Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Wrong People, Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Thing

“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  James 4:4

I have seen so many rational people who know better do the most insane things imaginable under the power of sin, thinking that they can handle it; of course they never do.  When you hang out with the wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time, then it is only a matter of time until you do the wrong thing.   Consider Peter and Judas.  

Peter, after Jesus has been betrayed, followed at a distance; he was trying to blend into the woodwork.  Hours earlier he had declared that He would never deny Christ, yet we find in Matthew 26:58 that he had been following Jesus at a distance and became cold, so he was attracted to the warmth of the enemy's fire.  At this point, Peter was worn down, defeated, weak, and vulnerable. Why was he even in the high priest's courtyard? "he went in and sat with the servants to see the end." Peter had forgotten all that Jesus had said about His resurrection from the dead. Now he was just waiting for the end—the end of Jesus' life . . . the end of his dream . . . the end of everything he held dear.  But it was not the end.  It would be a new beginning.

Judas has made the decision to betray Christ, and in John 18 the betrayal is carried out, it must have looked something like this.  A small army was marching toward Jesus. Swords and spears and shields and torches moved toward Him in the dark as a mass of people came to arrest Him. They were in a frenzy, spurred on by their mob mentality: Yeah, let's get Him! Who are we getting again? You know how mobs are, they kind of play off each other; they don't even know what they are protesting. They get caught up in the emotion of the moment.  That is probably what was happening as the mob closed in on Jesus. However just to show that Jesus was not a helpless victim, but a powerful victor, He stood up and said, "Who are you looking for?"  "Jesus the Nazarene," they told Him.  So He said to them, "I am He." And at those words, all of the people who had been pressing in so close to each other "drew back and fell to the ground!”.  Have you ever played dominoes?  That is probably what it was like as this crowd flattened out.  This would have been a good moment for Judas to reconsider his decision to betray Jesus.  But Judas apparently could not wait to do what he was about to do. 

Here was Peter and Judas’ problem: they were both in the wrong place with the wrong people, about to do the wrong thing. And when that passion in our heart begins to die, the fire we had for Christ will grow cold, and we will look elsewhere for warmth.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1–3

Old saying get to be old sayings because they are the truth, and this is one of the oldest - When you hang out with the wrong people at the wrong place at the wrong time, then it is only a matter of time until you do the wrong thing.  The difference between Peter and Judas?  One wept bitterly which lead him to repentance and the other bitterly and blindly followed his course to hell.   Which are you?

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