Hello friends. This is our final three days in the book of Matthew. It is very apt that we should be at the end of this gospel because it is all about the betrayal, denial, arrest and trial of the Son of God, whose wonderful Resurrection we celebrated yesterday! If you pop over to Courtney Joseph's blog at Women Living Well you will see that she plans to take a break from our readings until 20th April. Then the plan is, DV, to start the book of Leviticus! I know, you think this is a hard book to get anything out of. Well, it is, but there are nuggets of gold all throughout the Word of God and it just means we will have to dig a little harder and a little deeper to get to them. We can't leave out a book just because we struggle with it. You never know, if you skip over it, you could miss out on a huge blessing that the Lord has prepared for you there. So let's be patient and ask the Lord to reveal Himself to us plainly and clearly through His Word and speak words of comfort to our souls. Regarding taking a break, I personally don't think this is such a good idea because sometimes when we leave something for a while, it is harder to get back to it. Especially where God's Word is concerned, it just leaves us open to more attacks from the devil because we are not as strong spiritually and he knows when we are weak. Remember the devil is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Don't make yourself an easy target for him. Keep in the Word. So I'll be looking at a few verses in Proverbs from Wednesday this week until 17th April so please join me for that. Please try and learn this week's verse too, which is from Proverbs.
Matthew 26 is a very sad chapter to read because of what the Lord Jesus Christ suffered. I know He suffers terribly in a physical sense in the next chapter but for me the awful thing is how He suffered emotionally in this chapter. Imagine, He has had a very strong and close relationship with these 12 men who He regarded as His friends as well as His disciples. Now, when He needs their support most of all, they abandon Him. One of them, Judas, might as well have stuck a knife in Christ's heart for the way he handed the lovely Saviour over so easily to His enemies. And Peter, one of Christ's closest friends, denies he even knows Christ, cursing and swearing to add emphasis. Verse 56 says "Then ALL the disciples forsook Him, and fled". Please don't ever think that the Lord doesn't really understand what you're going through when you feel hurt and betrayed by someone. Nobody knows better than He does. Sometimes we feel let down by family or friends and it grieves us and causes us great pain. Maybe you feel that you can't really talk to anybody else about it...but you can certainly talk to the Lord. He feels your pain, He understands your hurt. It is worse when it is another Christian who hurts you like this. We don't expect those from the family of God to harm us and that is why we suffer so much more when it comes from this direction. The Lord Jesus expected the religious leaders to treat Him as they did, since after all they were His enemies. But His very own disciples? What an emotional blow! King David experienced the same thing and wrote about it in Psalm 41:9, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me". This is the hardest hurt to cope with. So bring it to the Lord in prayer. Let Him comfort you and deal with the issue. Don't try to take revenge.
Thankfully for the disciples, the Lord Jesus didn't cast them off for ever. In His great love and mercy He told them what they would do regarding forsaking Him, but He went on to promise that He would see them again after His resurrection (vs 31,32). There was hope for them; there was no hope for Judas but there certainly was for Peter. He learned many hard lessons, was forgiven and the Lord came to him with a full and free offer of forgiveness.
Maybe it is the other way round and you have been the Christian who has hurt and abandoned another Christian. Don't despair. Even if they can't find it in their heart to forgive you (which, as a Christian, they most certainly should), remember more importantly that if you seek God's forgiveness through genuine repentance, then He will give it. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".I pray that whatever your need is today, the Lord will come close to you and meet you at the very point of that need. Don't try to struggle through on your own, you won't manage it. Bring it all to the Saviour and lay your needs before Him and He will help you through. Isn't that such a wonderful thought?!
- If you have been hurt by another Christian, ask the Lord to help you to be forgiving; ask Him to heal your heart and to use this difficult time to bring you closer to Him and to learn wonderful lessons from this experience
- If you are the one who has done the hurting, go to the one you've hurt and ask for their forgiveness and for reconciliation - leave the outcome in God's hands; just make sure you seek His forgiveness too
Hugs, Karen x