It's In His Eyes

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If ever there was a low point in Jesus’ life, it came that last night before His death. As if knowing what was about to happen wasn’t enough, the frailties of those closest to him added weight to an already overwhelming burden.

As He sits at the table to celebrate that last Passover supper, the gloom of the evening is made even gloomier by the atmosphere in the room. The disciples have heard their Master say that one of them will betray Him to the authorities. The very fact that they all would ask “Surely not I, Lord?” demonstrated their own insecurity about the strength of their commitment to Him.

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes, it is you.’” (Matthew 26:25).

What do you do with that? He knows that he knows that He knows.... What was in His eyes as Jesus gazed into the face of the man who now with a certainty must have felt naked before his Master? This is your chance, Judas, to confess what you’ve done, to beg forgiveness, to reveal the plan and warn Jesus away from the place of betrayal. Don’t you see the love and compassion in your Lord’s eyes?

Then there is Peter. No, his betrayal won’t be quite on the same scale as that of Judas, but it is still betrayal. Did the others hear the conversation between Judas and Jesus? If they did, they made no move to stop Judas. But it is almost as if Peter knew that someone else would betray the Lord so he could now breathe a sigh of relief and protest to the Lord that though all the others might leave His side, he, Peter, would never do it ( 26:34).

Not so, Peter.

They fell asleep while Jesus was praying in agony in the garden. They abandoned Him when the soldiers and priests came to arrest Him. Peter denied that he had ever even known the man.

All this recorded in one single chapter in Matthew—a horrible litany of failure.

In the telling of the stories of others we discover our own stories. These men were no different than we are—fragile, insecure, weak and sinful. Their failure, their betrayal, is no different than ours. We’d like to say that nothing that we ever did sent Jesus to the cross, but we can’t. It was our sin that took Him there, His Father’s glory that sent Him there, and His love for us that held Him there.

I can only have compassion for these men because I am no different. I can’t pretend to be superior because I’m not. I can understand their weakness because I too am weak. And like them, or at least most of them, I can only thank Him that after my failure there is forgiveness, after sin there is salvation, after disappointment, there is deliverance.

He still looks me in the face with eyes full of love and compassion.

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