Today’s Reading: Matthew 26
Key Verses: “Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.” Matthew 26:48-49
How many of you have ever been let down by a person? Of course, everyone has. It goes with being human. Somewhere along the way, in the process of getting to know another person, you learn something about that person or see something that disappoints you. The longer you know them, the more disappointing things you know. Friendship is when you begin to learn those things but still spend time and support with someone. Still, those let-downs can be tough to deal with when you’re under pressure. Jesus had dealt with disappointments in His closest followers, maybe one of the hardest was in the garden.
It starts with the disciples not being able to stay awake. Jesus urges to them to “keep watch.” It’s a word that means just the opposite of sleep – keep awake, be vigilant, be on guard. But after He’s been struggling alone in prayer, He returns to find them all asleep, three times. The pressures of the past several days, and now this late night, have taken their toll. Finally, He wakes them and tells them it’s time. In no time, a mob has come to arrest Him. Judas approaches to identify Jesus. He isn’t greeting Him and giving Him a greeting kiss because He loves him. You can hear the disappointment as Jesus says, “You’re going to betray me with a kiss?” As soon as they advance to grab Jesus, Peter whips out a sword to take them all on. He tries to kill one of them, and Jesus has to tell Him to put the sword away. It’s not the way His Kingdom is going to conquer. Imagine the disappointment that Jesus felt as Peter just didn’t get it. Then, when they see that Jesus isn’t going to resist, “all the disciples deserted Him and fled.” (Matthew 26:56b)
Try to imagine the sense of abandonment Jesus felt as He watched His closest friends running away into the night. We’ve all been disappointed by people. It’s a problem you’ll face sooner or later, unless you’re a hermit and live alone in a cave – and if you are a hermit, it’s probably because you’ve been disappointed by people!
Isn’t it interesting, for all of the times they disappointed Him, for all of the frustration Jesus must have felt as He worked to prepare the men who would become His Apostles, Jesus never gave up on them. Even after they had abandoned him. Furthermore, He goes out of His way to restore their relationship with Him.
When people let us down, we should not respond in like, but we should respond with love as Jesus did. Our goal should not be to further the divide but to unite it.