The One Who Forgives
June 3, 2020
BY Pastor Bob
The One Who Forgives....
by Pastor Bob
Have you ever been betrayed? Have you ever been betrayed by say, your best friend, or someone you trusted with your life, by someone who knows your deepest, darkest secrets? You trusted them without question, yet they're out there blabbing your secrets, telling anyone who will listen about the "real" you, the one no-one knows about. It's devastating to say the least!
What do you do with this person? Forgive them, which the Bible tells us to do is out of the question! No way! I didn't do anything! HE was the one who started all this! HE was the one told these vicious things about me! HE threw me under the bus!
So what do we do?
Something even worse, have YOU been the betrayer, the one who betrayed? YOU threw your friend under the bus, YOU told your friend's deepest, darkest secrets! YOU told everyone who would listen who your friend REALLY is! You thought more about your self than your friend. You would rather "trash" him than have people point their fingers at you and "trash you.
You can point to the way you were raised as a cop-out. Better HIM than ME! Do unto him before he does unto you! GET HIM FIRST BEFORE HE GETS ME! Or it could be that you have no scruples, no integrity. You are so weak morally that you would rather let someone else be hurt rather than you.
There's an illustration in the Bible that speaks about this. In fact, it's so important, so momentous that it's mentioned in all four Gospels. God wants us to know about it, betrayal; being betrayed AND being the betrayer. How do we handle this, how SHOULD we handle this?
Early in Jesus' ministry, after being tempted in the wilderness He went out and began gathering disciples. He found some fishermen, a tax collector, in other words people who were looked down on. One of these men was Peter, a fisherman. He became one of the leaders of the disciples. He has been described as a hot-head, a brash man who spoke before he thought. In other words, someone just like us! But Jesus placed a lot of trust in him. In fact, he was one of disciples that Jesus brought with Him to what is now called the Mount of the Transfiguration. This is where Jesus met with Moses and Elijah who appeared and talked with Him. He was with Him when Jesus transformed five loaves of bread and two fish into a feast, enough for five thousand people! He was there when Jesus fed another four thousand! He was there when Jesus walked on the water; as a matter of fact, he told Jesus to call him if it was really Him ( he thought Jesus was a ghost). Jesus told him to come on out. Peter did. He walked on water! He's the only man I have heard of, besides Jesus, to walk on water! People always talk about Peter, how he was "afraid" and sunk after walking just a little ways. But still, HE WALKED ON WATER! Jesus, the night of the Last Supper, asked to wash Peter's feet. Peter said "No way" I should be washing YOUR feet! (I think Peter, after seeing the kind of person Jesus was started seeing himself as he really was; all talk, no substance.)
But Jesus had plans for Peter. He knew what kind of man Peter was, who he REALLY was. For example, Jesus told him that satan demanded to sift Peter like wheat ( I think satan knew what kind of man Peter could be too). Peter said "No way! I would go to prison for you! I would die for you!" Jesus then predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the night was out. But also, Jesus told him that He prayed for him, that his faith wouldn't fail, and that when he turned back from betraying Him, he would strengthen the other disciples. (Jesus knew the future! He knew Peter would "turn back!")
Anyway, after the Last Supper, Jesus and washing the disciple's feet Jesus (who knew what was coming) took them to the Garden of Gethsemanee, a favorite spot of Jesus. There, He told them to watch and pray so they wouldn't fall into temptation. But they fell asleep; after all it was in the early hours of the morning by then. Jesus came to them two other times and told them to wake up. They fell asleep again. The third time Jesus just let them sleep on. Judas, a disciple had gone to the priests and made a deal with them; I'll point out Jesus and you give me 30 pieces of silver. He brought the priests plus soldiers to arrest Jesus. Peter, the one who stated that he would die for Him grabbed a sword and cut off the ear of a servant named Malchus ( I don't think he was aiming for his ear!) Jesus healed his ear and told him to put the sword up. He then went with the soldiers. The disciples scattered; they didn't want to be arrested too! But Peter kind of hung behind and followed them (he didn't want to be arrested either!) They took Jesus in to be questioned, and Peter stayed outside to warm himself next to a fire. A servant girl saw him and said 'Hey! This guy is one of Jesus' followers!" Peter said that she was wrong. "I don't know this Jesus!" ( Denial number one!) A little later, somebody else accused him of being a follower of Jesus. Peter said "No way man!" (Denial number two!) An hour later someone else accused him of knowing Jesus and he said "I don't know this man." He even started cursing to make it sound like he was just a regular guy like them. Right then a rooster crowed. Peter saw Jesus, who stopped and looked at him. Jesus didn't say anything, didn't say "I told you so!" He just looked at him. Peter, right then, knew what he had done. He, who boasted he would go to prison and die for Him, but here he had done the very thing he said he would never do! HE BETRAYED JESUS!
The Bible states here that Peter wept bitterly. Myself I think this is one of, if not the greatest understatement in the Bible!
Can you understand how he must have felt? He had betrayed, by his own mouth THE SON OF GOD! The one who was one of the head disciples, the one who saw Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah! The one who recognized that Jesus was the MESSIAH! He may have thought he should go out and do what Judas did: HANG HIMSELF!
Jesus was crucified. His disciples scattered. Peter was probably imprisoned by his own thoughts. To think: He betrayed Jesus! He showed who he really was; he showed his true colors!
But as I said before, Jesus had plans for him, in spite of what he did, in spite of the betrayal.
On the third day, Mary the mother of James and Salome mother and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body, they saw that the stone was rolled away a young man was sitting inside the tomb. He told them not to be amazed, but Jesus had risen. He also told them to go tell the disciples AND PETER to go to Galilee where Jesus will meet them. IMAGINE! Tell the disciples AND Peter! He included the betrayer in his message! Can you imagine what Peter thought when he heard that? "Is Jesus going to yell at me? Is He going to condemn me? What will He say to me? I BETRAYED Him!"
Jesus met them at the Sea of Galilee like He said He would. While they were fishing, they heard someone say to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They caught so many fish they weren't able to haul it in because of the number of fish in the net! John then told Peter that it was Jesus on the shore. Peter, perhaps because he wanted to apologize to Jesus, dove in and swam to shore. Jesus already had a fire going. They ate breakfast, Jesus started talking to Peter and told him to feed His sheep. There was no condemnation, He just told him he wanted Peter to do something for Him. He wanted Peter to take care of His flock, to feed them while He was gone. And indeed Peter did just that! In the first letter written by Peter, in the fifth chapter, Peter told the elders of churches in modern day Turkey to be a shepherd to their flock, and I think he stated very significantly to shepherd them, not lord it over them, and to be an example to them. I believe this last part was VERY significant because at one time he, Peter would have lorded it over the flock. But God humbled him, so he wouldn't be someone who was unreachable, full of self pride. God doesn't want this; He wants humble people. (After all God hates pride!).
What can we learn from this example? For one thing, follow Jesus' example; forgive the betrayer like He did. And I'm sure that most, if not all of us have betrayed Him at one time or another. If you haven taken up His cause and not defended Him, I believe we have betrayed Him. If we have betrayed Him in this way, then He has forgiven you if you belong to Him.
Go out and forgive; don't hold it back. Jesus forgave, why can't we?