Judas, Peter and John

passion_of_the_christ_by_saviourmachineJudas betrayed Jesus.

“Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.” Mt. 26:49

Why did he do it?  Was Judas so offended with the path Jesus was taking that he burned with anger and wanted Him dead?  Was he trying to force Christ’s hand to begin responding with power to Roman bondage and Jewish legalism?  Was it just plain greed?

It’s hard not to cringe at the scene where Judas betrays Christ with a kiss.  It is even more difficult to hear Christ’s first word in His response:  “Friend…”

I wonder how it makes you feel when the prodigal won’t come home
I wonder how it makes you feel when he’d rather be on his own
I wonder what it’s like for you when a lamb has gone astray
I wonder what it’s like for you when your children disobey

It must be like another thorn struck in your brow
It must be like another close friend’s broken vow
It must be like another nail right through your wrist
It must be just like, just like Judas’ kiss

I wonder how it makes you feel when no one seeks your face
I wonder how it makes you feel when they give up in the race
I wonder what it’s like for you when they willingly disobey
I wonder what it’s like for you when they willingly walk away

It must be like another thorn struck in your brow
It must be like another close friend’s broken vow
It must be like another nail right through your wrist
It must be just like, just like Judas’ kiss

Gerald Everett Levert

Peter was behind Jesus.

“But Peter followed him at a distance. . .” Mt. 26:58

Peter is fresh from some pretty bold statements:  “Even if all these other guys fall away, I never will. . .I will die with you!”  It’s ironic that Peter will share the stage with a rooster later that evening!

The truth is that he can’t even fully identify with Jesus in his arrest.  He scampers away with 9 other disciples, but stays close enough behind Jesus to see the outcome.

When you are behind Jesus, it’s hard for folks to know whether you are with him or not with him. . .

“You are one of the ones with Jesus, aren’t you?”

Three times Peter denies Christ.  The last time with some language hoping to prove that he couldn’t be a follower.  It’s hard to stand with Christ when you are behind Him.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Robert Robinson

John stayed beside Jesus.

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby. . .” Jn. 19:26

John just wouldn’t leave Christ.  He was there at the trial and He was there eyeball to nail pierced foot at the cross.  And when Jesus needed him to care for His grieving mother, John was right there beside Jesus ready to step up.

John would later declare in his gospel what he witness face to face:  “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his…friend.” John 15:13

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.

Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.

Elizabeth C. Clephane

Where are you right now:  Betraying Jesus. . .Behind Jesus. . .or Beside Jesus?

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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