Encouragement Note for Feb. 2018, by Christopher Underwood
Two men with knowledge and the benefit of knowing Jesus Christ show us the power of mercy from the Lord if we choose to accept it.
Number 1: He had been angry enough to cut an ear off a man, scared enough to leave Jesus to face an angry mob, frightened enough to deny that he knew the Son of God, cursing loudly and profusely to convince everyone he was not a follower of the Lord. He was full of sorrow to see the face of the Lord, possibly embarrassed that he had gone to such extent to prove he was nothing like Jesus. He was miserable and crying with knowledge that his courage to be put along the side of the Lord had failed him – if only he had said “If you kill him, you have to kill me too” like he had said he would do before.
Number 2: He was unhappy that oil was wasted on anointing Jesus instead of being sold and the money given to poor (his own pocket). Jesus rebuked him for his thoughts and instead said that what this woman had done would be forever remembered more than giving money, savings, or carrying a heavy bag of funds. He went in anger or frustration or embarrassment to get more money, his money, paid in advance – he definitely did not want C.O.D., and to get revenge on being called out for what he was. He himself was pointed out as the one who would betray Jesus after asking “Who me?” He left and completed his mission, showing his true nature with a kiss of betrayal. In an act of sorrow he threw the money back at the conspirators leaving in misery and in likely tears for the innocent blood that had been taken prisoner. He was miserable and crying with knowledge that his courage to stop the betrayal had failed him – if only he had said “He is not here”.
One man hung around until Jesus arose and was able to live with the shame, embarrassment, fear, and disgust at himself because of the mercy of the Lord to overcome the past. He did find company with others who had abandoned Jesus. He was able to share with others in their failures.
One man hung himself not able to live with the shame, embarrassment, fear, and disgust at himself with apparently no faith in the mercy of the Lord to overcome the past. He apparently found no company with others who had abandoned Jesus. He was alone.
Each could have been more proactive in delaying the crucifixion of the Son of God, though impossible to prevent. We all know in the end the Son of God would be abandoned by all to face death. Some just were prominent than others as the scriptures record their acts.
Each had the opportunity to take a moment and realize that innocent blood was about to be shed and to die by the side of the Son of God.
One had the feeling of worldly sorrow that led to death and eliminated the opportunity to repent and change to a life of obedience.
One held on through his failure and was transformed into a messenger of the Lord.
Think about the choices you and I must make to receive mercy from the God who is not willing that any should perish if we change and live according to God’s commands. (2 Peter 3:9)
No matter how deep a hole we may have dug ourselves into a life of sin, while there is life there can be change and acceptance of the redemption of the Lord.
Chances are you and I have felt at least once or twice in our lives that our individual sins have been so intentional it is impossible for the creator of all things to have mercy on our individual soul. Judas did understand it. Peter ultimately did.
We must remind ourselves that it is a gift of God to be saved from sin. (Ephesians 2:8)
The gift of mercy is available now on this side of life. It is a free will choice to accept it or reject it.
Choose today to be grateful for the mercy of the Lord and stay close to his word, and the joy of worshipping with others. The mercy of God guides faithful and obedient followers of Jesus Christ to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, pray with those who pray so we will never be alone.
Have a great day