27 February 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 10:21-23 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. (Matthew 10:21–23 NLT)
This is instruction from Jesus to his messengers. Some of it is prophecy to them of what would happen after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus experienced this kind of betrayal at the hands of Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve messengers he was sending out to proclaim the Good News. His followers had to flee from Jerusalem (see Acts 8:1 and Acts 11:19) and even to other nations to escape the persecution that broke out after Stephen’s murder by the Jews.
Jesus warned of betrayal by friends and family members for faith in Christ and his Kingdom. This kind of betrayal happened in Jerusalem and beyond in those early days of the church following Pentecost, and still happens in many places in our world today. Our brothers and sisters in Christ who convert from fundamentalist versions of other religions are often disowned by their families, persecuted, and even killed. In some hardline communist countries and dictatorships Christians and believers of other religions are betrayed by family or neighbors and suffer great persecution.
Betrayal is one of the great injustices! At some point in our lives, it’s likely that each of us will be betrayed. We may not be betrayed for our faith and imprisoned or killed, but just as in David’s lament in Psalm 55, the pain of betrayal by a friend or a brother or sister goes deep! When we experience betrayal, it’s so important not to get stuck there! Anger, hurt, disappointment, mistrust all must be processed and dealt with. The only way to be completely free is to find Grace to Forgive. Don’t stop moving toward full forgiveness till you are free!
Father, Please grant mercy, courage, and strength to our brothers and sisters who are betrayed and persecuted for their faith. And help us to deal rightly with betrayal when it comes our way. May we always press through to forgiveness and freedom and never be bound by bitterness or hatred. For your Kingdom’s sake! Amen!