“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15,16).”
Who would have thought it? Benedict Arnold was a patriot, wounded twice during battles to help free his country from British tyranny during the American revolution. Yet he is mostly known for betraying his country by attempting to hand West Point over to the British for a large sum of money. He didn’t succeed.
But why wasn’t Benedict Arnold discovered? The signs were there. Arnold was brought up on misconduct charges as military commander of Philadephia and court-martialed. However, he was cleared. So friends such as George Washington still were not suspicous. But surely his wife knew? It didn’t matter. According to Cokie Roberts in the book Founding Mothers Peggy Shippen Arnold was in on the betrayal. The signs were there with her, too. She came from a family with British sympathies. She helped deliver correspondence to and from the British, and apparently had rich tastes. And when her husband was discovered, she did such a great job of acting distraught over the betrayal that founding fathers such as Alexander Hamilton were convinced she had nothing to do with it.
So the other patriots never caught on. Benedict Arnold sold out, embittered by his treatment from his fellow Americans and seeking to enrich himself for his wife’s sake. His name has become an epithet in America for anyone who is a traitor.
Another famous name in history used to characterize a disloyal person today is Judas, surnamed Iscariot. As is well known, Judas sold Jesus Christ out to Jewish leaders who wanted to kill Him. Judas was one of Jesus’s closest confidantes. He was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and even had the responsibility of taking care of the group’s finances. Judas participated in the Last Supper, and took communion with Jesus and the other disciples (Luke 22). But, the only one who knew of Judas’s impending betrayal of Jesus was Jesus himself.
However, the signs were there with Judas, also. Earlier he had complained about the symbolic anointing of Jesus with expensive perfume, asking why it wasn’t sold and given to the poor. The disciples should have known. After all, they were around him for several years. But they were too self absorbed. When told by Jesus during the Last Supper that one them would turn him over to the Jews, they could only question whether or not they themselves were the culprit and discuss who was the greatest among them. They even fell asleep during Jesus’s agonizing prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus went to the Cross without his friends. Ultimately, like Benedict Arnold Judas didn’t succeed either, as Jesus rose from the dead.
As one of my old bosses used to say, what can we learn from this?
1)With friends like these, Jesus could have easily felt duped and ended up in the pit of despair. But he perservered and fulfilled His purpose despite His faulty friends. So can we.
2)Not only did Jesus persevere Himself, but He also hung in there with His traitorous pals . (From the cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”) Eventually, all the disciples but Judas were anointed with the Holy Spirit, became changed people and were used to build His kingdom. We can pray for the people who betray us, asking that God would bring them into a Spirit-filled relationship with Christ.
3) If we are believers in Christ, we also have the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to be self absorbed like the disciples were while Jesus was with them. He can help us discern when we are dealing with people who are not looking out for our best interests, or those of Jesus, and teach us to deal with them.
Jesus surely knows what we are going through when we feel betrayed and deserted by people we trust. And He can give us the grace to keep on going with ourselves and others.
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