May 15, 2018

Understanding the Times

Acts 1:15-20

The Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus.

—  Acts 1:16

How do we understand the actions of Judas, who betrayed Jesus? In many ways, our answer needs to be that we simply do not know. God is the only one who sees the human heart.

As the believers gather for prayer, Peter is prompted to speak. He places the story of Judas within the context of Scripture. Peter puts history under the arc of promise and fulfillment and even places what seems so contrary to God’s plan as an event that is still within God’s ultimate purposes.

I don’t know how you think about not only Judas’s life but also your own life. Each of us has chapters of our lives that we wish were different. We all have regrets for some of the things we have done, and we may still live under clouds of disappointment. We may even find it ­ironic that Peter, who denied Jesus three times, just as the Lord had predicted, is the one who now stands and speaks. But maybe it has to be Peter.

Peter is the one who denied his Lord even though he swore that would never happen. We can see a picture of grace here as we watch Peter stand and state that this chapter of the believers’ life together with Jesus was not outside the plan of God. We may not understand it. We may even still question it, but we can also have the hope that God has a plan for each of us.

Lord of all, we are people with regrets, doubts, and disappointments. We pray for your forgiveness and grace. Thank you for providing new chapters of life for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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