April 6th 2020
Psalm 41 & Mark 14:10-11
Betrayal is a word filled with painful associations for each of us and the deep emotion conveyed by David in Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.” resonate powerfully with us expressing both a sense of hurt and loss. Dr Catherine Calderwood, the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, who flouted her own advice so blatantly over two weekends and who overnight resigned her position, in a sense betrayed the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and to an extent her colleagues in the NHS. The betrayal though was not by design but through thoughtlessness or even stupidity. That is very different from Judas who went purposefully to the Chief Priests to betray Jesus. It’s not that he bumped into them and the subject came up, or that they summoned him and forced him in some way to deliver up Jesus. No, he did it of his own bat, with a purpose in mind that was entirely financial as far as we know.
Mark records that the Chief Priests were delighted to hear this, and I was thinking last night that they must have seen this as an answer to their prayers. In their warped way of thinking they must have believed that God had delivered Jesus up to them, and they, albeit by foul means would not fail to do the “right thing”. And such a small cost!
God had of course delivered Jesus up to them though not in the sense they thought but in the sense that he meant when speaking to Pilate “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” Jn 19:11, and which Peter drove home to the crowds on the day of Pentecost “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Acts 2:22-23.
Sometimes, God allows wickedness or sin to prevail in a limited sense, and in the short term but only that through it his purposes will be served, and in it are often contained the seed of its own destruction. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, was sold into slavery, suffered injustice, lay forgotten and rotting in an Egyptian gaol, yet God raised him to be Prime Minister of Egypt second only to Pharaoh himself. For what purpose? To save Israel from famine and to protect the covenant. The cross was not a defeat, an end of Jesus the trouble maker as the Chief Priests thought but the scene of Jesus glorification, and of his victory. Wickedness was turned to good, sin to righteousness, and death to life for all who turn to Jesus.
Give thanks for Jesus, and praise God that he often turns what is wicked and those painful experiences to good.
Pray that this may be true in the present circumstances and that from these troubling days good may come
Pray for those you know and Love, and for the church family. Pray that through this all God will advance the gospel.
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