“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way…” Is. 53:6a
What comes to mind when you think about betrayal? My guess is it has something to do with someone betraying you. Perhaps a friend caused you pain by violating a trust or maybe someone broke your heart and was unfaithful. How often, however, do you think about betraying Jesus?
Betrayal is defined many ways but one definition is simply “to fail.” Another definition of betrayal is to “violate by unfaithfulness.” Don’t we betray Jesus when we fail to trust Him when He allows hard circumstances that we can’t understand? Don’t we betray Jesus when we decide to go our own way and choose sin over Him? Don’t we betray Jesus when we count the cost of following Him and then decide it’s too hard? We betray Jesus when we go against his plan, his law and his revealed will in Scripture. Every time we choose to walk independently and go our own way, we deny Him. Sadly, we do it all the time.
In the Bible, we read about two men, both disciples, who chose to betray Jesus– Judas and Peter. The difference between how they handle their individual situations is profound. Judas dealt with his betrayal by trying to fix things himself. He turned inward and, overwhelmed by his own rebellious and darkened heart, determined there was only one way to cover over his sin. This led to despair and ultimately to his death. Peter also grieved his bad decision. He wept bitterly over his denial of Jesus; however, the amazing thing about Peter is that the next time we see him mentioned in Scripture, he is at the empty tomb searching for His Savior (Jn 20:6). Shortly after that, he sees Jesus while fishing and jumps out of his boat rushing to meet Him on the shore. (Jn. 21:7)
Scripture tells us that Jesus knew in advance that both men would betray Him. Jesus, being fully omniscient, knows also that we will turn from Him at times. It is a wonderful assurance to know that the Cross covers these sins too. He promises that He will forgive and restore us when we confess that we have turned from Him and gone our own way (1Jn. 1:9). He rejoices when we repent and turn back to Him much like the father of the prodigal son rejoiced when his wayward son, after squandering his wealth and recognizing his miserable state, realized that there was no true life to be found in the world and returned home (Lk 15:11-32).
God’s Word tells us that nothing- NOTHING- can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39). He will always give us an opportunity to turn back to Him. It is never too late. Even the angels rejoice when a sinner turns back to God (Lk 15:10). Can you imagine the party in heaven when one rebellious sinner runs back into the arms of Jesus?
Sweet friend, let’s not wait a minute when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin. Run back into the arms of Jesus. He longs to restore you, love you and show you that it is his kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). And let’s run with confidence and assurance that we will be welcomed back to learn once more that there is no life to be found outside of Him.