“He went away and discussed with the chief priests and temple police how he could hand Him over to them.” (Luke 22:4)
“He went away.” What a sad statement! The one who went away was Judas Iscariot, of course, and his story we know well. We cannot comprehend it all because we cannot know all the dynamics involved, but we do understand the bottom line – he went away.
At the personal level, we all know people who “went away” from Jesus, maybe not so much in a Judas kind of betrayal, but more in a “relational drift” sort of way. The truth is: we may ourselves be among those who, at times, may have gone away from Jesus. Some who went away may be acquaintances. Some are close friends. Some are family members. We see folks move away from the Lord, and it pains us to watch it happen, especially when, in spite of our attempts to lead them back to the Lord, they intentionally just keep moving away. The creates a place of hurt in us, a place of sorrow and even mourning at times.
So, what can we do when something like this happens? For one thing, we have to accept the fact that God created all of us with the capacity for making choices. He gave us the freedom to decide. For another thing, we have to maintain our own commitments, our own walk with God, in the hope that something in our faithfulness to the Lord will speak to them somehow. Third, we have to pray for those who move away. Fourth, we never give up hope. We maintain the hope that the power of God’s redemption will continually work on their hearts and ultimately lead them to a change of heart that will lead them home.
Lord, We confess that we are not always very comfortable with an approach like this, especially when we feel like we should be “doing something.” But help us to just be faithful and to trust You to lead those we care about back to Yourself. Amen.