May 27, 2022
The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
The previous two Verily, verily teachings are foundational to this one. True servitude never includes rejection. Rejecting Jesus and those whom He sends is a serious matter. Now, on this twentieth Verily, verily teaching Jesus states clearly that one of His closest followers would betray Him.
In Matthew’s account of this story, he included the detail that each of the disciples asked Lord, is it I? Matthew 26:22 They believed Him, but could not believe in themselves. Evidently there was some self-doubt in play. Which could be a good thing, for doubting self is like a guard rail of life, it sometimes keeps us from crashing. Peter asked this question, but later that night he did betray Jesus as we will learn with Verily, verily teaching number 21 (tomorrow). John, the one who loved Him and was perhaps closer to the Lord than any other disciple asked this question. Judas, the one of whom Jesus spoke about asked this question. Though it did him no good. Even after Jesus undeniably singled Judas as the betrayer, it did Judas no good. It was already in his heart to turn away from the Savior.
Over the many years of being a believer in Jesus Christ, over thirty years of preaching, over 24 years of pastoring, it can be said that there are those who would never seem to betray Him. But they have. They have left Him, His Word, His Work, and His Way. They still believe in and on Him, yet they have departed, nonetheless. These are much like Demas of whom Paul wrote in II Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed… Remember Verily, verily teaching number nineteen. Demas rejected Paul whom the Lord sent, thereby rejecting the Lord.
Loving anything more than the Lord God will ultimately be proven by a departure from the Lord God. Each disciple wondered if they would be the one to betray Him. May we also be so introspective. At the risk of being categorized as a narrow pastor let it be said here and now, the greatest visible step toward leaving Jesus is leaving the church that He established, that He sent a pastor to, that He calls individuals to attend. After all, Bible believing churches are His. He is head over them; they are likened to being His wife, and the entirety of the New Testament assumes that His children will faithfully attend. Just saying…after all, all I am is a narrow pastor who is zealous for His churches. But sometimes I wonder, Lord is it I?
Until next time,
William T. Howe, Ph.D.