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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 228 - Would Be Better

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Mark 14:20,21

It’s one thing when there’s a tragedy involving death and destruction on the other side of the world. But it’s another when it’s just down the street. Or in your house. It’s one thing when COVID infection rates are rising in another continent. But it’s something altogether different when it’s in your family. It’s one thing to talk about the rising suicide rates that are in that nameless universe known as “out there.” And then it’s completely different when it’s a close family member.

That’s the feeling behind what’s going on here. Yes, there are traitors out there. Somewhere. And they are betraying people we don’t know. What’s the big deal? It doesn’t impact us.

But this is altogether different. This traitor isn’t just one of his many followers. No, it’s someone from within his closest inner circle. It’s someone who’s been with Jesus for at least three years. They’ve seen Jesus up close and personal.

This “one of the Twelve” heard Jesus speak like no one else in all of human history. They personally witnessed Jesus perform great acts of power, mercy and healing. They saw Jesus raise people from the dead.

They’d seen it all. Heard it all. Experienced it all. And no matter what they had personally witnessed with their own eyes and ears about Jesus, it wasn’t enough to convince him.

This traitor’s not just sitting in the last row of the auditorium where they can’t really see what’s going on. They weren’t at the back table in some huge banquet hall. This traitor is close enough that they can dip their food in a bowl at the same time with Jesus.

It would be like we’re eating tacos with chips and salsa. Two people are so close that they dip their chips in the salsa together at the same time. The salsa doesn’t need to be passed. It’s right there between them.

It’s one thing when the traitor is just someone else. It’s another when the traitor is someone you went to school with. Maybe it’s someone at your company. But when it’s the person in the cubicle next door, that’s different. When it’s someone who you’ve worked long and hard with, gone on several business trips together, that cuts deep.

The person sitting that close to you at a meal is supposed to be a friend. Someone you trust. A companion with the highest and closest possible relationship.

Perhaps this is why Jesus says that it would have been better if this person, this friend, had never been born. This isn’t the unfeeling decision of some independent, unconnected judge from behind a high bench. No, this is the cry of misery and grief for that traitor.

Even now, Jesus’ heart breaks for this close friend. The consequences are severe. The fruit from this betrayal will be bitter for everyone.

  • The disciples will scatter.

  • Peter will deny Jesus.

  • The traitor, heavy with guilt, will hang himself.

  • Jesus is arrested, tortured, crucified.

Perhaps you sometimes look back on your life and wonder if it would have been better not to have been born. You wonder what your scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life” would be like[1]. How many lives would be significantly impacted and changed if only you had chosen differently?

If you think like this, I have two things to say.

  • First – you can’t change the past. To be stuck in sorrow and guilt doesn’t change anything from the past. It’s doesn’t pay your forgiveness debt. Jesus accepted you right where you were. Right where you are. And even right where you will be. He paid the price knowing all along about your failures.

  • Second – you’ll never know it all. You’ll never fully know how your life was used by God to impact the lives of the people around you. Don’t hold onto what you see, but by faith, hold onto God to use your life.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

What could be better than to be confident in Him to use even our weak, frail, broken, and bruised life for his glory and the good of people? He’s not limited by our limitations. Just look at all the “heroes” of the Bible. Everyone of them is a broken and bruised failure, except Jesus.

This also means that he’s not done with you yet. If you’re drawing a breath as you read these words, then God has a future plan for you to be actively and positively engaged in the lives of those around you. Anyone is within the reach of God.

Now that’s a pretty big audience. What could be better?


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