It’s the biggest weekend in churches each year. It’s the most wonderful day in history – Easter. For me, some years Easter passes me by. It’s the end of lent, which sometimes means I get to eat sweets again or for others, they’re back on social media. This year, I’ve been captivated, especially this week by Jesus and the disciples. Specifically, how Jesus interacts with the disciples.
On Thursday, as I drove around on my lunch break, I pictured myself in the upper room, breaking bread with Jesus and his closest companions. Sitting at that table were both Peter and Judas. Both betrayed Christ.
A lot can be said about their stories. We could spend days unpacking their narratives and trying to understand Holy Week and the days following from their perspective, but as I thought through and asked the Lord what He wanted me to see, I was reminded that I, too, am capable of betraying Jesus.
I am capable of betraying Jesus.
They had something I lack. They knew Him in the flesh. They traveled with Him. They lived life around Him. They knew things about Him that weren’t even captured in the Scriptures. So if they betrayed Him, one of their best friends, I’m just as capable of it.
I don’t revel in or brag that I am capable of such evil. Nor do I believe that my good works keep me in God’s good graces. Heck to the no. But seeing my depravity right in front of me shapes my response this week in four main ways.
It leads me to worship. I long for corporate worship on Sunday mornings, and I enjoy listening to worship music, but worship doesn’t require music. It’s a heart posture that declares that my entire life – the ways I interact with my co-workers, how I drive my car, the money I spend – is all God’s. Since I know that I am capable of betraying Christ, I must fix my eyes on Jesus, captivated by what He has done, worshiping Him with all that I have, so I don’t worship myself. God is the only one worthy of worship.
It forces me to value the Kingdom above all else. All around me, there are distractions that can shift my focus from what God is doing. It’s my Amazon shopping cart, it’s houses on Zillow, it’s a friends baby shower or the temptation to update a resume. When I choose to focus on these, or any other number of other, less worthy pursuits, Jesus starts to feel less lovely to me. There’s a temptation to compare Him to everything I don’t have, but wish I did. So when I remember that I’m capable of betraying Him, I have to beg God to increase my view of His Kingdom. I have to ask for a heart and for eyes that see the Kingdom of God as the most worthy pursuit.
It enables me to live the Spirit-filled life. It’s a crazy paradox to realize that I can’t walk with Jesus on my own. Because I know I could betray the thing I love most, I have to walk in step with the Spirit every single moment, trusting His leading, and desiring to be obedient to Him.
It makes me crave Jesus’ voice. I don’t need the wisdom of the world or even the well-meaning Christian advice giving me five steps to walk with Jesus for a lifetime. Instead, knowing the darkness of my own heart, I need Jesus, His voice and His gentle leading guiding me towards Himself. I need to hear His gracious words encouraging and convicting me to live in a way that honors Him most.
Tomorrow is coming. The first witnesses will walk into the tomb and find it empty! This is the greatest news in history. And I’ll stand there remembering I’m just Peter. Needing of the gentle coaxing of his best friend and Lord to keep going, to keep fighting, to keep living. Knowing what I’ve been freed from, makes the freedom even more beautiful. Oh, Lord, would I respond in a way that honors You.