you are aware that all who are in asia turned away from me, among whom are phygelus and hermogenes. [2 timothy 1:15]
betrayal is one of the greatest losses a person can experience. the pain is great and the loss feels even greater. why? betrayal rarely digs deep into our soul unless we trust and care about the one betraying us. when this kind of betrayal happens – the loss is great. this letter to 2 timothy is full of people who betrayed paul. among whom are these two listed here in verse 15 of chapter 1: “phygelus and hermogenes.” it is hard to imagine the pain paul was feeling, … but let’s try this easter morning. i think it will be worth it in the end.
many believe, that by this point in this life, paul had been leading the growing Christian movement for some 30+ years. in 2 corinthians 11:24-28, paul describes years of his trials, sufferings, attacks, and betrayals. now at the end of his ministry and near the end of his life, he records this from a jail … “all who are in asia turned away from me, among who are phygelus and hermongenes.” you can feel the weight, the hurt, the years of pain in that statement, … the loss. what makes you press into Jesus and press on for Jesus when you have loss so much?
thursday night, the last night of Jesus’ life, he is betrayed by judas, one who had walked with him for 3 ½ years. he is abandoned by almost every disciples. and, peter, one of his closest denies him, betrays him as well. the next day when Jesus hung on the cross, he felt the pain of crucifixion, but as painful as the cross was the pain of all his betrayers. what made him press into God and press on for God after so much loss?
you will be betrayed in your life or you already have. (where’s the good news, it’s easter? hang on!) truth, betrayal happens to us all. AND, we will betray others. how do you press into Jesus and press on for Jesus when you feel the great loss of betrayal deep in your soul? back to Jesus …
as the Son of God hung on the cross, he cried out to his Father, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he wasn’t crying out for vengeance against those who had betrayed him. rather, he was bearing the sin, the betrayal, of all those who had betrayed him. he was carrying the weight of every betrayal against paul. he was carrying the weight of every betrayal against you. and, he was carrying the weight of every betrayal you will commit and every betrayal we all would commit against each other. AND, finally and maybe most importantly, he was carrying the weight of every betrayal we all would make against holy God. at the end of the day, all sin against holy God, all our sin against holy God can be summed up in one word – betrayal. and as he bore the weight of ALL that betrayal, his Father poured out his wrath against Jesus which led to Jesus’ cry, where are you? under the weight of his Father’s judgment – not roman nails – Jesus died. he was buried. and, he laid in the tomb friday and saturday. then, sunday morning came …
ladies on their way to a tomb, an earthquake, and then these eternity changing words from an angel to the ladies … “he is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” the tomb was empty! Jesus was risen from the dead! and everything about betrayal – one of the greatest losses a person can experience – changed that morning.
your betrayals against holy God are not held against you. rather, they were held against Jesus. forgiveness will always be ours in Christ. every betrayal against you, was not held against your betrayers. rather, they were held against Jesus. you cannot hold these against others anymore. forgiveness of others is always our call in Christ. (read that paragraph again!)
how did paul press into Jesus and on for Jesus in the midst of so much loss thru betrayal? first, he knew his only way to endure and find comfort in this kind of loss was by “pressing” into the presence of God. second, he knew every betrayal against him had been poured out on Jesus. by not forgiving other’s betrayal, he was denying that Jesus had suffered enough on the cross for the sin of others. third, he knew his own betrayal against God was enormous, yet he had been forgiven and even brought into God’s service. paul longed for others to know that God would forgive them for their betrayal. so, he pressed into Jesus and pressed on for Jesus because the resurrection had miraculously turned betrayal into a greater gain for paul – than loss. yes, the betrayals hurt. but even more, the resurrection made betrayal a place of gain, a place of celebrating the amazing grace of God! the resurrection made betrayal a place of gain, a place of declaring to others a God who can and will forgive all things because his Son gave up everything for us!
today, Jesus is alive! and, the resurrection, is freedom and greater gain than any loss, any loss you will suffer through betrayal! praise God, praise God! may this be our prayer today as we celebrate the power of our risen Savior.
Father, open my eyes! cause the scales of bitterness and hurt to fall off my eyes at the wondrous grace of Jesus who has consumed every betrayal – all those done to us and all those we have done! may i walk in freedom from vengeance and bitterness. may i press into Jesus and press on for Jesus so others can know our God receives and forgives betrayers like me. in Jesus name, amen!
~ john ryan