Like most of you, I’m trying to process all that has transpired in our nation. Things certainly haven’t gone the way most of us thought or prayed has it?
My husband, Kevin said to me recently, “I think we have gotten a glimpse of what the disciples must have felt after Jesus was crucified. They were so certain it was going to go a different direction.”
In many respects Trump was crucified (no we are not comparing him to Jesus) and now in the wake of what appears to be the death of America, many of us are in stunned grief. It appears evil won, as I’m sure it felt to the disciples back then. It feels as if the return to righteousness and revival for which we prayed and which seemed so close, has disappeared. It appears we are moving back into slavery/Egypt. And sadly, some want to go there.
But, for those who will believe, we will see the glory of God.
For the last four years we have watched President Trump endure a host of betrayals, but none as severe as in the last week by those closest to him. The apparent betrayal by Vice-President Pence and members of Congress who said they would contest the electoral vote, but then didn’t.
Perhaps you’ve experienced recent betrayals of late as well. I believe it is because that spirit has been unleashed. Let me encourage you though, betrayal precedes vindication, and resurrection.
Jesus experienced betrayal from two who sat with him at the communion table. One who betrayed and one who denied Him. Yet the result would have felt the same.
However, the two were very different. Judas, who later regretted his actions and refused forgiveness and Peter who regretted his actions and was restored to relationship.
I believe in coming days we will see both responses.
As I studied betrayal this week, the Holy Spirit instructed me to turn to John 11 & 12. Once I turned there, it made complete sense. It is the story of Lazarus followed by Jesus’ betrayal. Interesting that they are back-to-back in the Bible.
I can imagine what Mary and Martha must have felt with the death of their brother knowing God could have stopped it, but didn’t. And Jesus intentionally didn’t, but they don’t know that. Both sisters approached Him when he belatedly showed up. But their hearts were at very different places.
Martha, who must have been Type A, walked straight up to him in what seems almost confrontational as she said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You may ask of God, God will give You” (Jn 11:20-21).
Jesus told her directly, “Your brother will rise again.” Yet she didn’t believe that He meant right then! She couldn’t hear or believe because she was angry, hurt, offended. The way most of us feel right now.
Let’s cut to his disciple Thomas. He did what many believers do and tried to reason out the situation using his natural mind, “Then Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us go also, that we may die with Him.” (Jn. 11:16).
Thomas completely missed the point. Martha missed the point.
What was the point? It is found in verse 40, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Finally, Mary arrived. “When Mary came to where Jesus was, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” It was the exact same thing Martha had said, but in a very different manner. It is all about the heart.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
And Jesus wept. (John 11:32-35).
Mary’s response should be ours in this troubling hour that feels like the death of America. On our knees in grief, humility and respect before Jesus.
What moved Him then? Confrontation? Natural reasoning? Or compassionate grief and love?
Immediately following the miracle of Lazarus, the spirit of betrayal was released, via pride and jealousy. The Pharisees were afraid the miracle would explode Jesus’ popularity further and determined to kill Jesus. However, they needed a betrayer.
We are in a season of betrayals and betrayers. We should beware that we don’t find ourselves unwittingly on the wrong side of the equation.
Betrayal most often stems from the basic roots of pride, greed and the need for self-importance.
Judas’ betrayal contained all three, but Peter’s did not. His was a denial from self-preservation and fear, yet it was still a betrayal as he stabbed Jesus in the back unwilling to stand strong in the face of possible persecution.
As we face ongoing and perhaps greater persecution in the days to come, who will you choose to be?
Challenging, angry Martha? Fearful, self-preservationist Peter? Greedy, jealous, Judas? Or grief-stricken, Mary with a humble heart who knelt before the Lord? We will each be confronted with that decision now or one day soon.
America has been encouraged to take on the same communist characteristics of China in which neighbor is encouraged to report on neighbor and brother against brother. Don’t fall into that trap. People who want to rise to a position of importance, will betray those they once called “friend” and in their deceived minds they will believe they are doing God’s will.
However, betrayal comes from a murderous spirit. It is never from God. It is wrapped in deception, and the nature of deception is when we are in it, we don’t recognize it. That is the danger of this age.
NOTE: I go into deeper explanation of the progression of this spirit and how it can deceive even the elect in my book, “INFECTED: How to Stand Against the Global Spread of Rage, Deception and Insanity.”)
Is there good news? Yes, because betrayal is often followed by vindication and resurrection.
Truth exposes lies. Light exposes darkness. What happens in between is the clash. This is where we are at today.
Do not be sucked into the accusations, finger-pointing, and hate-filled rhetoric that is sure to fill the air this week in some form or fashion. Do not become a judge filled with pride.
Instead let us be wise. Let us be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving each other as Christ forgave you. Let us remain resolute in determination to keep our eyes on Him.
May we be Mary’s today. It looks as if Lazarus is dead. We know Jesus could have intervened. We don’t understand the delay. We have to be willing to lay that at His feet and approach Him in humility and grief to say, “We trust You.”
Because in the end, I believe it is about the same end result then and now, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Lord, we come to you in the same spirit Mary approached you. We know that you are able, you could have already intervened and we don’t understand. But our eyes and our hope remain on You. Your Word says that, “he that endures unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mt 24:13). For in the time of trouble He said You would hide us in His pavilion and the shelter of Your tabernacle. Your promise was that You would set us up on a rock. You are our Rock. That You would lift up our heads above our enemies who are encircling us. And that our response as we wait on You is to offer sacrifices of joy in Your tabernacle. So Lord in this tension we will sing. Yes, we will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when we cry with our voice! Be gracious to us and answer us. You have instructed us to seek Your face and our hearts reply to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Ps 27:5-8).