Ruling or Being Ruled

Message/Application:  In Luke 22 I was really focused on the relational parts of the story.  Jesus had 12 disciples that spent time with him throughout his ministry. Right off the bat we read that “Satan entered Judas Iscariot” and he immediately went to the scribes to discuss an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them. Several things came to my mind about this. Throughout the gospels we see that Judas handled the money for the group, and more than once his greed had risen up in his responses to situations. He had taken from the money bag at times and was unable to appreciate the generous sacrifice of the woman with the alabaster jar because he was blinded by his own greed and desire. When the time came to betray Jesus he was vulnerable to be used because his greed had already caused him to compromise his integrity in other situations as treasurer. He probably really did love Jesus, but since he was a slave to his greed, he was unable to resist the temptation when it came. We read about his sorrow later on when he realizes that the consequence of his participation was literally more than he bargained for and he returned the money and hung himself. Later on in the chapter, as the disciples argued over who would be the greatest among them and sit in places of honor, Jesus warned Peter that Satan had requested to “sift him like wheat” but he had prayed for him. Peter’s vulnerability was also exposed and just like Jesus had also predicted and Peter later denied him after proclaiming to be the most loyal of them all. I also took note of the disciples Jesus brought with him when it came time to prepare himself in prayer at Gethsemane. Jesus told them that because they had been with him through his trials, they would also be with him in his glory. Not an hour later he was so distressed in his praying that God sent an angel to “strengthen him.” I couldn’t help but wonder why an angel was needed when his loyal companions were with him, but they were literally sleeping during his time of need. It’s hard for us to comprehend being the “friends of Jesus” in the capacity that these disciples were. Jesus was God among them, but he was living out his suffering in flesh and he needed his crew. In spite of their lack, Jesus carried out his purpose. As I think at this I look at myself from a friend perspective. Jesus called us friends too and when we are a friend to those around us we are a friend to Jesus. I don’t want to be the friend that betrays because I have allowed a weakness to take ownership of my life. I don’t want to be the friend that sleeps when my friends are in distress, or promises loyalty, but runs when they are in trouble. I’m not making accusations against the disciples. I’m recognizing that we all have these weaknesses just like they did, and we have to be careful that we don’t allow these weaknesses to define our story.  We determine whether our weaknesses define us like Judas or like Peter by our decisions to allow them to rule us.

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