20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve.
21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
Jesus was troubled by the fact that one of the guys he had hung out with for three years, day by day, eating together, ministering together, walking along the way together...one of His nearest and dearest friends was about to betray Him.
During the Last Supper, Jesus got up from the table and did something strange: He, the Master, assumed the part of a lowly servant, and washed His disciples' feet. Even Judas' feet. Then He told them that He had given them an example to follow.
15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.
17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
Just a few short verses later, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus was deeply troubled.
21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”
22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table. 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.
This is the thing that struck me this morning. Jesus' humanity. It comes through, loud and clear.
He was deeply troubled by the fact that Judas was about to betray Him. This was a person who was (and is) fully God and fully man. Because He is God, He knows all things, and all the way along, He knew that Judas would betray Him. Yet, this night, knowing what was ahead, Jesus did something that proved His humanity. He had to tell His friends.
The same thing happens to you and me. We're deeply troubled by some trial in our life, and what do we do? We tell someone. We share our joys and sorrows, our fears and hopes and dreams. It's the nature of being human. None of us is an island. We were created to be part of a body; as Christians the Body metaphor is very meaningful. We're all connected in one way or another, and each of us has a job to do. We're gifted in such a way that we are a blessing to others, as they are a blessing to us. We share our burdens with one another because we are compelled to do so.
So Jesus couldn't keep it in. He blurted it out: "One of you will betray me!"
The disciples fretted about it, wondering if they were the betrayer. "Is it I, Lord?"
Simon Peter had to know! He motioned to John, and the beloved disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, "Lord, who is it?"
Jesus' response again shows us His humanity. He told John "It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl." Then He dipped, and handed the bread to Judas.
The Word of God demonstrates time and time again that Jesus was fully human as He walked on this earth. He needed to get away once in a while to rest and to pray. He got hungry and thirsty. He was righteously angry when people turned the temple into a den of thieves. He was compassionate to women as He healed their diseases or forgave their sins, and kind to men who were blind or crippled or lame. He wept when His friend Lazarus died; He wept again over Jerusalem.
This is just one more way we can learn that our Saviour, who is Almighty God, who could have called 10 thousand angels to destroy the world and to set Him free, was also, at the very same time, an ordinary man. He loved His friends. He needed them.
And in the next few hours, all of His closest friends would desert Him.
He still went to the cross. He still paid the penalty for our redemption.
He was the only One who could.
In January, a sunny day is a rare gift. Today was one such day. The sun is just about setting now, but the sky is still beautiful, with pink and orange hues dotted with purple cotton candy pink clouds.
I have a lot to be grateful for and much to celebrate.
~Mom's birthday...she would have been 87
~Capable, caring counselors
~Long chats with friends who understand and are willing to listen
~Texts from loved ones
~Time with others
~A warm place to live
~Hugs that surround and comfort me
This is just for me, so I remember to celebrate the little things.
I have opinions. I have lived through 6 and a half decades of experience. I've done well, and I've failed miserably. If you don't like me, fine. Sorry about that. But I'm not about to grovel in order to have a relationship with you.
For many years, I "died to self". I believed that if I put my husband first, and my children first, that somehow this was a godly Christian thing to do.
I spent decades believing that I had no voice, and that I was not entitled to an opinion. I was a woman, and a wife, and I should be small and insignificant and submissive and quiet.
I am a child of the King. I am unique, created in His image, with purpose and a niche that only I can fill. I trust in the Lord with all of my heart and lean not onto my own understanding. I believe He directs my paths.
I also know He has a plan to prosper me, and not to harm me. He has given me a hope and a future.
I can't see into the future, but I know God's got it in control. I love how He told Moses that He would bring plagues upon Egypt, but that Pharaoh would not listen, and would refuse to let the people go. God warned Moses that Pharaoh wasn't going to budge, and that it was going to be a long, hard road.
God knows what He has planned for me. He alone knows how to bring good out of my life. I will trust, I will trust in Him.
I've been reminded a few times that "it's not about you, Janet."
The point of the reminder is well taken. It's not about me, necessarily. Life is about loving God and loving others, which is what I try to do. I tend to be empathetic and emotional, connected to people, feeling their pain and sympathizing with their sorrow. I have always been a deep feeler...not hard-hearted in any way. This has gotten me in trouble numbers of times.
I just finished watching "Dirty John" on Netflix. This is based on the true story of Debra Newell, who fell in love with a man who was despicable in every way. He used women to provide for himself; he targeted successful women who were hungry for love, and he convinced them that he was loving, caring, sympathetic and kind. He completely duped them.
Debra's story is about a woman who was looking for love, and when she met John Meehan, she thought she'd found what she was looking for. He was funny, charismatic, caring, and appeared to be genuinely interested in her. If you click on the link you can read about the timeline. I recommend you go to Netflix and watch the show.
Debra was duped. Because of this, she very nearly lost her family.
One of the most poignant scenes for me was when she went to a family gathering and was told that she should leave. "I don't know what I'd do without my family,"she said. I understand her. She made terrible mistakes, but through it all, she loved her family dearly.
I have done the same. I have tried to love a narcissistic abuser. I have tried to see the best in him, because love "hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things... love never fails." But I was loving the wrong person. I should have been loving my children, empathizing with them, seeing their pain and sorrow, and protecting them. I could have punched the on-screen Debra in the show when she refused to listen to her daughters who told her the truth.
I've come a long way, and news flash: it's not all about me.
It's about Jesus. He has written my life's story. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. Even if others do not understand, I walk with Him. He gives more grace, every single day. My life is nearly over, and I can truly say that no matter how many Dirty guys have hurt me, God has never left me, nor forsaken me. He has walked with me every step of the way.
It's all about Him.
JESUS,Lover of my soul (it's all about You) Click here to go to YouTube.
I've chosen a "word of the year" a few times over the past decade. One of them was "sink", as I learned to sink into the Lord, fully resting in His Sovereignty over my life. Last year's word was HOPE, as I chose to hope for better things after my entire world shattered, fragmented into shards of despair, loss, confusion, and hopelessness. God gave me Hope; He continued to show me verses about hope and I often came across quotes from inspiring writers about hope. God filled me with hope even when it seemed foolish to even press on another day.
I have mourned many a loss. I've dealt with guilt and sorrow. I've thought long and hard about my choices in life that caused pain for me and my loved ones. I've mourned and wept and confessed and asked forgiveness from God. I still hope to be able to ask forgiveness from loved ones. Yet, I've decided that the time for weeping has ended. I have chosen to celebrate! Why, you might ask?
I was thinking about my life with my narcissistic, abusive ex. He sucked the joy out of me, wearing me down bit by bit over decades of neglect.
When I was first married, and had small children, I turned every little event into a celebration. Birthdays were a cause to show love to the birthday child with parties and decorations and cakes made to look like horses or clowns or trucks. We celebrated January with snowflakes and snowmen; February was love and hearts and roses. March – St. Patrick’s day, with green mashed potatoes and lessons about St. Patrick and Ireland. The celebrations were a thing to look forward to, and a reason for learning more, because all homeschooling moms like to turn everything in to a learning experience, of course. My ex did nothing, ever. He rarely got me a card, even for Mother’s day, though I bore him 12 children. I’d do a great be celebration for Father’s Day, for his birthday…and he would do nothing. After a while, it became too hard to pretend, and I simply stopped.
But this year, it will be different. I want to CELEBRATE everything! I am alive. I have a new husband who loves the Lord, and loves me dearly. I have hope for the future. I have relationships with some of my kids and grandkids; and a hope for future restoration of other relationships. I have purpose: I am editing a book for a dear friend who is a missionary.
My life is NOT over. I am free. I have learned so much during the past couple of very traumatic years, and I am thankful to be ALIVE. I choose to celebrate that, to live with joy and thankfulness. I've been mourning too long. It’s time to focus on what is good in my life, to celebrate the little victories and the joy of walking with the Lord day by day. He is good!
Philippians 4:4 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! The Message
I always thought of Moses as a reluctant leader. He was a goodly child, we're told, and because of his mother's great faith he didn't suffer the fate of all of the other boy babies born to Israelite women at a time when fearful Pharaoh refused to see the great blessing the immigrants could have been to his country. History repeats itself, and people in power love to crush the powerless. It has always been this way.
Moses was nursed by his mother until he weaned, then grew up in the home of his adoptive mother, Pharaoh's daughter. He was given the best of everything, but he remembered his roots.
Perhaps it was his pride that caused him to intervene when he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew slaves. Maybe he really thought he could help the slave, but he went too far. He murdered the Egyptian, and hid his body in the sand. Did he think he could get away with it? Not for long.
The very next day, he got involved when he saw two Hebrew men fighting. When he asked, "Why are you beating up your friend?" the man replied, "Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?"
Pharaoh was angry, and Moses fled. He became a foreigner in a foreign land. He looked like an Egyptian, according to the girls he rescued from some nasty shepherds who would not let them water their flocks. But he wasn't an Egyptian at all.
God appeared to Moses, and told him that He was sending him to Pharaoh, and that he would be leading the people out of Egypt.
Moses' protested: "Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people?"
God promised He would be with him, but Moses didn't even know God's name. "Who will I say sent me?"
God replied, "...Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you."
Moses kept protesting. "What if they won't believe me?" God responded by giving him various signs.
Then this final plea from Moses... "O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled."
After God reminded Moses that He had created his very tongue, He relented and said that Moses' brother Aaron could be his mouthpiece. This gave me the impression that Moses really was slow of speech, and had trouble talking.
Yet, in Acts 7, we read "At that time Moses was born - a beautiful child in God's eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months. When they had to abandon him, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son. Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action."
Moses was powerful in both speech and action. He was taught by the most brilliant of scholars. He was likely trained in self-defense and oratory, which would have been normal for an Egyptian raised in Pharaoh's palace. That's why he "assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them" when he killed the Egyptian who was mistreating the Israelite.
But they didn't.
And Moses spent 40 years tending sheep in the desert.
Forty years regretting what he had done. He was a murderer.
Forty years feeling like a failure. He couldn't even act as a peacemaker between two of his fellow Hebrews.
No wonder he felt like he couldn't speak. He had no voice. He became a simple shepherd, no longer aspiring to be a leader or rescuer of the downtrodden.
It was in the desert that he learned humility. In Numbers 12:3, we read, "Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth."
It was exactly the character trait that Moses needed in order to fulfill his calling. When God called to Moses out of the burning bush and commissioned him to go and rescue His people, He knew Moses was ready, even though Moses didn't believe it.
I love this story. I love the fact that God chose a little baby who would rescue His people from slavery. He did that twice, with Moses and with Jesus Who also came as a helpless babe Who lived a quiet, humble life and was the Saviour of the world.
I love the truth that no matter what you've done in the past, the end of your story has not been written. God is still writing your story, page by page, word by word, and He isn't finished with you yet.
Don't let regret or failure rob you of your voice. Be powerful in both speech and action. Speak up for truth, rescue the perishing, and use your gifts and talents to bless others.
Be like Moses.
The other day, my counselor Bonnie shared this gem:
WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME
is none of my business.
I think God is trying to tell me something.
Janet Matthews Roth loves words.