In Matthew 26:69 to 75 Peter denied Jesus Christ three times. He even swore an oath, twice, that he didn’t know him, and cursed at the last person who accused him of knowing Jesus! When Peter heard the cock crow he was reminded that Jesus had said, “’Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’” Peter then “went out and wept bitterly.”
The other disciples also betrayed Jesus. They fell asleep in the garden of Gethsemane. They ran away in fear from the temple guards who arrested Jesus. Imagine how much they must have despised themselves. The disciples must have been really worried about meeting the risen Christ. He would know what they had done. They would have expected Jesus to despise them as much as they despised themselves.
In John 20:19-29 Jesus appears among the disciples and the first thing he says is, “Peace be with you.” Then he tells them to forgive sins! The disciples tell Thomas about this but Thomas doesn’t believe it. Thomas was present when Jesus raised Lazarus, so why doesn’t he believe it? What was hard to believe was not that Jesus was alive, but that he was alive and NOT despising the disciples! Thomas must have thought the disciples were just imagining that they had seen the Lord so that they wouldn’t have to feel so badly about their betrayal: Jesus rose from the dead so it doesn’t matter that he was betrayed – everything is all right again. Thomas must have thought it can never be all right that Jesus was betrayed. In John 11:7 - 16 of all the twelve disciples, Thomas is the one who is willing to risk his life for Jesus.
Another miracle of the resurrection is that Jesus did not despise his betrayers, he loved them. He consoled them. He taught them to forgive others the way he had forgiven them. Jesus never despised anyone nor did he want anyone to despise themselves. Who are we despising? Is this poisoning our lives?
The Lexington Ministerial Alliance is coordinating these Minister’s Messages. Any pastor in the Alliance may submit an article. Please email your article to Rev. Linda O’Neal, the Alliance secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org