DATE: September 20. 2019
TEXT: Matthew 26:24 - ESV - The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.
The expression says:“Betrayal hurts most when it comes from an ungrateful heart.” Dirk Willemzoon would agree.
In Holland, centuries ago, Dirk had been condemned to death for no other reason other than the fact he was a Protestant. Dirk eventually managed to escape from jail. Pursued by an officer of the court, he made his break for freedom across a frozen lake.
It was Spring and the weakened ice trembled and cracked beneath his footsteps.
It took some time, but he did reach the shore in safety. Not so the officer. Weighed down by armor, he fell through the ice. Only Dirk heard the man’s desperate call for help. Following the commands of a Christian conscience, Dirk returned, risking his own life to save his enemy.
The officer did not return the favor to his savior.
Having reached the safety of the shore, he arrested Dirk and brought him back to the prison in Asperen. On the sixteenth of May, this same officer, reminded of his oath to king and country, lit the flames that snuffed out the life of Dirk Willemzoon.
Dirk, like our Savior, had been betrayed by an ungrateful heart.
Usually, when we think of the Savior’s betrayal, we single out ungrateful Judas. There is no question that he is worthy of unhonorable mention. Judas had rejected every opportunity to have, and hold, the faith of forgiveness that his Master would win for him upon the cross and at the borrowed and empty tomb.
Of course, Judas was not the only betraying heart that our Savior met during the short years of His ministry. In Bethlehem, Herod would have taken His life; Nazareth, His Boyhood town, tried to kill Him. Peter denied Him. The other disciples deserted Him in the Garden. After Pentecost, love of this world caused Demas to desert his Savior.
And, although it is painful to say it, I, too, have betrayed the Lord. More than once I have turned my back on the Savior Who gave His life so that I might have life. And I would not admit it if I were alone, but you stand with me, side-by-side. It makes little difference that my betrayal has often come through inaction rather than with a kiss.
It doesn’t matter that our denials have come from our silence or inactivity rather than like Peter’s powerful curses. Our Lord Jesus deserves, and expects, better than that from those whom He loves so much.
He deserves faithful friends who witness with words and works. When that happens, Jesus will never again have to warn one of His disciples by saying: “One of you will betray me.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, by the Spirit’s power, I have been allowed to see how great Your commitment was to me. You have made me Your friend. May I always act like that friend. In Your Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html