Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 12:08 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Only in Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Mark 14:17-31 (ESV).
The Betrayer (vv. 17-21)
And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For 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.”
A betrayer is a traitor; one who gives information about (a person, group, country, etc.) to an enemy; one who hurts someone who trusts them, such as a friend or relative by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong; or one who delivers another to an enemy by treachery (M-W Dictionary). To betray may also mean to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling, such as in betraying a trust; to be disloyal to (dictionary.com).
So, how might we, as Christ’s disciples (followers), be guilty, too, of betraying him?
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ, of the Spirit of God, to new lives in Christ, to be lived in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Sin should no longer reign in our lives so that we obey its evil desires. Sin should not be our master. When we were slaves to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness, but now that we have been set free from sin, we have become slaves to God; servants of righteousness. And, righteousness is “’the approval of God’ and refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes” (biblehub.com). We should no longer walk according to our sinful flesh, but we should now walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit (See: Ro. 6 & 8).
So, if sometime after we have received Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, and he comes to dwell within us, he saves us from our sins (the penalty of and bondage to), and he gives us new birth in the Spirit, we return to walking after the flesh, and not after the Spirit, we have betrayed our Lord, for we have been unfaithful as an adulterous wife would be to her husband, or as an adulterous husband would be to his wife. Jesus did not go through that painful death on the cross, taking upon himself the sins of the entire world, just to deliver us from hell and to give us the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When we marry, we promise to be faithful to our spouses, and to no longer date other people. It is the same when we come into relationship with Jesus Christ. We were bought with a price. We are no longer our own. So, we now honor God with our lives, instead of living a “single” life, chasing after the gods of this sinful world.
Body and Blood (vv. 22-25)
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
To drink or to eat of something means to partake or to participate in something. To partake means “to take part in or experience something; to have some of the qualities of something” (M-W). Several times Jesus spoke to his disciples concerning the cup he was going to drink of, meaning his suffering and death on a cross, and at least one time he told them that they, too, would drink of the cup he was going to drink of. Also, one time he told a crowd of Jews that unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood, they have no life in them, yet, he said, whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life. So, Jesus’ flesh was crucified on a cross, and on the cross he shed his blood for our sins, so when we partake with him in his blood and body, given for the sins of the world, so we could go free, we participate with him in death to sin, and in being resurrected, as he was, to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
Denying Jesus (vv. 26-31)
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
To deny someone is to reject, disown, and to declare untrue what is true about that person, or what is true about something they have said, so, in a sense, Peter’s denial of Christ began when he refused to accept Jesus’ words as true, and when he thought he knew better. This was not the first time Peter did that, though, for he rejected earlier Jesus’ claim that he would have to suffer and die, but that he would be raised from the dead. The Bible says that we must be careful if we think we stand, lest we fall. Pride comes before a fall. Peter rejected Jesus’ words to him, because he didn’t believe them, because Peter thought he knew himself better than his Lord did. He thought he would never fall away. So, he rejected the warning, and went his own way, trusting in his own intellect and reasoning in place of Christ’s words to him. And, it came back to bite him, for Jesus’ words were true, and Peter did indeed deny his Lord three times that night, before the rooster crowed.
We need to be careful to make sure we are not only listening to Jesus’ words to us, but that we believe them, and that we follow them through with obedience. We need to be guarded in our hearts against pride to where we reject the Lord’s words of counsel to us, and we go our own way, thinking we know better than God. We need to heed his counsel and his words of wisdom, his instructions and warnings to us, for they are there for a reason, for our good. And, we can’t pick and choose what we will accept and what we will discard, either, as long as it is in line with the New Covenant Relationship God has made with his people, his church. We can’t choose to accept only what is pleasing to our ears, while rejecting what is hard to hear, or what requires repentance and obedience on our part.
We may deny Christ in many ways. One way is by our lifestyles, if our walk does not match our talk, i.e. if we do not live like we say we believe. We may deny him by refusing to tell others about him, out of fear of being rejected or persecuted. Or, we may deny him by refusing to stand up for what is right, and by going along with the crowd in order to not be mocked and ostracized. We may also deny him by not spending time with him each day because we are too busy with our own lives and with doing what pleases us, instead. So, we need to make certain Christ is our first priority, and that we are walking in obedience to him, and that we are not denying him by our lifestyles or by being ashamed of him.
ONLY IN HIM / An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.