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Betrayal meets Faithfulness - Mark 14:43-52

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Mark 14:43-52 Betrayal meets Faithfulness INTRO The title of this morning’s sermon is: Betrayal meets Faithfulness The setting, if you recall from last week’s teaching by Nathan, is in the garden of Gethsemane. Here… JESUS, in agony over what awaits him, is praying to the FATHER, asking “if it were possible that the hour might pass from him.” Receiving essentially no help from his heavy eyed disciples whom Jesus finds sleeping every time he seeks their support. JESUS repeats this prayer to the Father three times and after the third time,….He awakens his sleeping disciples to announce that the hour….very hour he has been praying to pass from him has now come. Perhaps even pointing towards JUDAS approaching as he says, glancing back at (verse 42) “see, my betrayer is at hand.” (verse 43) continues… “And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” The hour of betrayal has come…it did not pass. The hour that opens wide the flood gates for the forces of evil…the power of darkness (Luke 22:53) to unleash a full force assault on CHRIST has come. Betrayed into the hands of sinners to be sentenced to death and that by….crucifixion. The betrayer comes to betray him who is faithful. Betrayal meets faithfulness. And there are three things I aim to put our focused attention on this morning in our consideration of this passage. Three morsels from God’s word to chew on today and into the week ahead. Number 1 - The Sting of Betrayal Number 2 - Christ’s Holy conduct upheld in the face of betrayal Number 3 - Budding marks of one seeking after God by following Christ. NOW, before we proceed into the first of these three morsels from God’s Word today, I believe it will be helpful to obtain a clear definition of what it means to betray. Of the definitions searched, I found the following to most succinctly describe betrayal: Violation of Trust Violation of Trust by either fraud, (deceiving one for selfish gain) or by unfaithfulness (in which entrusted secrets or treasures are disclosed or squandered for selfish gain) NOW, if I were to pose the question. Have you ever been betrayed? Undoubtably everyone of us, given enough time, could share a betrayal you’ve experienced before. Perhaps that kid at school who told you if you let him have your pudding snack that he won’t tell anyone that you have a crush on so and so…and then come to find out..after giving them your pudding snack they have already spread the word OR they only held the secret a day’s worth before broadcasting it. Possibly you’ve been betrayed by that website you trusted, that vacation rental advertisement for an amazing deal, that ad for sold out concert tickets…that could be yours…something of that nature…trusting the site you put forth sensitive information to only find out soon later that you were deceived…your trust in them was violated for their gain and your loss and headache and AAGH. How dare they! - BETRAYAL! - VIOLATION OF TRUST! Whether these examples or others….we’ve experienced this before. That is indeed a betrayal. But….but, there is a betrayal that bears a much stronger sting. ONE in which when that question is posed….no effort is needed to be put forth to think of an example. On the contrary, effort is needed to be put forth not to become quickly agitated by memory of it. There is that such a betrayal. The hurt of which penetrates far deeper than it’s counterpart. This is the type of betrayal our Lord experiences here in the passage this morning. The Sting of Betrayal by one who brought it with a kiss. Biting into our first morsel of God’s word. BODY 1) FIRST POINT - (Mark 14:43-46). Sting of betrayal - read (43-46). Judas betrays JESUS to his face and not only to his face but with a gesture of friendship…relationship…endearment…..while all along his heart was inclined to harm him for personal gain. And before we expound on that some more,…I want you to note with me that Judas (verse 44) the betrayer, had given them a sign. Them who? Them the chief priests, the scribes and the elders along with the band of soldiers…the crowd….they brought along with to seize Jesus. JUDAS provided a sign to them saying “The one I will kiss is-the-man.” Why was it necessary to do that? Doesn’t Jesus perpetually have this halo canopy about his head? This angelic glowing essence about him all the time? Isn’t he the one who has the long flowing brown hair, and full beard.. resembling the likes of a surfer hippie whom you can immediately spot in a crowd? Apparently not. In fact (Isaiah 53:2) Isaiah tells us “that like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Huh..Now I love a daily dose of fresh raw ginger root in the morning. I look forward to it. After all coffee and breakfast is consumed I bite into a chunk of raw Ginger and POW! Bursting with life and vigor with every chew till I can swallow it. There is this spicy purging freshness in my mouth I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy. It has a cleansing effect on your palate you….that is why it is served with sushi so that as you move through eating the variety of sushi you are enjoying you can cleanse your palate between bites to maximize the variety of flavors experienced. It is an amazing food….But,…it is,…like all other roots…not a blooming flower that grasps your eye’s attention. It’s visibly unappealing. Powerful substance..AND HOW…but no outward beauty or desirable form. This is what Isaiah uses as a way to describe the Messiah…that Jesus had no physical form that was extraordinary. He held no outward appearance that made him sharply distinguished in a crowd. No glowing essence shining brighter than that of the full moon of Passover on this very night this passage has us. And granted, there was poor lighting in that it was in the middle of the night. It would have been difficult to see exactly which one was Jesus. John’s gospel (John 18:3) tells us they had along with the weapons…lanterns and torches to further illuminate a moon lit night……BUT, nevertheless, scripture tells us plainly that it wasn’t Jesus’s outside form that drew people to him it, rather…it was that which emanated from within Him. (1 Samuel 16:7) God himself looks upon the heart and not the outward appearance and right on par with that…GOD among us, EMANUEL, the incarnate CHRIST, the Son of God… reflected the glory of the Father by the inner man. “For in him (in Jesus) ALL the FULLNESS of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:19) Same as it is for his followers. You see, the attractiveness of christianity is not his people’s apparel or outward glory, it is rather the transcendent inward glory of the life of Christ in them made manifest through——-the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. You track’n? “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). It is these attributes of Christ that drew people to Him when He walked this earth and still draws people to Him now when it’s seen exhibited in His church….in His followers. It’s also what God looks upon. It’s the essence of what flows from our inner man. Our true self. Not the camouflage we can put on display BUT our true nature being sanctified by the powerful working of the Spirit of God effectually applying the Word of God to our hearts…Changing us. It is this inner man that has been born again for all true believers and grows in maturity as we seek after God by following CHRIST. And this inner man of JESUS, in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and thereby reflecting the glory of the Father not by His outward appearance but by the transcendent nature of his inner man. It’s here…at heart level,…where Jesus was stung fiercely by this betrayal. Why do I say that? JESUS invested time…Three years of time and energy into training Judas as a disciple from the moment he called him as one of the 12. Day after day, investing time and energy into training him along with the other 11. JESUS…regularly broke bread with Judas over the span of his three years of ministry. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner…that’s a lot of meals shared. A lot of conversation had. JESUS gave/entrusted him you could say… with power and authority to heal the sick, raise the dead (yes that’s what it says), cleanse lepers and cast out demons along with the other 11 disciples when he sent the 12 of them out to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:8). The Bible provides no information that would lead us to believe that Judas was the exception amongst the other disciples. He was entrusted with the same power and authority that all 12 were given by Jesus. What a gift, what a treasure of Jesus’s….to entrust to others. Jesus trusted Judas with the money bag…he was the ministry groups treasure…entrusted by JESUS, along with all the 12 apostles, with the funds for the ministry of JESUS. LISTEN….Jesus washed his feet, hours before this moment of betrayal…same as he did for the other disciples as an example to them of how the followers of Jesus are to be as servants. CHURCH,….This was not a surface relationship. NOT a two ships passing in the night type of interaction. NOT an acquaintance or friendly neighbor you wave to as you go your way they go theirs…OR even share occasional surface conversations with. NOR a coworker or business associate you interact with but only on the level of business or regular transactions…..NO…it is not this at all. This was a relationship established over years where trust has been given. …there is a closeness. Time has been invested…memories have been made… experiences have been shared with one another…there is a history filled with details of their lives interwoven together. Judas betrays Jesus to his face and not only to his face but with a gesture of friendship…relationship…endearment…..while all along his heart was inclined to harm him for personal gain. My friend, Betrayal here..this type of Betrayal….HURTS. Hurts with a hurt other betrayals can’t even touch. Those who have experienced this know exactly what I’m talking about. It strikes the inner man to the core. Causes you to bleed profusely within to the point the lack of blood…figuratively speaking… causes you to be weak…NOT sure if you can go on. Betrayal of this nature is one of the worst pains the inner man can experience. It’s the type of Betrayal DAVID laments over in (Psalm 55:12-13) “For it is not an enemy who taunts me — then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.” Do you hear the unbearable pain expressed in David’s words? He knows this type of betrayal. Betrayal that wounds deep. Wounds that can be healed over time through repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation…to the praise and glory of God because of the gospel - YES and AMEN…but nevertheless are wounds that leave a mark…that bear scars. That’s why if ever asked if you have been betrayed in this manner…..it’s not a thought one needs to put forth effort to muster up. Instantaneously it’s there. Boom! Forgiveness given, complete healing has taken place…tender scars remain. Scars that are sensitive to any hint of the elements of betrayal lurking about. I want you to understand this church. This hurt. JESUS wasn’t emotionally immune to the hurt of betrayal despite knowing it was coming. He wasn’t then and he isn’t now. He knows that pain and can sympathize (Hebrews 4:15) with us when we are betrayed. And it still hurts His heart when we sin against Him in this manner. We are entrusted by Him,…same as his disciples back then….with treasures that belong to him. He entrusts us to steward well the gift of family, our home, our jobs, the gift of an education, our physical bodies, the Church, His planet we live on and it’s resources we harness..…It’s all His entrusted to us….but far above all that He entrusts His people Namely with the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:17, Galatians 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 1 Timothy 1:11, 6:20, 2 Timothy 1:12,14, Titus 1:3) all these verses and likely more…ALL tell us we have been entrusted with the gospel. The message and the making of God’s new creations in Christ. We’ve been entrusted with the message… to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ whom (2 Corinthians 5:21) “For our sake he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”…and this….JESUS accomplished by dying on the cross. We’ve been entrusted to share the good news of how sinners like us may be reconciled to a Holy God and to orient…the making…to orient our lives around it…around the gospel so that it’s remaking of us from the inside out is put on display. A message and a making. And though his love for us is secure by his atoning work, his heart still hurts every time we allow the sin of deceit to interrupt, to quench or mar the work of the gospel in us. It stings same as it stings you when betrayed. Be known as one who is faithful. The christian should be known by a number of character traits…one of the most noteworthy is being found faithful. Child and adult alike…be faithful. DO NOT permit any thread of betrayal to exist within your home…between spouses, siblings, child to parent..parent to child. For the sake of your family just don’t go their. Pursue honesty, faithfulness and trustworthiness. These virtues yield peace, love and joy in these relationships and will have the same effects on all other forms of relationship outside of the home. Be known as one who is faithful….AND, like our Lord, when you meet betrayal,….in line with faithfulness. Uphold holy conduct in the face of betrayal as demonstrated by our LORD in (verses 47-50)…which is our second morsel to sink our teeth into. 2) SECOND POINT (Mark 14:47-50)- Holy conduct upheld The holy conduct upheld in the face of betrayal That’s the kicker right?…By one betrayed. You feel justified to go unleashed back at the betrayer. You are the innocent one! How dare they! I am justified to be angry….I’ve been the loyal spouse, I’ve been faithful, I’m the parent who makes sacrifices, who trusted my child with this privilege, this valuable thing and I was deceived, I was lied to, I’m the victim,…BOY if there ever is a platform to feel justified to retaliate…THIS IS IT! Let’s see what takes place in verses (47-49). There it is…right? ….Right from the gate, one of the disciples responds how anyone of us would respond in this position. Retaliate! Free to unleash on them. This disciple, the gospel of John informs us that it is PETER, the disciple Peter,….perhaps still a bit groggy eyed being recently woken from heavy sleep, explodes in retaliation mode with intent, I believe, to kill…I’m persuaded that he wasn’t targeting the ear…Wasn’t some ZORO warning strike…NO.. Peter had lethal intent….but by the grace of God only the ear of the high priest’s servant was cut off. Let’s contrast this to how JESUS responds. JESUS, wounded deeply in the heart by the betrayal of Judas directs his attention to the soldiers, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders. I ponder what the look upon Jesus’s eyes were when He said this to them. “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me?” I imagine sadness,…. an appeal to their heart even…. Like “this is quite the production to seize one who” (verse 49) “Day after day I was with you….I was with you Jesus says, I’m not a stranger to you..Day after day I was with you…in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.” I hear this as being spoken in line with (Proverbs 16:23) “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” Jesus’s words here are gentle and judicious. His actions were in accordance to The Word of God. The composure of Jesus…his inner man hurting severely yet he remains self controlled, Holy in his conduct and ultimately submissive to the Father’s will. That which he sweat drops of blood agonizing over in prayer to the Father with whom all things are possible to remove this cup from him…his inner man in anguish over the suffering that awaited him to atone for the sins of his people…yet not what ‘I’ will… says Jesus,…not my will…but what you will”….the end of (verse 49)….“let the scriptures be fulfilled.” Jesus obeyed. Submitting to the Father’s will as an example to us. Even in the face of such inner torment…he remained faithful to the Father, obeying every word upholding holy conduct in the face of betrayal. And then, this strike against Christ’s inner man is compounded in that the rest of his closest followers desert him. They deserted him in watching and praying you could say earlier when Jesus,….in agony… “his soul sorrowful even unto death” asked them to watch and pray with him prior to this betrayal and now they compound the very betrayal by adding their own portion of betrayal to it by deserting him physically…(Verse 50) “And they all left him and fled.” But wait, we are given a peculiar verse to treasure that informs us that someone did follow….at least for a while. (Verses 51-52) - our final morsel to bite into. 3) THIRD POINT (Mark 14:51-52) Budding Marks of one seeking after God by following Christ Let’s look at these two final verses together shall we? (Verses 51&52) - read Odd insert is it not? Another passage of scripture where perhaps you’ve found yourself saying like me many times… “That’s in the Bible.” “What I just read is in the Bible.” Dear friend. The Bible is the most honest book there is. It doesn’t paint a flowery picture of events. Far from it…it states it how it is….it doesn’t omit ugly details of what took place. It’s brutally honest and that therefore ought to serve as a marker of it’s authenticity. The BIBLE has fulfilled prophecy, THERE ARE tremendous proportions of historical validity to it, YOU have the miraculous preservation of it, generation after generation of the powerful testifying effects of it upon the souls of man, the unified storyline pointing to CHRIST written through men of old carried along by the Holly Spirit over the span of thousands of years…..and along with those markers amongst others of it’s authenticity you have it’s raw honesty such as in these final two verses that close out our passage. MARK ensured that this particular witness to the historical account of JESUS’S arrest….was to be preserved in scripture and he tells it how it was. NOT a flattering scene. One thing I find peculiar about this recording is that when all the others fled…all the disciples deserted Jesus….he followed…this young man wearing only a linen cloth…one who is NOT of the 12…followed. None of the other gospels mention this account? Therefore, most commentators understand this to be John Mark the writer of this gospel account. ONE who later became a close attendant and writer for Peter. Recording all he could remember from what Peter passed down to him when he composed the gospel of Mark under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. SO, some considerations of this passage in closing? Taking it at face value. Understanding this person to be the writer of the gospel of Mark. We know that he was a young man at this time as (verse 51) makes clear. There was at least at this point..for John Mark…an interest in JESUS…a seeking after him. HE is here on the night of his betrayal..an eye witness of this account. He remained and followed when all the other disciples ran away. He didn’t seem to have much…perhaps he was quite poor…only having a linen cloth about his body. He followed close enough that it put him in danger…actually being seized by the soldiers and narrowly escaping at the great cost of his only garment leaving him buck naked has he fled. And who knows how difficult it would have been for him to find clothing again. Awkward much! It was in the middle of the night. NOT any easy fix likely.…or maybe that was helpful. Hard to say…but nevertheless awkward and you could say ‘terrifying’ moment for this young man. And though John Mark omits his name (perhaps out of modesty) he is sure to include the account of it in composing this gospel. I offer a few considerations as to why: Seeking after God by following Jesus means being vulnerable, (you know… getting close)….which usually includes risk.. Seeking after God by following Jesus has risk (being put in danger)…and.. Seeking after God by following Jesus can mean being stripped. (having great cost) All, however, commendable in the sight of God who looks upon the inner man. All formative in growing the inner man to be whom God is calling them to be. It is not by chance that John Mark wrote,..under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…this gospel account which is recognized as the very word of God. Life giving, soul changing, gospel heralding message of Truth. The Kingdom of God in which Christ sits enthroned is being built by the working of His word in the power of the Spirit and John Mark….is credited as one of the divinely inspired authors of scripture. NOT bad for a young man running naked as a jay bird through the moonlit night. Awkward beginnings…mature ends. A good example to us all who are seeking after God by following Christ…but chiefly, I’d say once again…the young men here at Pillar. Yeah, I know, attention is on you again. BUT hey,..you like it…and foremost…look at the text. I’m not venturing about or pulling on hair strings to strike this cord. It’s where God’s word has us right now. (Verse 51) “And a young man followed him” Similar to this blip on Mark….It’s an awkward time of life for young men… straight up..it is. I mean…Your voice shift is audible evidence of that. …I couldn’t wait for that to be over with when I was your age. Claiming I had a sour throat for I don’t how many consecutive months. It’s a time you are figuring a lot of things out - your clothing style, music style and hair style for that matter, complicated by the fact that facial hair begins popping up but in patches with varying thickness…the awkwardness of that feature for some goes well into adulthood…that’s why I’ve never sported a full beard. Right??… So much change taking place and there can be a lot of awkwardness in it. But it’s also a prime opportunity to have it’s awkward beginnings include a heart felt seeking after God by following Jesus…..that it would lead to mature ends. Being willing to be vulnerable to draw close to Jesus. Open your heart to Him…. Share your struggles…your questions…and not only with Him but with those who love and follow Jesus along with you…Invite your dad into that intimate vulnerable space….along with, your mom…your parents can handle any topic…don’t believe satan’s lies that say otherwise. Share these conversations with your pastor…other young christian brothers who are likewise seeking after God by following Jesus along with you. In the face of risk to not be deterred by the danger it may place you in….We live in a world that hates JESUS and it will hate you who seek to follow in his footsteps. Mark that danger as real and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as you courageously continue the worthwhile risk of following Him which comes with great cost. Resolving in your heart that “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I brought nothing into world and I take nothing when I leave.…when I die… (Job 1:21) Whatever cost there is in this life in seeking after God by following Jesus …. You are in… YOU are content with so long as you return home to Him when that day comes. HAVE these awkward beginnings include a heart felt seeking after God by following Jesus…..that it would lead to mature Christlike ends. CONCLUSION I conclude Church with once again saying - Betrayal hurts. It does. And the closer the person is to you the more painful that violation of trust is….whether it is caused by deceit or the squandering of something entrusted. It hurts and takes time to heal. If we are the guilty party convicted of that sin who has confessed it and sought forgiveness. Understand that though forgiveness is extended and though reconciliation has taken place there is a process to the healing. It’s not like Indiana Jones and the last Crusade where Indie pours the water from the holy grail over his dads bullet wound and it fuzzes like hydrogen peroxide over a scratch to then moments later be washed away clean leaving baby fresh skin. It doesn’t work like that. As much as we would like it to pass that quickly because it hurts to know you’ve hurt one close to you. It hurts to know you hurt anyone BUT especially one close to you. Your spouse, your child, your parent, your brother in Christ. The pain of sin inflicted upon one another doesn’t wash off like the water from the holy grail washed off a mortal flesh wound….That is not real. The reconciliation is real…the cleansing of all unrighteousness by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ through whom we may have forgiveness of sins… is all real, praise God that is real and forever will be because of the gospel. BUT the dagger wounds made with your harsh words or actions penetrate deep….allow time to heal and apply the balm of pursuing more of the fruit of the Spirit in your life. If we are the one betrayed. Think upon how Jesus responded when The One The Holy One..JESUS..When He who is Faithful…was betrayed to be sentenced to death. Think upon Him who upheld holy conduct in the face of betrayal. In his strength, by His example, be faithful to reflect that same character trait as one who seeks after God by following CHRIST. - PRAY COMMUNION Benediction (?)
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