valued in heaven’s economy, not the earths.  In heaven, serving others is the great expression of love, and the character of God is love, so to serve, to sacrifice, is to model the character of God himself.   After all, John 3:16 tells us that God demonstrated his love for us by offering His own Son as a payment for our sins.
Isn’t that a wonderful thought?   It occurs to me this morning that we live in an era of identity theft: at least once a year I find an errant charge on my credit card, where someone has found a way to bill me for services they have purchased.   One time it was gaudy jewelry, another time it was Uber rides all over the west coast.  As soon as I saw the bill my thought was “these aren’t my debts, I didn’t incur any of these”.
And that’s the same initial reaction we have to being informed that we owe a debt of sin to God.  “Not me, I don’t owe anybody anything” is our response.  “I didn’t do it, and I don’t even believe in God, so I don’t owe him anything”.   That line of thought makes sense if you view Christianity as a belief held by some and not by others, and unable to be proven or enforced in any way. 
Let me offer another perspective.   Imagine you are a slave, born into slavery and now you have a child.  That child belongs to the Master, just as you do.  The child didn’t do anything wrong, but if he or she doesn’t do what the Master says, he or she will be beaten or punished just as you would.  The child can say they don’t acknowledge the Master, but that won’t change reality at all, will it?  What you acknowledge and what is real might be two different things.
I don’t want to leave this post with the idea that the master I just referred to is Jesus.  Jesus isn’t a task master, he’s a Savior.  The master that you were born into slavery to is the devil, and your children were born into slavery to him as well…and you may not recognize or accept that you belong to him, but you do regardless of your protests.  And you will remain in service to the devil unless you can find a way out.   Here’s the good news (That’s another name for “Gospel”)
Jesus died to provide you a way out of slavery.  You and your spouse, and your children, and your neighbors, and anyone who wants to escape the dead-end lifestyle that the devil has planned for us can cry out to Jesus for help, and He will respond.
Ask Jesus to forgive your sins.  Tell Him that you now believe that charges on your account are truly yours, and that you have no ability to pay them yourself.  Ask Jesus to erase the debt, and promise to accept Him as your Lord and Savior…He will not leave you in bondage,   You will be saved.
I’m not sure how I got there from reading about Judas, but there we are anyway.   I’m glad for that.   It’s a beautiful day, we are rescued from sin and on our way to heaven.  Eternity awaits!
Be blessed today,