Embraced in our Brokenness
Written by: Kari Sletten
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And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.”
- Matthew 26:21-23 (ESV)
Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” - Matthew 26:31-32 (ESV)
Denial. It comes in many forms, and that is made clear in Matthew 26. In this passage, we are witnessing the disciples quite literally deny Jesus, the very One who will rise from the dead to pay the debt for their sins. It seems unthinkable, that those who followed Him so fervently would simply deny Him in His most desolate hour. But that is exactly what happens.
I can’t help but wonder, why did they run? Why would they leave their Lord in this hour of trepidation? Aren’t times like these the very moments we should be running towards God? From what I have seen, it all comes back to denial.
The disciples didn’t want to believe that their time with Jesus was coming to an end on Earth. They didn’t want to believe that any of them would turn away from Jesus, knowing all that He had done for them. They didn’t want to believe that they were capable of such deep and utter denial, and yet they were. Yet in verse 56, the Bible tells us that “all the disciples deserted him and fled.” It is utterly heartbreaking. Before that, Judas struck a deal with the chief priests, and from then on sought a moment to betray Him. He found that moment in Matthew 26:47-50 (ESV).
“While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.’ And he came up to Jesus at once and said ‘Greetings Rabbi!’ And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.” - Matthew 26:47-50 ESV
Jesus saw this denial and betrayal coming, so when it came, He knew that it was the will of His Father in heaven. He knew that His time had come, and that His blood was to be shed to save the people of this world from their sins. He chose to lay His life down for the people He loved so dearly, and He did it willingly.
Despite our greatest denial, Jesus still chooses us. He will always choose us. He chose to give His life so that we might prosper. To die so that we might live. He knew that we would betray Him, and He chose to remain faithful to us regardless.
While praying through this passage, God has asked a single question of me, and now I will ask it of you. Of all the trials and tribulations this world has to offer, how could any be so great to cause us to deny Jesus?
Jesus shed his life so that we may have a steadfast home in His love. No trials are too great for Him. He has seen it all, and He has conquered it all. Our denial, big or small, is not foreign to Him, and even when we deny Him, He is waiting with open arms to embrace each and every piece of our broken hearts. In Him alone can our broken souls be made whole again.
1. When have you denied God in your life? Did it turn out the way you thought it would?
2. When have you been tempted to deny God, and yet found your solace in His grace? How did that feel?
3. What can you do to remind yourself that no matter the season, you can run to God with all of your fears and doubts?
Almighty God, thank You that You are a God who stays. Thank You that even when we turn away, You pursue us. You are always fighting for us to choose You. We know that we fall short in many ways, one of which can be running from You when we should be running towards You. God, we pray for Your grace in these times. We pray that You remind us that our only true refuge can be found in You and Your love. We pray all of this in the name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.
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