Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beneath The Cross Of Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 55:12-14 – It is not an enemy who taunts me — I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me — I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you — my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. (NLT)
Psalm 41:9 – Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (KJV)
Zechariah 13:6 – And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (KJV)
Today's Scriptures bring back memories of a time when a dear friend turned against me and complained to other members of the church. I felt shocked, betrayed, and abandoned by someone I had trusted. Nonetheless, the personal pain that I experienced does not even come close to the intense grief our Lord suffered by the deceitful actions of one of His own.
During the Lenten season, many Christians reflect on Jesus' physical suffering; however, I think that we sometimes overlook the mental and emotional wounds that He endured. In particular, consider the internal struggle that He must have gone through day after day, knowing in advance that Judas Iscariot was going to betray Him.
John 6:70-71 – Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him. (ESV)
Though it is clear that Judas was fulfilling Bible prophecy, still, he did so by his own choice. Perhaps greed or disillusionment motivated him to do such a terrible deed, but God had a greater purpose for His Son. Similarly, God can use our betrayals in ways that will glorify Him if we seek to do His will.
Meanwhile, isn't it comforting to know that Jesus understands our struggles? He understands rejection, betrayal, abandonment, and loss.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (KJV)
As we read the passion story once again, observe the Lord: betrayed, forsaken, and denied. Note how He greets His enemy as "friend": "Do what you came for, friend." (Matthew 26:50a NIV 2011). What can we learn from His example?
Let us keep in mind how much God loves us, how He came to this earth in human flesh to identify with our sorrows. He offers forgiveness, healing, and peace to everyone who calls upon His name.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You for Your great love and sacrifice, for by Your wounds, we are healed. Enable us to walk in the power of Your Spirit, forgiving others just as You have forgiven us. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.
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Amen to your prayer.
Thank you so much.
Thanks for the great season reminder Lori.
Thank you for this devotional. It brought tears to my eyes. Blessings.
Thanks for this word today Lori, for indeed he does understand and leaves us with the example to follow.
Your devotional subject and scripture selections have inadvertently rubbed one of a few raw spots in my faith. Granted, Judas was fulfilling scripture and he did so by his own free choice – supposedly. But here is precisely one of the spots where I have trouble with the doctrine of predestination. If the doctrine be true, then Judas was predestined to carry out his heinous deed, which surely damned him. Yet we say that God is love. How do we reconcile these things? Is it possible for God to foresee without predestining? I confess to being more Arminian than Calvinist – and me a staunch Presbyterian!
Thank you for your contribution.
Thanks, Lori for your leading example and gentle reminders of His sufferings.
That is a precious devotional, one we need. Thanks you for putting our experiences together with what happened to Jesus. He came out victorious, and he will bring us out victorious too.
Keep writing, for His sake. Amen
Lori – Thank you for this look into the hearts of David and our Savior; they both shared the spirit of rejection which was displayed against them. It gives me strength to know the Lord understands my disappointments by His example of love and forgiveness to those who have rejected Him.
Excellent article. Short and concise, yet the author (Mrs. Ciccanti) reminds us that being a follower of Christ does not exempt us from experiencing the same emotions our Lord Himself did. Being betrayed and knowing sorrow are as much of the life experience as fellowship and joy is; and the author reminds us that in this Lenten season, to be fully human and alive, we will experience both. Good article, well written.
This morning as I read the story of Jesus praying alone in the garden while His supposed friends slept, the one word I wrote in my notebook was Rejection. Somehow the pain of the This moment seemed to leap out at me and I empathized as much as a human can with the Son of God.
It is a constant challenge for me to say ‘Yes’ to the will of the Father as He speaks to me from His Holy word or through my spirit. Each day I must ask myself, “Do I trust enough to do what He has said to me? And when He promises something, do I believe that He is able? or even more pointedly, do I believe He will answer my prayers?”