March 26, 2020

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priest and said, “What will you give me if I betray him (Jesus) to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. Matthew 26:14

Peter said to him (Jesus), “Though all become deserters, I will never desert you.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” Matthew 26:33-35

We have learned from the very beginning of our walk in Christianity that we must forgive those who wrong us. For me, that is one of the challenges of life. It is not so difficult to forgive your enemies for hurting you, because that is what you expect of them, but how do you forgive a friend who deceives you or your family?

The answer comes from the example that Jesus set for us on the darkest day on earth. Following the Lord’s Supper, a crowd approached Jesus, and in the center of the throng was Judas, the disciple. Judas ran up to Jesus and kissed him as though he were glad to see him. This was a signal to the throng that he was kissing Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus asked Judas if he betrayed the son of God with a kiss just as he had prophesied. The band of men led Jesus away to the high priest while the disciples scattered and left their Master alone with his enemies. Judas had led the enemy to our Lord.

Shortly afterwards, at the home of the chief priest, Jesus stood bound and alone, while Peter, another disciple, was in the courtyard, warming himself by the fire. A woman said to Peter, “You were one of those men with Jesus of Nazareth,” but Peter denied it by saying that he did not know what she was talking about. Another serving woman asked Peter If he was a follower of Jesus, and he swore an oath and denied it. When a man, the third person, accused Peter of surely being one of the disciples, because his speech was that of one from Galilee, Peter began to swear again. As they led Jesus away, he passed Peter, and Peter was reminded of what had been said, “Before the cock crows tomorrow morning, you will three times deny that you have ever known me.”

Jesus forgave his disciple Judas and his dear friend and disciple, Simon Peter, for their weakness even though their sins helped the enemies to take our Lord to the cross. There is no better example of forgiveness for us to follow.

Heavenly Father, as we prepare for the days preceding Easter, we are reminded of the physical and emotional pain and suffering that Christ endured. We know that we must follow his example by forgiving our friends as well as our enemies of those actions that are against us and our kin. Amen

Sally Dover

About the Contributor:
Sally Dover is a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg, and has served as Elder, Clerk of Session, Deacon, and is currently Chair of Worship. She is married with two children and two grandchildren. Sally retired as Director of Gifted Education in Spartanburg District Six and is currently an adjunct professor in Converse College Graduate Studies.