You Trust Jesus, But Can Jesus Trust You?

Luke 22

Most of the time when we focus on the final moments of Jesus' life, we tend to look most closely at his physical pain and we skim right over the relational pain that Jesus also had to endure.

Consider that one of Jesus’ friends and followers, Judas, betrayed his Savior for 30 pieces of silver. An even closer friend, Peter denied and abandoned his Savior. Satan deceived Judas about the nature of reality and who Jesus was and what the kingdom was all about. Judas went to the temple, he met with some of the leading high priests and the temple guards, and he set out an opportunity to betray Jesus for compensation - 30 pieces of silver. Judas gathered the temple guards and all the leaders and then led this crowd up to Jesus, walked up to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Jesus was then arrested and Peter followed at a distance.

In those days, wealthy people had homes that had a large inner courtyard that opened onto the street. And evidently, that's exactly what the high priest's house was like. While in the center of the courtyard, on a chilly evening, one of the guards lit a fire in the fire pit. Many of the people gathered around the fire to warm themselves. Among them was Peter. Three individuals asked Peter if he was one of Jesus' disciples and three times Peter denied knowing Jesus. At that moment, the rooster crowed and Peter remembered what Jesus had said - that he would deny even knowing Jesus. He runs out of the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

Why would two members of Jesus' inner circle betray and abandon him?

Neither Judas nor Peter started following Jesus with the intention that one day they would betray him to his enemies and abandon him in his time of greatest need.

Judas and Peter are a lot like us. Their fall into folly was not intentional or sudden. It was subconscious and gradual. What might have been the underlying motivation of Judas and Peter? The root of betrayal may have been in unmet expectations.

Now, there's been much speculation about the motives that were driving Judas, whether it was pure and simple greed. 30 pieces of silver was not like a major windfall.

Others have surmised that Judas was trying to force Jesus' hand to really become a political messiah and seek to overthrow Rome.

Well, here's the thing. Whatever it was at the core, it had to be the sense of an unmet expectation about Jesus and the payoff for following Jesus, whether it was political or financial, wasn't measuring up in Judas's mind. So he decided to cut his losses.

Now, for Peter, the route of abandonment is a failure of nerve. Peter had honorable intentions. In fact, when Jesus pulled him aside, he said, Jesus, if everybody else fails you, I'm willing to go to prison with you.

When you begin to look at both of them from a little bit more of a distance, here is what you learn. The emotional pain point of betrayal and abandonment is a broken trust. That's what was so difficult for Jesus. That's what caused his great emotional, relational pain. Betrayal is actively breaking trust. It is selling someone out. Judas, in that moment with intention and malice aforethought, gave Jesus up for 30 pieces of silver. At best, he was using Jesus. At worst, he was trying to harm him and to harm his mission.

Jesus was trusting Judas to be loyal, but in that moment, he became disloyal. He changed sides. He changed teams.

Abandonment, on the other hand, is passively breaking a trust. It is simply to let someone down. Peter let the fear of the moment get the best of him and Jesus was trusting him as his closest friend and associate to be with him, to support him, to stand beside him.

While we always talk about our personal trust in Jesus, we rarely, if ever, talk about how much Jesus is trusting us. And when we see how Judas and Peter broke trust with Jesus, we can begin to see how important it is that we understand that he also trusts us.

So what is Jesus trusting you with? He is trusting us with his mission. That is, he has given us the mission of helping other people become reconciled to the Father. He has given us the mission of encouraging others to become apprentices of his, to become his disciples. He has entrusted to us, the mission of caring for the poor, meeting the needs of the marginalized, to right the wrongs that we see and face in the world.

Each one of us has been given gifts and abilities by God so that we might accomplish the purpose for which we were born. We are called upon to lead forward and to anticipate what's next so that we can help reach more people in the next generation.

Jesus is also trusting us with resources. Your very life is a resource: your energy, your capital, your financial resources.

Jesus is trusting us with his reputation. If you identify as a follower of Jesus, when you go to work, when you take a walk in your neighborhood, when you are at play, people are watching you. And how you speak and how you behave will either increase or decrease the reputation of Jesus in the world.

Jesus is trusting you and I every day. What we say and how we believe is going to help people think more highly of God than they did before they met us. Jesus is trusting his reputation with each of us.

How are you doing? How are you doing right now with the things that Jesus has entrusted to you?

How distant or close you are to Jesus impacts how trustworthy you are or are not. That is, the greater the distance from which you follow Jesus, the less trustworthy you become.

Do you only occasionally pick up your Bible and seek God's wisdom? Do you only occasionally pray when you are really in big trouble? Do you only come to weekend worship to meet with others and worship God when it's convenient? If you do these things then you might be following Jesus at a distance, just like Peter was.

The less distance from which you follow Jesus, the more trustworthy you will become. That is, the closer you walk with Jesus every day, the more the presence of Christ in you is going to transform your motives and empower you to be trustworthy in even the most difficult of moments.

We all have had times when we have not been trustworthy and we have betrayed the cause of Christ. Some examples might be, not standing up for the Gospel when you should have.

How does Jesus respond when someone betrays him for another love, another idol, another priority, or abandons him because of a failure of nerve? How did Jesus respond to Judas and Peter? Jesus says, You are still welcome at my table. Jesus knew what Judas was going to do. He knew that Peter was going to deny him, and yet he still welcomed them at the Last Supper. And by welcoming them at the supper, he was implicitly saying, You are still welcome.

Have you had a Judas or Peter experience?  If you have, Jesus says to you, I still want you at my table.

Jesus goes and picks up a basin and a towel and takes on the role of the lowest servant and begins to wash the feet of every disciple there. Jesus humbled himself even to the point of washing the disciples feet. Jesus responds to Judas and Peter by saying, I will still wash your feet. To be humble means you have to be a person of some substance. To be humble literally means to lower yourself and to be willing to use your resources and who you are and what you have in the service and well-being of another. In this monumental ritual, Jesus says to every disciple, Judas and Peter included, I will humble myself and I offer you all of my resources, even my very life, for your well-being.

If you've ever betrayed Jesus for another love, Jesus will still wash your feet.

Finally, Jesus would say to Judas and Peter as well as to us: I will trust you again.

If you've ever had a failure of nerve or you betrayed Jesus in whatever way, He is looking at each one of us today and saying, I will trust you again.
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