8th July 2023
Read (Matthew 26v30-35,69-75)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
I had a friend in P7 who I sat beside every single day for a year. We were like peas in a pod who spent much of our time talking about Star Trek and drawing pictures of spaceships. Unfortunately towards the end of P7 my friend became the victim of some fairly vicious and sustained bullying. What did I do to help him? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I stood by and watched and remained quiet when I should have spoken up. He asked me one day why I never did anything to help him and I had no answer. Things were never the same between us and although I haven't seen him since 1990, I am still filled with regret over my inaction.
Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him but tragically, the Lord also knew that all of the other eleven disciples would scatter when the time came. Zechariah 13v7 would be fulfilled "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." Jesus would be raised to life and He would see His disciples once more (v32) but before that day He would be left alone to face the wrath of His opponents and the wickedness of the cross.
Peter was sure that he would never leave Jesus alone, telling the Lord “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” (v33) But Jesus was sure that before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny Jesus three times (v34). The apostle was unconvinced and he and his brothers all agreed that they would die before they would ever deny Jesus (v35).
How did it all pan out? Judas betrayed the Lord, the disciples scattered and although Peter followed Christ closely, when the time came he denied Christ three times. “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” (v69). No. “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” (v71). No! “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” (v73). NO! As Peter cursed himself and denied knowledge of Christ for a third time, the rooster crowed and Peter wept bitterly (v75).
I suspect all of us value loyalty in our friends and no doubt we like to think that someone will have our back when we need it most. But truth be told, at times it is easier to say nothing, it suits us to let a friend take the heat and we prefer to keep the head down for the sake of a quiet life.
Jesus was left alone but never treats us in the same way. Where is Jesus now? He is at the right hand of the Father and it is there that He is praying for His people. Hebrews 7v25 says "he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." When you believe that no one cares and no one has your best interests at heart, the Lord is interceding for you. You will often betray Him, you will often forget Him, you will often wander from Him. But thanks be to God for the grace of the Gospel! The One who was betrayed has truthfully said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13v5)
Q93 Which are the Sacraments of the New Testament? The Sacraments of the New Testament are Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.