Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
(The Mediterranean Sea, from Caesarea, Israel)
I am reading the NLT and get to John 14:12 - "Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." I then read the explanatory footnote for this verse, which reads: "Jesus is not saying that the disciples would do greater works - after all, raising the dead is about as amazing as you can get. Rather, the disciples, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, would carry the Good News of God's Kingdom out of Palestine and into the whole world."
Wow! My thoughts include:
1. Jesus is saying: We will do the same works he has done. Which means, we should expect to see miracles, signs, wonders, deliverances, etc.
2. Jesus is saying: We will do "even greater works." Amazingly (but I think I know why), the NLT commentary directly contradicts what Jesus clearly says. This is the evangelical reductionism I learned in my early years as a Jesus-follower and have broken free from, thanks to studying the biblical texts.
*Eisegesis - to read into the text something that is not there, such as one's own ideas.
(Green Lake, Wisconsin)
I am taking time this morning to again read John chapters 14-17. In these great chapters Jesus instructs and counsels his disciples about kingdom-living after he leaves them. I invite you to join me in this. Use John chs 14-17 in your devotional time. Saturate yourself in these scriptures.
When God speaks to you, write down what he says in your journal. If you would like to share with me what God is saying to you, please do this. Thanks to those of you who are already sharing your thoughts with me!
At Redeemer we'll be spending several months in these verses. Why so much time? Because here we have single Jesus-sentences that contain entire worlds of meaning. Like, e.g., the one verse we looked closely at yesterday, John 14:1, where Jesus says "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me." Personally, I think I could spend several weeks just on that one Jesus-thought alone!
This coming Sunday I will preach on John 14:5-7. Is there a higher, richer thing in the New Testament than what Jesus says in John 14:6? I am thrilled to think that I get to spend this week prepping for this, and then share what God is telling me with my church family.
Much Love, and Blessings for a God-saturated week!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
(University of Michigan)
More from Alister McGrath's A Fine-Tuned Universe...
Ontology is "an understanding of the way things are, of the fundamental order of things. It is by discovering the "big picture" that its individual elements are able to be both known and understood." (McGrath, 56)
A study of the history of science discloses this pattern: viz., that theories that seem to have no fundamental connection are forged together as they are "recognized to be part of a bigger picture, which explains them, while they in turn reinforce the plausibility of the bigger picture. In other words A explains B while B justifies A." (Ib.)
Note also, and for further study: "Inference to the best explanation[IBE]," for example, appears to have a significant advantage over Bayesian approaches in being able to illuminate the context of scientific discovery." (McGrath, 57; cf. fn 25 for references) McGrath sees IBE as gaining esteem in science. IBE posits varying ontologies and reasons that one better explains an observation such as, for example, the fine-tuning of the universe.
Inference to the Best Explanation (Abductive Inferential Reasoning, as explained by Alister McGrath)
Friday, September 25, 2009
A Marriage Conference
led by John & Linda Piippo
•Oct. 24 – 10 AM-7 PM
•$25/couple (includes Sat. dinner together)
•Register by October 16
•For registration & information call 734-242-5277
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Demski's Refutation of Hume's Criticism of Paley's Design Argument: As a Failed Inductive Generalization
Because William Dembski, following Elliott Sober, concludes that Paley’s argument is not to be construed as an inductive argument/inductive generalization, Hume’s second criticism also fails to refute Paley.
Hume’s second criticism goes as follows. If we are to reason that the organisms in our world are the product of intelligent design then we need to have looked at lost of other worlds and observed intelligent designers producing organisms there. (See Demsbki, Intelligent Design, 275) But we have not even observed one other world. So “the inductive argument is as weak as it possibly could be; its sample size is zero.” (Sober, in Ib.) Using our analogy above, this would be like interviewing zero students and concluding that most students like Coke better than Pepsi. And that would be absurd.
In response to Hume Sober writes: “Once again, it is important to see that an inference to the best explanation need not obey the rules that Hume stipulates.” (Ib.) Why not? Sober gives the example of concluding that a large meteorite brought about a mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period. But we have never witnessed meteorite strikes causing mass extinctions? True. But this face is “irrelevant,” says Sober. “Inference to the best explanation is different from an inductive sampling argument.” (Sober, in Ib., 275-276)
Dembski agrees that the design argument is best construed as “inference to the best explanation.” (Ib., 276) Dembski goes on to say that “design is not merely an argument but also a scientific theory. Specified complexity in particular provides an information-theoretic apparatus for understanding the designed features of the physical world.” (Ib.)
Well, we know how this argument is going. Personally, I am still very much interested in it.
1) an argument from analogy; or
2) an inductive generalization based on a sample of size zero
These were Hume’s two main criticisms of the argument from design. The first is that the design argument is based on a weak analogy. This, says William Dembski, “is still the criticism that for many philosophers of religion remains decisive against design.” (Dembski, ID, 271) Dembski sets up the argument from analogy like this:
1. U has property Q.
2. U and V share properties A, B, C and D.
3. Therefore, V also had property Q.
Translating this into Paley’s argument we have:
1. Watches are intelligently designed.
2. Watches and organisms are similar.
3. Therefore, organisms are also intelligently designed.
The main problem with arguments from analogy is that there are also and always disanalogies. “If U and V were identical there would be no question about V having property Q if U has that property.” (Dembski, ID, 272-273) But U and V are not identical. So there are properties that U has but V does not have. And, as the argument shows, U has property Q. Does V have Q, or is this an area of disanalogy? “Without additional information the argument from analogy has no way of deciding this question.” (Ib., 273)
Dembski agrees that “if the design argument is nothing but an argument from analogy, then it is a very weak argument indeed.” (Ib.) But, say Dembski and Elliott Sober, the design argument is “much more” than an argument from analogy. Sober says it is not even an argument from analogy, but is “an inference to the best explanation.” (Ib.) Sober writes:
Hume did not think of the design argument [as an inference to the best explanation]. For him… it [was] an argument from analogy, or an inductive argument. This alternate conception of the argument makes a great deal of difference. Hume’s criticisms are quite powerful if the argument has the character he attributes to it. But if the argument is, as I maintain, an inference to the best explanation, Hume’s criticisms entirely lose their bite. (cited in Ib., 273-274)
Sober holds that Paley’s argument compares two different arguments, one argument about a watch, and a second argument about living things. The statements involved in the watch argument are:
A. The watch is intricate and well suited to the task of timekeeping.
B. The watch is the product of intelligent design. (This is one possibility)
C. The watch is the product of random physical processes. (This is a second possibility.)
Sober says that Paley is arguing that the probability of A given that B is “much bigger” than the probability of A given that C. Paley then reasons that “the same pattern of analysis applies to the following triplet of statements:” (Sober, in Ib., 274)
D. Living things are intricate and well-suited to the task of surviving and reproducing.
E. Living things are the product of intelligent design. (This is one possibility.)
F. Living things are the product of random physical processes. (This is a second possibility.)
Sober writes: “Paley argues that if you agree with him about the watch, you also should agree that” P(D/E) >> P(D/F). (Ib.) Both arguments are inferences to the best explanation. So, Sober thinks Hume’s criticism of the design argument fails.
Dembski notes that this does not lead Sober to accept the design argument, since for Sober, because of Darwin, we have a third possibility G: Living things are the product of variation and selection. Sober admits that “perhaps one day [design] will be formulated in such a way that the auxiliary assumptions it adopts are independently supported. My claim is that no [design theorist] has succeeded in doing this yet.” (Ib., 275) To which Dembski responds that the burden of his writing “has been to show that design remains a live issue and can once again be formulated as the best explanation for the origin and development of life.” (Ib.)
Yet for both Sober and Dembski Hume’s criticism fails because Paley’s design argument is not best construed as neither an argument from analogy nor an inductive argument.
Monday, September 21, 2009
(My father's house - I grew up in this house on 20th Avenue, Rockford, Illinois)
Yesterday I preached on John 13:31-38. Here Jesus points once again to His imminent glorification, which is the event of the cross. He gives us a command: Love one another, as He has loved us. He tells Peter that Peter will betray Him. Then begins John chapter 14. This will set us off on a great adventure together! Next Sunday morning we begin John chapters 14-16. These chapters are called the "farewell discourses" of Jesus. Jesus is showing His disciples what it all means for their future life, their own sadness and joy and mission in the world. This ends with the great prayer in John ch. 17. Then the story picks up with Jesus’ arrest in the garden.
These chapters (John 14-17) are incredible and beautiful. N. T. Wright says, “These chapters have often rightly been seen as among the most precious and intimate in the NT. They are full of comfort, challenge, and hope, full of the deep and strange personal relationship that Jesus longs to have with each of his followers. We shouldn’t be surprised that they are also full of the richest theological insights, of a sense of discovering who the true God is, and what he’s doing in the world and in us.”
At Redeemer I and Josh Bentley will be preaching on these chapters for the next six months. Personally, I will be using them for my own prayer and devotional life. I’ll be reading them over and over, studying them, and meditating on them. They will be my “spiritual food” for many weeks.
Yesterday morning I invited people who were at our worship service to join me in reading and studying these four phenomenal John-chapters. Here are some suggestions if you want to join with me in doing this.
1. Take time daily to read out of John chapters 14-17.
2. Read slowly, with an open heart and a listening ear.
3. Stay with these chapters until our Sunday morning preaching gets through them. You will probably end up reading through them more than once. I believe there is so much depth and good stuff in them that you will not exhaust them or tire of these words of Jesus.
4. As God speaks to you through these chapters, write down what He says to you in a spiritual journal. (A spiritual journal is a record of the voice of God speaking to you.)
5. As you have insights that you would like to share please send them to me. With your permission, I may pass them on to the 200+ Redeemer people on my e-mail prayer team.
I love reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word. I felt God say to me, “John, invite the Redeemer family to do this with you. Out of this I will produce deeper, richer understanding and experience.
This coming Sunday: John 14:1-4
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
(I took this picture of two Muslim women in Jerusalem.)
Marnia Lazreg, in her new book Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women, argues that the Islamic burka "stands for political ideology and male power." Lazreg is a professor of sociology at City University of New York. She says that piety has little to do with the burka, the full-face-and-body veil. And, the burka is never mentioned in the Koran.
Robert Fulford, reviewing Lazreg's book in the National Post, writes: "A woman wearing a mask is a woman declining to be human. Unable to look anyone in the eyes, lacking peripheral vision, her hearing muffled, she becomes an abstraction. Encouraging a woman to wear the burka is like offering her a portable isolation cell."
Lazreg shows how, historically, the veil comes and goes with the rise and fall of ideologies, male perceptions of women, and women's perceptions of themselves. And, wearing the burka leads to health problems: "Women who hide every inch of their skin from the sun often suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency and develop early osteoporosis, a syndrome noted by doctors in several countries." Lazreg says that "the veil is a man's problem more than a woman's."
Finally, Lazreg argues against Muslim theologians who put a happy spin on the burka, saying it empowers Muslim women. Lazreg concludes that "the revival of the veil does nothing for the rejuvenation of Muslim civilization; "it degrades Islam" and impoverishes its spirit."
(My friend Hal Ronning, in Jerusalem)
Luke 22:24 - "Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest." Jesus responds to this by making an analogy between the kings who lord it over the Gentiles, and his own disciples. Jesus tells his disciples that they are not to be like these kings, who exert power over their "subjects" and personally gain from their "benevolence." That... is evil. Punishing.The disciples are not talking about what true greatness is, but about which one of them is greater than all the others. In this they show themselves to be still top immersed in the comparative, competitive world-system that produces the agonies of pride and shame.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, wrote an entire chapter on pride called "The Great Sin." Lewis says:
"The heart of Christian morality is… Humility. The opposite of this… the Kingdom of Darkness thing… is Pride... Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind... Each person's pride is in competition with everyone else's pride... Pride is essentially competitive… Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the other person. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone."
I think the other side of pride is shame. Both pride and shame are forms of self-obsession, and all self-obsession punishes one's self and others and hinders the ability to love and be loved. Lewis Smedes, in his beautiful book Shame and Grace, says that “shame is a ‘heavy feeling’ of not measuring up that can easily lead to a feeling of self-disgust and fundamental unacceptability. Shame is a vague, undefined heaviness that presses on our spirit, dampens our gratitude for the goodness of life, and slackens the free flow of joy.” (5, 8)
Jesus wants to free his disciples from the pride-shame continuum by which people rank and compare themselves with others. I have found that many people who are proud and posture themselves as superior to others actually have deep-seated inferiority and worthlessness inside of themselves. These dark things make if difficult to serve other people in the purest sense, which is, expecting nothing in return from them. To serve others without expecting to receive honor and glory and praise from them is freedom. To serve others without wallowing in self-degradation is freedom. Jesus' kingdom has nothing to do withy such things. In the Kingdom of God honor, for everyone and towards everyone, prevails.
Aim low. Submit to one another and love one another. Be great for God. Do great things for God. Be free from comparing yourself with others. Celebrate when others do great things for God.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I'm preaching tomorrow out of Luke 22:24-30. Jesus' disciples are arguing among themselves as to which one of them is the "greatest." Jesus, because he is conferring a kingdom on them (just as God the Father bestowed a kingdom on Jesus), instructs them that such competitive rivalry that wants power over others is not what the Kingdom of God is all about.
How important is this for us to understand? N.T. Wright says, “This standing on its head of the world’s idea of greatness is central not only to all Christian work and ministry; it is the key to what Jesus was about.” (NTW, Luke for Everyone, 267)
Friday, September 11, 2009
''It strips Christianity bare, exposes the Gospels to a new light and succeeds brilliantly as a work of literature because it is convincing, thought-provoking, profoundly moving and beautifully nuanced throughout. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws down a challenge and does what all great books do: make the reader ask questions.'' " (Telegraph.com)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
(Ann Arbor)Some people (usually not professional philosophers) ask the question, "If God made the universe, who or what made God?" The answer to this question is: it's a nonsense question. Here's why.
If God is a being that exists necessarily, this means God could not not exist. This is how theists view God; viz., as a necessary being. This does not imply that God actually exists. Even if God does not exist, this is how theists define God, much as all define a "unicorn" as a one-horned horselike creature. Even atheists can acknowledge that, by the term "God," is meant a necessarily existing being.
Following the idea of God as presented in the Kalam Cosmological Argument, God did not "begin to exist." If only what begins to exist has a cause, and God did not begin to exist (because God's existence is necessary), then to ask "What caused God?" is akin to asking "What color is the note C?" (See Moreland, 63)
So the question is incoherent. It is a "pointless category fallacy" (the ascription of a wrong feature to the wrong thing). (Ib.)
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Louise Antony – University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Susan Brower-Toland – St. Louis University
James L. Crenshaw – Duke Divinity School (Emeritus)
R. Andrew Compton – UCLA
Thomas Crisp – Biola University
Edwin Curley – University of Michigan
Stephen T. Davis – Claremont McKenna College
Paul Draper – Purdue University
David Dudrick – Colgate University
Evan Fales – University of Iowa
Robert Garcia – Texas A&M University
John Hare – Yale Divinity School
Daniel Howard-Snyder – Western Washington University
Patick Kain – Purdue University
Joseph Levine – Univeristy of Massachusetts, Amherst
Michael Bergmann – Purdue University
Stephanie R. Lewis – Municipal Capital Management, LLC
Michael Murray – Franklin and Marshall College
Wes Morriston – University of Colorado, Boulder
Michael Rea – University of Notre Dame
Mark C. Murphy – Georgetown University
Alvin Plantinga – University of Notre Dame
Christopher Seitz – Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
Eleonore Stump – Saint Louis University
Richard Swinburne – University of Oxford
James VanderKam – University of Notre Dame
Peter van Inwagen – University of Notre Dame
Howard Wettstein – University of California, Riverside
Nicholas Wolterstorff – Yale Divinity School (Emeritus) and University of Virginia
Stephen Wykstra – Calvin College
Center for Continuing Education
September 10-12, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
(My back yard)
Scot McKnight posts about the importance, in historical scholarship of any kind, of getting at the original texts. Translations won't do. Also, Webster's Dictionary is, basically, of no help. "There is a distinction between the text and a translation of the text. The authority is with the former; those who know that text are informed enough to decide about translations."
For example, I took a seminar in my doctoral work at Northwestern University on Aristotle's Metaphysics. My professor was the great Greek philosophy scholar Reginald Allen. I remember there were about six of us in that seminar, and on occasion various Northwestern professors would attend just to hear Allen teach. Allen would come to class without a copy of the Metaphysics. He could do this because he knew the entire text in Greek. This was very impressive. Note, for the sake of this discussion: Allen did not depend on commentaries on Aristotle, nor did he depend on translations of Aristotle, but taught out of the original text. Anyone who wants to seriously understand original texts must have a working knowledge of the original languages, without which they will have to understand they are handicapped to a degree.
McKnight says: "The authority is the original text, not the translation. The original texts are in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). The authoritative text is not in English, regardless of how accurate the translation. No matter which translation you prefer, it is not the authoritative text for determining which translation is best. Yes, we need more to devote more time to study of the original languages.
The sweeping conclusion is this: unless you can read the original languages, you should avoid making public pronouncements about which translation is best. Instead, here's my suggestion: if you don't know the languages and can't read them well enough to translate accurately on your own but you want to tell your congregation or your listeners which translate is best, you need to admit it by saying something like this: "On the basis of people I trust to make this decision, the ESV or the TNIV or the NRSV or the NLT is a reliable translation."
McKnight uses James 3:1 as an example. Depending on which English translation you are reading, the word adelphos ("brothers," et. al.) has its tribal spin (because translations are "unofficially connected to tribes). McKnight writes:
"The point is which one best represents the intent of the original Greek, which has the Greek word adelphos? Unless you know what adelphos means in Greek, in the broad swath of the New Testament's use of adelphos and how it is used in the Greek-speaking (not to mention Hebrew-reading world) and about how James uses the word adelphos, any judgment is rooted in theology or theory but not in evidence. If you don't know the Greek, avoid standing in judgment. I'm not trying to be a hard-guy or an elitist, but let's be honest: only those who know Latin should be talking about which is the "best" translation of Virgil or only those who know Middle High German should be weighing in on the "best" translation of The Nibelungenlied. This isn't elitist; it's common sense."
I shudder to think that I, even after three years in seminary, would develop sermons using, at times, Webster's English Dictionary. I've come to my senses on this, and now immerse myself in as much original-language studies as I can, which further entails socio-cultural and socio-rhetorical studies. On Sunday mornings all this forms a background to the preaching of Scripture in, hopefully, a language even a child could understand.
Our old roof was... old. How old were those shingles? George Custer's house is 400 yards to the west of us. He lived there. His famous horse "Dandy" lies buried in the backyard. One day Custer rode Dandy past our house, knocked on the door, and asked permission to climb on the roof and autograph the shingles. His signature is all over those things. The rumor is that Custer and his family, needing some extra money, actually roofed our house.
Out my window shingles are falling like rain. New wood is lined up around the house ready to replace rotting, damaged wood. I'm looking down at the crew, which looks like a team of ants that know what they is doing. Which makes me feel good.
We're getting a new roof today!
The old roof had some minor leaks. When it rained hard accompanied by strong winds, water crept through the flimsy singles. A number of times winds higher than 20-30 mph blew shingles off. I have climbed on my roof to "replace" them. Note the inverted commas around "replace." The idea of me replacing shingles or doing any roofing work is a joke. And it's become incrasingly dangerous. The slope on one part of my roof is steep, the shingles are slippery-shiny, and my legs are not in shape. I've sat on my roof's peak wondering what am I doing up here? I’m there thinking that I need to work out more and get in shape, not for my own physical health, but just to be a roofer.
My new roof means - I won't be up on this thing, probably and hopefully, ever again. My roofing career is officially over. If you need roofing work done don't call me.
I'm thankful for a roof over my head and food to eat and friends to love and be loved by and family. I'm thanking God on this Labor Day for these laborers, and for the wonderful people at Brothers Construction in Monroe County.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Norman Malcolm's Evaluation of Kant's Criticism of Anselm's Ontological Argument for God's Existence
- For my Philosophy of Religion class
Currently I am teaching the Ontological Argument for God's existence.
Anselm's version is:
1) I have an idea of a being a greater than which cannot be thought.
2) Therefore, God exists.
Kant criticizes Anselm's argument by saying that "exists" is not an attribute or predicate... of anything. 20th-century philosopher Norman Malcolm agrees with Kant on this. Kant thinks Anselm's Ontological Argument therefore fails, since Anselm's argument depends on "existence" being an attribute or predicate. Malcolm thinks Kant does not understand that Anselm, elsewhere in the Proslogion, really means, by "existence," "necessary existence." "Necessary existence" = cannot not exist. If something had, as an attribute, necessary existence, that thing could not not exist; or, that thing would have to exist; or that thing would have always existed and will always exist no matter what, just as a triangle will always have three sides no matter what color it is, how long the base is, and so on.
So, according to Malcolm, "necessary existence" seems to be a "real predicate" (which is, according to Kant, a predicate that adds something to the concept of the subject). So Malcolm thinks the Ontological Argument has not been refuted by Kant.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
(The Islamic Center of Toledo)
CNN.COM has this report of a Muslim teen who became a follower of Jesus and now is afraid for her life. She says that her father wants her dead because she has left Islam.
I have heard of this before and talked with ex-Muslims who now fear for their lives because of their faith in Jesus. For example, a few years ago I was in a dialogue with the Imam of the Islamic Center of Toledo. The event took place in Rocket Hall at the University of Toledo. The Imam is from Egypt. I shared with him, and the students who were there listening, that I have three friends who are Christian leaders in Egypt, and they all suffer persecution from Egyptian Muslims. The Imam denied this. But I have evidence, and anyone who has studied this knows that Egypt is a fearful place to be a Christian.
If someone leaves the Christian faith our response is, usually, sadness. We don't threaten to take their life! I think there are a lot of Muslims who would consider becoming followers of Jesus were it not for the threat of persecution. So, they are held hostage by militant Islam. I am now reminded of the Dutch newspaper that printed political cartoons of Mohammed. The militant Islamic response to this was "Off with their heads!" So much for those of us who value inter-religious dialogue.
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
2. A philosophical zombie is conceivable.
3. Whatever is conceivable is metaphysically possible.
4. (From 2 & 3) A philosophical zombie is metaphysically possible.
5. (From 1&4, using modus ponens) Therefore, physicalism is false.
Philosophical zombie (p-zombie): a being that is, physically, exactly like I am.
If physical reality is all there is, and all phenomenal reality is nothing but physical reality, then there should be no difference between a p-zombie and myself.
But there is a difference between a p-zombie and myself, that difference being that I am conscious, sentient, and experience qualia.
Therefore such “mental” activity is logically not reducible to physical stuff; i.e., the phenomenal cannot be reduced to the physical.
Physicalism-as-atheism does not best explain this. Theism better accounts for non-physical reality then does atheism. (Physicalism logically entails atheism – see Evan Fales, e.g.)
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
(Our beloved dog So-Fee, who is no longer with us...)
It's time for me to finally let the cat out of the bag. In my Logic courses I give, as an example of logic, the following argument:1) The more trainable an animal is, the smarter it is.
2) Dogs are more trainable than cats.
3) Therefore, dogs are smarter than cats.
My argument is logical. Which means: By P1 & P2, and using MP (modus ponens), C3 follows.
Is my argument sound? (= logically valid with true premises) That is the question!
(Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
- This past Sunday I preached out of John 13:18-31. It's the moment when Jesus is hosting the Passover meal for his disciples. Judas makes his choice to betray Jesus. "Betrayal," in this context, means: one who has all along professed to be on the side of Jesus now acts against Jesus. "Acting against Jesus" is not merely a physical thing that leads to Jesus' physical crucifixion, it also includes acting against or contrary to the Mission of Jesus and the way Jesus brings this about. To betray Jesus is to go against all He is and does and teaches.
The result, in Jesus, is that He is "deeply troubled." His soul is agitated, like an "agitator" in a washing machine that goes back and forth. He is grieved.
God gets grieved. We can grieve God. In Ephesians 4:30 we are encouraged not to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." In verses 25-32 we have a partial list of things that cause God to grieve. It grieves God when we...
- are not truthful
- sin when we are angry
- do not share with others
- talk in unwholesome ways
- are bitter within
- have raging, uncontrollable anger
- slander other people
- are unkind and non-compassionate to others
- do not forgive others of what they have done to us
This last thing is huge. Unforgiveness is unacceptable in the Kingdom of God. C.S. Lewis writes, in his essay "On Forgiveness": "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." Forgiveness lies at the very heart of all that Jesus is, stands for, and has done. To not forgive others is, essentially, to betray Christ, to be anti-Christ. An unforgiving heart is a heart of darkness.What is it to forgive someone for what they have done to you? It means: to cancel the debt that they owe you. When we forgive others it means they are no longer indebted to us; they don't owe us anything anymore. To forgive others does not mean we trust them now. We may or may not. But it does mean to release them from indebtedness, which is freedom for them but for us as well. When real forgiveness happens we don;t lie in bed at night thinking of ways to make them pay.
Why forgive someone else? For starters - because of what God has forgiven about us. I know that when I think about this it's easy for me to say, if God has forgiven me of all the stuff I have thought and done, then who am I not to extend this same forgiveness to others. To have a forgiving heart, and to walk in forgiveness, is freedom.