Bible Readings and Devotion for August 10, 2020
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Devotion for August 10, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
It hurts when somebody betrays us. Betray is defined by Websters Dictionary as: “1: to lead astray especially, seduce; 2: to deliver to an enemy by treachery; 3: to fail or desert especially in time of need.” Our reading from Mark 14 tells us the initial plans of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. We read in verse 10 and 11, “Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So, he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.”
This was one of the Twelve Apostles. These men had ministered side by side with Jesus for three years. Together they built trust and friendship in their life together. Even so, one, Judas Iscariot, was still willing to deliver Jesus to our Lord’s enemies. Even though Jesus saw this coming, there must have been significant pain in this situation for Jesus.
Despite this betrayal, and the later abandonment of Jesus by his disciples, Jesus continued to love. This love brought a continued offer to forgive them for their actions. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Sadly, due to his immense guilt over betraying his Lord, Judas Iscariot killed himself by hanging. After the resurrection, Jesus offered restoration and forgiveness to St. Peter, who had previously denied even knowing Jesus. We read about this in John 21:15-19. In all this, forgiveness is central to what Jesus, God the Son, is all about.
This leads us to what is said at communion. In the standard, “Word of Institution,” used at Holy Communion we begin with the statement, “In the night in which he was betrayed.” This is based on the New Testament passages about Holy Communion, especially 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
In my piety and spiritual walk with the Lord I find it significant to begin the Words of Institution in this way, “In the night in which he was betrayed…” This is a constant reminder to me, and to the church, that we are loved by Jesus despite our sin. He gave us this Sacrament, not because we were perfect and good friends. Rather, he gave it to us because we need his love and forgiveness. He took this action for the Apostles, and for us, at the Last Supper, knowing that we would not always be loyal friends, knowing that we would sometimes disregard his calling for our lives.
In using the statement, “In the night when he was betrayed,” we are not rubbing it in that we are sinners. Rather, we are being assured by God Word that we are loved. We are reminded that God overcomes our rejection, betrayal, and more, all so that we can have life now and forever in Jesus’ name.
Merciful God, we do not presume to come to your table trusting in our own righteousness, but in your abundant mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat and drink the body and blood of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that we may live in him and he in us, now and forever. Amen