Summary: A look at Peter’s betrayal of Jesus and how Jesus brought forgiveness and restoration to Peter.
Mar. 28 – Jesus: The Betrayed
The year was 1779. He was a loyal patriot, a prosperous businessman, a natural leader and an obvious choice to be captain of the Connecticut State Militia.
He proved to be a good military leader. He joined Montgomery in the attack on Quebec. Other victories followed. He received much praise and acclaim, but when Congress created five new generalships he was passed over for political reasons.
It was only the urging of his good friend, General George Washington that kept him from resigning his commission. And though he stayed on in his role, he was never able to recover from this slight against him.
In time he would become commander of West Point. But still resentful and seeing an opportunity he made a deal with the British. He would deliver West Point into their hands. The price for his betrayal was 20,000 pounds sterling (1 million today). Half if he failed.
And fail, he did. His British contact was captured by the Americans, who then discovered the plot. He however, escaped aboard a British ship named the vulture.
Perhaps by now you’ve figured out who I’m talking about. And when Benedict Arnold made his betrayal, it not only struck at the heart of the American forces, but it struck even deeper at the heart of his close friend, George Washington.
History records that when General Washington learned of the Betrayal he at first showed no emotion. He sent Alexander Hamilton off with a detachment of soldiers to try to intercept Arnold. He ordered his staff to defend the fort.
And then taking only his confidant Lafayette with him, he left the room. And out of sight and earshot of others he finally vented his emotion. Lafayette said Washington threw his arms around Lafayette’s neck and began to weep. Lafayette said it was the only moment in the entire war when he witnessed Washington weeping.
Why did he weep? Because he had been betrayed. He had completely trusted a friend and that friend had failed him. And I’m sure that Arnold felt justified in selling out his country. He owed it to himself. If Congress wouldn’t put him on top, he’d have to get there by himself. People always have an excuse for their betrayal.
I’m sure Judas felt many of the same feelings during his betrayal. And Peter did likewise in his denials. And whether it was 20,000 pounds, or 30 pieces of silver or simply denying in order to live another day, it was the same focus on self that brought about the betrayal.
And betrayal always hurts.
Have you felt the emotions when someone does you wrong?
Let me give you some phrases to explain what were talking about this morning.
"I trusted him, and he had an affair."
"My mother-in-law has been trying to tear us apart for years."
"She used to be my friend, but then she spread gossip about me all over town."
"He lied about me and hurt my business."
"He promised to pay me back and never did."
And things like that happen in life. And if it’s not dealt with, the result is resentment. And we’re the ones who will bear the pain of it.
Proverbs 17:22 – “A joyful heart is good medicine (literal – causes good healing) but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
But people don’t understand – and they let themselves be consumed by resentment and a lack of forgiveness. You can cover it over, convince yourself it doesn’t matter, but still it hurts because we’ve never let go.
Fredriche Nietzsche was born in 1844. He was a philosopher who wrote a number of books. He was quite a character. In his autobiography he had chapters entitled, "Why I am so Wise" "Why I am so clever" and another chapter entitled, "Why I write such good books."
But for all his downfalls he did make one statement that I agree with, he said "Nothing on earth consumes a person like resentment."
And while I can’t control what people do, what they say, how they betray me. I can control my response, and my emotions, and my anger and my willingness to forgive and restore.
Someone said we’re most like beasts when we kill. We’re most like men when we judge. But we’re most like God when we forgive. And yet the question is how do I do it? When individuals in our lives do us wrong, how do we find the strength to forgive them?
Well let me tell you this morning that we’re not alone in looking for that answer. We’re not alone in feeling the sting of betrayal and facing those that need forgiven. Jesus had people like that in his life as well, and how he dealt with it can help us learn how to forgive and how to go on.