Psalm 41, a lament.


Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.

Such a sad statement.

Jesus experienced this with Judas, and Jesus referred to these last few lines as a prophecy of that betrayal.

Many of us will experience something similar some time in our lives, and it can be a devastating experience – even though the betrayal may have been enacted through the best of intentions.

In the case of Judas, it is clear that he soon suffered deep regret. Much is often made about him selling out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver – but soon afterwards he returned the money, so despite scripture exposing him as a thief, his later actions show that his primary motive was probably not the payment.

Did Judas justify his betrayal of Jesus in some way?
Was he trying to force the hand of Jesus and/or the Father to do more than merely preach and provide healing? To try and fast-track the coming Kingdom of God that Jesus preached about?

How often do we have it all figured out? How often do we think we know what’s best for others – what those others should be doing, and how they should be going about their life instead of taking more care of  our own?
How often do we try to push along God’s agenda for someone else and try to force their hand to fast-track that agenda?

Why would we do that?
Is it because we think we know better than them?
Is it because we feel some kind of spiritual superiority over them? (Not that we’d describe it that way).

I believe THIS is the reason Jesus warned about trying to remove splinters from the eyes of others while our own sight is impaired by something much larger.

We need to concentrate more on our own condition, and how we treat and react to others than on how we are treated by them.

Jesus made this very clear:

I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

I’m not sure I can read that without feeling some kind of conviction – of realising how far I can fall short.

16 thoughts on “Psalm 41, a lament.

  1. Eh… while some of that is true, we need to be careful about assuming all of it. Judas was wrong. Period (even with a motive other than silver). To articulate beyond that — we shouldn’t set someone up for a threat to their life (even more so when it’s not in self defense); no one should. We could think beyond that too, for someone who can’t see the point already. Judas put Jesus in a position where to save himself, he’d have to endanger someone else (or possibly a number of people greater than one). He’d already said he wasn’t for that.

    It’s true we should think of loving others before or more than fixating on specks in others. To love some people, however, we may have to get involved in their lives… or even their business. An example: When my dad died, three of my sons offered to move there and help her (one detail would be mowing the acreage for her — which was something my dad had done). [They, and the other two as well, had already been helping her… immediately in a variety of ways.] She rejected all three of them, while she could’ve chosen any one, two, or three. Not only did she say no, but as we tried to explain the wisdom, she said she didn’t want anyone to take advantage of her… while all my sons have been steadily employed since they were teenagers and would’ve been if they moved there, too, and are self-sufficient. There was no reason for her to think otherwise. But she has a good monthly income, due to her own prior work partly, but mostly due to my dad’s work. Plus, there was a large nest egg that could last the rest of her life. So… yes, I figured it was her own business. My sons, meanwhile, were largely repelled. And one of the three, who hadn’t been fully repelled before, helped her when she asked to borrow money (and that she would pay him back right away). She mailed him a check; it bounced (which isn’t free and doesn’t curry favor with the bank). She had indicated she liked the idea of him handling her finances, so he and I traveled there with a power of attorney paper she could sign. She refused. She also revealed, at that time, that she couldn’t have had any of my sons around because she didn’t want any male person around with whom she couldn’t have sex. She said this in front of my son. Then she said she wanted to get married again, as if we could do something about this for her. Meanwhile, she’s been wasting all her money… in the largest part on nothing. Plus, she began speaking glowingly of a man who’s been married (and divorced) multiple times, the most recent time ruined by his hanging out with my mom’s sister, even holding her hand in church while his wife was dealing with health problems. He is still my aunt’s interest, but my mom was speaking as if she, herself, might… I would find sharing all the details both boring and endless. Anyway, she is on the verge of losing the place where she lives (which was fully paid off long ago) as she hasn’t been responsible. On top of that, she follows up a conversation reminding her that many people offered to help (and her then talking about testosterone that she couldn’t handle such that she refused) with saying her attitude is “no one is going to take care of me, so I have to take care of myself” [an accusation of neglect] — which caring for herself she is not doing… except that she’s gotten away with it so far (because there was plenty of money to blow through).

  2. I said: Judas put Jesus in a position where to save himself, he’d have to endanger someone else (or possibly a number of people greater than one). He’d already said he wasn’t for that.

    Actually, Jesus hadn’t quite said that, right? Jesus had said he wasn’t in favor calling down judgment on people who didn’t recognize Jesus’ (his and his disciples’) authority. Maybe Judas imagined Jesus would defend his own life. He could’ve defended it more physically or even via angels, and he could’ve defended it by saying more (in legal terms) when being grilled by men in current authority. (I think he knew this could endanger others. For example, a charge deserving death renders the same outcome for a person who has made a false charge.)

  3. Yes, of course Judas was wrong no matter what his motive may have been.
    That was the intended point of a lot of what I said – people can do the wrong thing (even evil things) for the “best” of reasons – in their own minds.

    We can’t control people’s actions or their motives for their actions, but how we respond to the harmful actions of those people IS under our control.

  4. I don’t think there’s any way Judas was doing things out of the best of intentions. He may have been trying to work a scheme that he thought would end up in a desired outcome (authority Judas wanted), but the path involved endangering Jesus’ life and setting Jesus up to defend himself (and not even in a setting where, preceding, Judas’ own life was at risk).

    Now, of course I can’t do anything about the woman my dad married (my mom) finding another husband. I won’t get involved in that at all. But she’s been making a big deal of going to a Catholic* Church and being baptized there after my dad’s death (while she pretended to be a Christian and was baptized long ago and wouldn’t become Catholic during his life but now falsely says she would’ve). But she says she’s not looking there (for a husband), which might mean she’s found a priest… but I won’t be snooping around to find out. What I do know is that she’s not living up to her actual responsibilities, and she’s trying to suck up everyone else’s money they have to live on (and the son who helped her recently has a wife who would be and was affected — but my mom didn’t care {[n]ot that she’d describe it that way}).

    *It was not a Catholic setting where my aunt met the man I mentioned.

  5. This is something I referenced: …53But the people there refused to welcome Him, because He was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them,…
    Berean Study Bible ·
    https://biblehub.com/luke/9-54.htm
    { By the way, I think the heading is probably inappropriate.
    Per: The Samaritans Reject Jesus }

    Then I began thinking about the conveying [ in a fairly recent video I shared ] of the story when Satan told Jesus he could have the rule of the world. And I found this helpful:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/thepassion/articles/judas.shtml

    John’s gospel makes the point that Judas was a dishonest …[*] man.

    But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)

    John 12: 4-6

    Both Luke and John say that Judas was possessed by the Devil and imply that this was a reason for his behaviour [in the betrayal].

    Luke seems to suggest that Judas’ actions may have been entirely the result of this possession; that he was, in effect, carrying out Satan’s wishes:

    Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

    Luke 22:3-6

    John, on the other hand, suggests that Judas was a bad man before Satan entered him to inspire the final betrayal:

    For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.

    John 6:64

    ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.’ He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

    John 6:70-71

    …he [Judas] was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.

    John 12:6

    John also seems to make it clear that it was Satan who gave Judas the idea to betray Jesus.

    Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him.

    John 13:1-2

    However in another passage John suggests that Satan entered Judas rather later.

    After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.

    One of his disciples-the one whom Jesus loved-was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’

    Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.

    John 13:21-27

    [* I removed ”and greedy” from the site commentary quote as our usual understanding has to do with getting stuff and benefitting, but some people steal for no explicable reason(s).]

  6. Additional thoughts! Our American and Australian cultures need to get reacquainted. You know how the following is often taken. Really, it’s more of a warning to Judas specifically:

    6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

    7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you,[c] but you will not always have me.”

    Indeed, he would not always have Jesus — Judas of all people.

    It’s a reference back to Deuteronomy as well:
    11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+15%3A11&version=ESV

  7. Marleen, as I thought I made clear in my original post, and tried to clarify in later comments, ” people can do the wrong thing (even evil things) for the “best” of reasons – in their own minds.”

    As I said in my conclusion to the original post:.

    We need to concentrate more on our own condition, and how we treat and react to others than on how we are treated by them.

    I suspect if we don’t we become more liable to make the same kind of errors of judgement.

  8. From John 6:
    24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

    Jesus the Bread of Life
    25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

    26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

    28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

    29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’[c]”

    32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

    34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

    35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

    41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

    {Just a note for readers: the use of the term “the Jews” refers to leadership, the powerful people in the Roman paradigm who ran the area where these things took place. It doesn’t mean all the Jewish people of the time did thus or so. The disciples who stayed with him were Jews too.}

    43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

    52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

    53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

    Many Disciples Desert Jesus
    60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

    61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

    66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

    68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

    …..

  9. Judas both didn’t believe (in the bread from heaven) and didn’t care about the poor (at least to the extent that when he brought up the idea of the poor it was a dishonesty). I actually don’t think Judas was trying to force* Jesus to bring the Kingdom, as I don’t think he believed in him. I also don’t think Jesus was surprised and hurt (due to already knowing from the start) in terms of feelings — although I’d see him as sad, for Judas’ sake, that Judas wasn’t “getting” the point and believing — while David would have had his feelings hurt, as well as been concerned for the nation. And, if we apply the idea of not picking at a splinter, it’s quite curious to think David would be vindicated because he did care about the poor. Whatever his enemies were holding against him wasn’t as bad or big as not caring about the poor; particularly since he would be in charge of the country.

    After thinking this through, it seems Judas was just sort of compulsive about taking from the purse and getting the silver and fitting in… until after.

    *It is the case that chapter six earlier says a bunch of people might’ve tried to force Jesus:

    14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

    But after his talk of himself being bread to be eaten, most of them wandered away. Judas, likewise, “wandered off” when the same kind of talk was going on again (during the last supper, when Jesus compared his body to the bread and blood to wine).

  10. I refer you to my original post and my subsequent replies, and point out that the only things we know about Judas are what we read in scripture.

    He was one of the twelve personally chosen by Jesus. He was a thief. He betrayed Jesus. He regretted betraying Jesus. He returned the money he’d received as payment, and he killed himself.

  11. Just thought I’d share that to which you linked.
    It’s a couple, not a few, of the lines.

    John 13:18
    … [Prediction] …
    18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’

  12. Sorry… I likely should’ve been more clear.

    From your opening post:

    Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
    one who shared my bread,
    has turned against me.

    Compare:
    ‘He who shared my bread
    has lifted up his heel against me.’
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    So Jesus referred to the psalm we’ve looked at under a few of your posts.

    But he only quoted those two lines — at least in this particular piece of scripture.

    And, to me, that makes blatant sense. He didn’t trust the one he knew would betray him.

  13. In the NIV the Psalm and the quote in John are the same.

    He who shared my bread has turned against me.

    ,

    The wording in your quote is offered as a footnote translation.

    As for the assertion that Jesus didn’t trust him, I can only defer to what scripture says about a close friend, someone “I trusted”.

  14. I know it was a footnote, it was showing the literal Greek. That’s not the main point. Why is it difficult to see he only quoted the two lines, not four?

    Anyone can go to the link and see. Now, I know we can’t get into the rest of your original post. There seems to be a blockage to communication.

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