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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

So Close, But So Far

Feb. 9, 2014

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Mark 14:20,21, NIV)

Jesus is in the upper room with His disciples for the Passover meal. It would be the last night in His pre-resurrection body. The mood around the table had to be one of foreboding and tenseness.

The Twelve are not seated at dinner as we would today, or as Leonardo da Vinci pictured them in the most famous painting of the event. Rather, they are reclining — most likely in a rectangular arrangement rather than in da Vinci’s single row all “facing the camera.”

When Jesus says that one would betray Him, the betrayer was sitting close enough to Jesus so he and Jesus could dip bread together into the bowl. We know from John, the beloved disciple who never names himself in his Gospel, that John was sitting at Jesus’ right hand because he is reclining against Jesus (John 13:23). How do we arrive at that placement?

The normal custom involved eating with the right hand. In order for John’s right hand to be free, he would be reclining against his left side — thus, he is on Jesus’ right side. A fair conclusion, therefore, is that Judas is at Jesus’ left, with Jesus reclining toward Judas. They can dip the bread together.

Judas is physically close but so far away in his relationship to Jesus. He’s not the last to keep up appearances. Could it be that even today a person can attend church, be deeply involved in its activities, even by a leader, but have a heart far away from Jesus? The seating arrangement at the Last Supper tells us Jesus still may have held out hope. The place of nearness is given to draw us spiritually close. We choose the distance between ourselves and Jesus; His desire is only to be near.

Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man. No one in the Gospels ever calls Him that. It’s His self-designation and is a concept much like those used in His parables — revealing truth or concealing it. The title seems to indicate Jesus’ humanity; but, to the spiritually discerning, it is the term from Daniel describing the Son of Man who was “given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13,14).

The One who has been given all dominion — who has all power — that One is betrayed by a mortal human being. It’s one thing to betray another person; it is quite another matter to betray the One to whom, ultimately, the entire world will bow down and worship.

No wonder Jesus says, “It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

That’s not only a word about Judas. It’s a sentence describing every person who refuses Jesus entry into his or her heart and life. Measured from eternity, rejection of Jesus in this life is the single worst decision an individual can make. Hell is filled with great regret and the incessant repetition of the words, “If only ... ”

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I pray You will never say of me that it would be better if I had not been born. Help me to stay true to You.



DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


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