I was reading the usual passage of Scripture for Holy Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread…”, when my eyes zoomed in on the word ‘betrayed’. Betrayal has to do with being unfaithful in guarding, maintaining or fulfilling the trust given, especially in times of need: it’s to deliver or expose someone to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty.
We find great comfort that, whenever we’re betrayed, we’ve a Saviour who can understand and identify with our pain, even as He was betrayed by His disciple Judas Iscariot, and even Simon Peter who denied Him three times. Yet, that day, in my time of searching my own heart, I found myself asking this question which we seldom ask, “Lord, have I betrayed You in any way?” While Judas and Simon Peter betrayed Jesus on the outward, we can inwardly betray Him in our hearts.
“How so?”, you may ask. Let me share with you.
We betray God…
1. When we behave like hypocrites.
William Shakespeare said in his play, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”. Very often, we see people having two separate lives – their ‘public’ and ‘private’ sides. But I believe the Lord wants us to live the ‘authentic’ life where the person you see on stage is the same one you see off stage. God desires ‘truth in the inward parts (heart)’ (Ps 51:6). Authenticity is who we are in Cornerstone. We don’t claim to have it all or know it all. We’re not after perfection, but progression. We are a ‘work-in-progress’. So, get real!
2. When we don’t ‘re-present’ Him correctly before people.
The sons of Aaron (Lev 10) and the sons of Eli (1 Sam 2) had no regard for God and did evil in His sight, and God eventually judged them. Before we point our fingers at them, sometimes knowingly or unknowingly, we could’ve twisted God’s Word for our own benefits, said things God didn’t say or adopted a compromised approach when making decisions that are inconsistent with His Word, attributes, and character. Do our actions and decisions reflect the fear of God in our lives?
3. When we treat His Word like a theory more than a testimony in the making.
Jesus said, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matt 7:20, NLT). You’ll know whether God’s Word is just a concept or theory in your head or a ‘living faith’ being worked out by your actions and decisions.
During this time of the COVID-19 outbreak, are you producing the fruit of faith and wisdom, or the fruit of fear and anxiety? Christians shouldn’t be involved in the recent panic buying and hoarding frenzy when the Ministry of Health (MOH) raised the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) risk assessment level from Yellow to Orange. How real is Jehovah Jireh to you? God didn’t save us from hell to let us die on earth. He’s preparing us for heaven while on earth!
As God’s people, we sometimes behave like ‘mere men’, which I’m guilty of. Our behaviour is nowhere near what God’s Word said of us: “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Pet 2:9, NLT)
4. When we start with “what we don’t have” instead of “what we have”.
In the story where Jesus fed the 5,000 men and their families (John 6:1-13), the disciples saw the great multitude and concluded that they didn’t have enough. A young boy saw Jesus and came forward with all he had – five loaves and two fish. It was more than enough and they ended up with 12 baskets full of leftovers. Interestingly, John 6:6 tells us that Jesus was testing the disciples and wanted to stretch their faith.
Like that young boy, sometimes all that God needs is already in your hands. You just need to surrender that to Him and watch Him multiply it. Jesus said even our tiny ‘mustard seed’ faith can move mountains. (Matt 17:20). He’s the great Miracle Worker after all.
Hence, the other reason the Holy Communion was instituted in the atmosphere of betrayal was because when we’ve betrayed Jesus in some of the ways mentioned above, we can repent and the Lord will restore and reinstate us. This is amazing grace!
Borrowing a statement which Pulitzer Prize winner Ms Laurie Garrett said recently of Singapore and the COVID-19 outbreak when she alluded that, if Singapore couldn’t contain the virus, there’d be no hope for the rest of the world because “we’ve got the best system in the world”. She added, “So now, they’re being put to the test.”
Similarly, the churches in Singapore (you and I) are also being put to the test. Will we shine with faith and wisdom? Or will we cower like those with no hope? Jesus said we’re the salt of the earth and the light of the world that cannot be hidden (Matt 5:13-15). The Church is God’s answer to the world. Let’s fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12) and continue to be a blessing to our community (Prov 11:25).
Ps. Kevin Koh