Beware the Ides of March

    Mar 15, 2024 | by Anthony Wade

    Okay, I’ll admit the title for today was meant to see if you paid attention in your tenth-grade English class. My friends and I may have been the ones who tried to get the teacher off topic during those lectures on Shakespeare. Oh, what fond memories. But, in all seriousness, although I didn’t really click with many of the literary classics, I did enjoy Julius Caesar. Perhaps it was the hint of war, greed, political power struggle, strategy, and even an assassination. All fascinating plot twists to a fifteen-year-old boy. But the most famous component of Julius Caesar’s storyline is betrayal. I’m not totally sure why that might be. Maybe because betrayal is scintillating. It’s provocative. In its own weird way, it’s exciting and oddly enticing. It’s get-your-popcorn-out-and-enjoy-the-show entertainment.


    But, more than all those things combined, it’s familiar. That’s right, everyone understands betrayal. We have each gone through the pain of being hurt by someone we love. And, as strange as this may sound, reading about Julius Caesar being betrayed and stabbed by dozens of Roman senators is easy to digest because, at least it’s not me getting hurt again. As a sophomore in high school, I thought I understood betrayal; but all these years later, a tear comes to my eye as I think of Caesar looking into the eyes of his friend, Brutus, and saying, “Et tu, Brute?”


    As a pastor, I not only understand betrayal from a personal side, but also from a ministerial side. I could tell you dozens of stories, but they’re not important right now. What is important is recognizing how to deal with that betrayal from a Kingdom perspective. To do so, I can think of no better example than our Lord Jesus. After all, He was betrayed by someone closer to Him than Brutus was to Julius Caesar. Jesus poured into Judas for around three years. He trusted him with a massive amount of responsibility as He handed the money bag over to him. Judas was in an elite, highly exclusive group of only twelve men who received unprecedented mentorship and discipleship from the greatest man in the history of the world. And how did Judas repay Jesus for this amazing opportunity? He sold His life for thirty pieces of silver.


    So, how did Jesus deal with Judas? Did He plot ways to outsmart him or get even? Nope. He washed his feet. You can see it all unfold in John 13:1-17. As they finished the Lord’s Supper, Jesus stood up from the table, knelt, and washed all the disciples’ feet. Not just the good and faithful ones. All of them. Jesus lowered Himself in humility so He could soar far above His betrayer. And as He was washing their feet, He subtly called out Judas in verses 10-11 as if to say, “I’m doing this on purpose.” Judas didn’t deserve this, yet Jesus washed his feet with the others and then said that we should do the same (verses 14-17).


    This may seem outrageous, but Jesus was only practicing what He preached. In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus tells us to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven.” You may be wondering what these have to do with being sons of God. Well, Jesus says that it’s because God provides sunshine and sends rain to those who are righteous as well as those who aren’t. To a society who needed crops to grow so they could eat, this was huge! Jesus was saying that God provides these things for those who don’t deserve it just like He does for those who do. When we also give from a heart of compassion, we properly represent our Heavenly Father and reveal our spiritual DNA to the world.


    Looking back, it’s truly remarkable that God would take a boy who despised literature as much as I did and turn him into a writer. He sure does have a sense of humor! But, even more remarkable is that God would take that same selfish boy and turn him into a child of God who loves people with God’s very own love. If you’re a believer, that’s His plan for your life, too. Yield to it today and soar!


    Pastor Anthony

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