DayBreaks for 12/30/13 – Villains and Betrayals

DayBreaks for 12/30/13 – Villains and Betrayals

Luke 22:47-48 (NLT) But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48  But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

I know it is not Easter week, Maundy Thursday or even Good Friday, but in my quiet time this morning I was looking at this passage from Luke and a few thoughts struck me that I’d never really pondered before.

There have been many who bore the title of “villain” throughout history. We know the names of some of them and sadly many lived in the past 100 years: Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Mao – to name just a few. There are others who are also villains because of their involvement in school shootings, mass murders, drug or human trafficking and other notorious events. Sadly, it seems that there is nearly always at least one tyrant on the world stage at any given moment in time. And we must remember that villainy is also somewhat a matter of perspective: George Washington would have been considered a villain by the British, and Lincoln by the Confederates.

There was another villain in today’s text: Judas Iscariot. Was his betrayal of Jesus the darkest event in human history? I don’t even know how a finite human being could judge such a thing. Is one betrayal worse than any other? Of course, the betrayal of an innocent person seems worse to us than another kind of betrayal. Jesus was innocent, so you could argue that Judas’ betrayal was worse than say, Peter’s. But how many times have I betrayed Jesus? Given that I have almost certainly lived longer than Judas, I have probably betrayed him many more times than Judas did. No, I didn’t directly sell him to the authorities, but I, by my sin and betrayal of God, am complicit in His death.

Why did His plan include a human betraying Jesus? He could have simply been arrested in the temple (as Jesus himself said in the context) with no betrayal by Judas or anyone else involved, at least not an explicit one. I don’t know the answer to this question, but perhaps it was because we needed to see the dark underbelly of human nature at it worst in war against the God who created us. We needed to see and understand the depths to which any one of us could, and do, descend.

If you have thoughts on why a human betrayal was part of the plan, I’d love to hear from you!

Perhaps we should be more cautious in our judgment on Judas, for each of us is a betrayer, too.

PRAYER: If you counted our sins, who could stand? Not only have we like sheep gone astray, but we have all betrayed you, too. Thank you for your incredible forgiveness and being willing to die for us even as we betray you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!

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DayBreaks for 11/21/13 – A Bad Christian but True Lover

DayBreaks for 11/21/13 – A Bad Christian but True Lover

Have you ever had a conversation like this with yourself (and with God eavesdropping in on your thoughts?)  “Why did I do that?  I know better than that!  I’m so sick and tired of this.  I know I shouldn’t do this but I just am so weak.  I’m a miserable worm of a human being, a spineless, weak failure.  I’m sure God can’t love me or accept me anymore because I can even love or accept myself.”

I would have to imagine that perhaps two people in history had that conversation REALLY seriously: Judas and Peter.  The betrayer and the denier.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been both.  And Peter betrayed Jesus right after boldly and confidently proclaiming that he would NEVER deny Jesus, even if he had to die right alongside of Him!

Yes, Peter could have really gotten down…and I know he did, because Scripture says he went away and wept bitterly after the third crowing of the rooster on that fateful Good Friday. 

I’ve struggle in life with those feelings myself.  I can’t understand how I can listen to “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman and weep tears every single time I hear it because I’m so in awe of God and His great love and mercy…and then turn right around and betray and deny Him mere moments later, either through my thoughts or actions.  Why, God, why?  How is it possible for a human being to be so torn and two-faced?

I love the way William Barclay explained it in his Daily Study Bible commentary on Luke 22: “Even in spite of his denial he (Peter) was fundamentally loyal. H. G. Wells once said, “A man may be a bad musician, and yet be passionately in love with music.” No matter what Peter did, however terrible his failure, he was nonetheless passionately devoted to Jesus. There is hope for the man who even when he is sinning is still haunted by goodness”.

That’s me in spades.  Even while sinning, I am haunted by goodness.  Perhaps that’s what makes my sinning so painful. 

PRAYER: Oh, Jesus.  I am a denier and betrayer and a bad disciple and Christian, but I do love you passionately!  Thank you for loving me, just as you loved Peter, and covering my terrible failures with  your blood.  Thank you for this encouraging perspective on our failure and Your goodness! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make either a one-time or recurring (monthly) donation for his support.  If you have any questions, call 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!