Knee Jerk Devotional: December 10, 2020

Luke 22:1-13


Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

He consented.

Yesterday I wrote about subversive-gracious-love (yes, I created my own hyphenated word!). That kind of love always sounds so nice. You know, you sound all spiritual and wise when you talk about it. The problem with subversive-gracious-love is that it comes at a cost.

Subversive-gracious-love demands that you open yourself to others. When we do that we are opening ourselves to the possibility of pain and hurt. If we don’t practice subversive-gracious-love then we can protect ourselves from a world of pain, heartbreak, and grief.

A number of years ago I read something about how God “risked” in love. I really didn’t like the idea of that. It struck me as being false because God is sovereign. If God is sovereign then there’s no way that he could possibly risk because he was in control of all things at all times and in all ways. But, now that I’m a number of years down the road my understanding of who God is and how God works has matured. I'm beginning to understand that God in his sovereignty experiences risk through the second person of the Trinity, Christ. Jesus in his humanity fully experienced what we call, risk.

You can’t be betrayed if you don’t trust. Jesus trusted Judas as a brother. He risked in that relationship with a subversive-gracious-love and as a result experienced the pain of betrayal.

The heartbreak of Jesus was real.

The heartbreak of Judas was real.

They had opened their souls to one another and Judas’ greed tore their souls apart.

When we enter into the world with a subversive-gracious-love we will be hurt. Folks will take advantage of us. Folks will betray us.

The alternative is to enter into the world in a posture of self-protection to keep ourselves from feeling pain, hurt, and heartbreak.

The thing is, if we try to live that way the cure will be worse than the disease. If we are honest with ourselves we will see that we are wired for deep connection with others. There is something in us that demands that we build relationships with people.

Among my colleagues one of the key factors in moral failure is the lack of deep friendships. Many pastors wrongly believe that they must keep a relational distance from their congregation and leaders. This is false and untrue. In reality, the opposite is true. The deeper the connection, the deeper the relationship, the more closely knit pastor and congregation, the more likely the pastor will not fail morally.

This is risky to be sure. It means that pastors open themselves up for significant hurt from their congregation. But, let me tell you, it is worth it. The occasional wounds are worth the risks. My best friends are all part of our congregation. I can’t imagine going backwards to the way it was before. Where I looked for friends outside my congregation and trying to protect myself.

Subversive-gracious-love leads us toward the possibility of pain but it also leads us into an unimaginable joy.

The Knee Jerk Devotional Podcast

The #LoveWell Podcast

The YouTube edition: