January 23: Pride in Disguise
Genesis 37; Matthew 26:57–27:31; Ecclesiastes 9:1–6
Sometimes recognizing our sin for what it is can throw us into deep shame. In Matthew, we find that two of Jesus’ disciples experience this moment of remorse—Judas after he betrays Jesus, and Peter when he denies Jesus. From their responses, we learn what true repentance looks like.
Judas is remorseful when he realizes the enormity of his betrayal. But he doesn’t move from remorse to repentance. He tries to absolve his guilt by returning the payment he received for betraying Jesus—an attempt to buy back his innocence. And when the “blood money” is refused and he is unable to eliminate the guilt, Judas hangs himself (Matt 27:5).
Peter, the disciple with an impulsive, childlike loyalty to Jesus, denies his Lord when questioned by a mere servant girl. When Peter remembers Jesus’ prediction, he leaves, “weeping bitterly.” However, the Gospel of John tells us that Peter glorified God in his death (John 21:15–19).
When sin is exposed, stopping at realization and remorse is tempting. Reveling in self-hate and self-loathing can seem fitting—we feel like inflicting punishment on ourselves will somehow absolve our guilt. But this is simply another form of relying on ourselves—it is pride in disguise. We diminish the sacrifice that Christ has completed. We deny the freedom from guilt and shame that Jesus has bought for us at a costly sacrifice.
It’s only when we reach the end of our self-reliance and pride that we can look to the one who actually bore the guilt for us.
How are you holding on to guilt and shame?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Jacob now dwelt in the land, wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob when Joseph was seventeen years old, he kept sheep with his brethren, and the child was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, And Joseph brought unto their father their evil saying. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he begat him in his old age and he made him a coat of many colors. So when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, then they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and told his brethren, who hated him so much the more. For he said unto them, Hear, I pray you this dream which I have dreamed. Behold now, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field: and lo, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves compassed round about, and did reverence to my sheaf. Then his brethren said to him, What, shalt thou reign over us, and rule us? or shalt thou have altogether dominion over us? And they hated him so much the more, for his dreams, and for his words. Again he dreamed another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have one dream more, and behold, the Sun and the Moon and eleven stars did reverence to me. Then he told it unto his father and to his brethren, and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this thy dream, which thou hast dreamed? shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren come indeed and fall on the ground before thee? And his brethren envied him, but his father’s sheep in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren keep in Shechem? come and I will send thee to them. And he answered him, I am here. Then he said unto him, Go now, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and how the flocks prosper, and bring me word again: so he sent him from the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. Then a man found him: for lo, he was wandering in the field, and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou? And he answered, I see my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they keep sheep. And the man said, they are departed hence: for I heard them say, Let us go unto Dothan. Then went Joseph after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came at them, they conspired against him for to slay him. for they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, A wicked beast hath devoured him: then we shall see, what will come of his dreams. but when Reuben heard that, he delivered him out of their hands, and said, Let us not kill him. Also Reuben said unto them, Shed not blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him. Thus he said, that he might deliver him out of their hand, and restore him to his father. Now when Joseph was come unto his brethren, they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his parti-colored coat that was upon him. And they took him, and cast him into a pit, and the pit was empty, without water in it. Then they sat them down to eat bread: and lift up their eyes and looked, and behold, there came a company of Ishmaelites from Gilead, and their camels laden with spicery, and alm, and myrrh, and were going to carry it down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brethren, What availeth it, if we slay our brother, though we keep his blood secret? come and let us seel him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hands be upon him: for he is our brother, and our flesh: and his brethren obeyed. Then the Midianites’ merchant men passed by and they drew forth, and lift Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: who brought Joseph out of Egypt. Afterward Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit: then he rent his clothes, And returned to his brethren, and said, The child is not yonder, and I, whither shall I go? And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood. So they sent that parti-colored coat, and they brought it unto their father, and said, This have we found: see now, whether it be thy son’s coat, or no. Then he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat: a wicked beast hath devoured him: Joseph is surely torn to pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth about his loins, and sorrowed for his son a long season. Then all his sons and his daughters arose up to comfort him, but he would not be comforted, but said, Surely I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning: so his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar an Eunuch of Pharaoh’s and his chief steward. Genesis 37
- And they took Jesus, and led him to Caiaphas the high Priest, where the Scribes and the Elders were assembled. And Peter followed him afar off unto the high Priest’s hall, and went in and sat with the servants to see the end. Now the chief Priests and the Elders, and all the whole Council sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death. But they found none, and though many false witnesses came, yet found they none: but at the last came two false witnesses, And said, This man said, I can destro the Temple of God, and build it in three days. Then the chief Priest arose, and said to him, Answerest thou nothing? What is the matter that these men witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. Then the chief Priest answered, and said to him, I charge thee swear unto us by the living god, to tell us, If thou be that Christ the son of God, or no. Jesus said to him, Thou hast said it: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man, sitting at the right hand of the power of God, and come in the clouds of the heaven. Then the high Priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath blasphemed, what have we any more need of witnesses: behold, now ye have heard this blasphemy. What think ye? They answered, and said, He is guilty of death. Then spat theyin his face, and buffeted him, and others smote him with rods, Saying, Prophesy to us, O Christ, Who is he that smote thee? Peter sat without in the alld, and a maid came to him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee: But e denied before them all, saying I wot not what thou sayest. And when he went out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This man was also wtih Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, saying, I know not the man. So after a while, came unto him they that stood by, and said unto Peter, Surely thou art also one of them: for even thy speech betrayeth thee. Then began he to curse himself, and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. Then Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which had said unto him, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice. So he went out, and wept bitterly. Whent he morning was come, all the chief Priests, and the Elders of the people took counsel against Jesus, to put him to death. And led him away bound, and delivered him unto Pontius Pilate the governor. Then when Judas which betrayed him, saw that he ws condemned, he repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief Priests, and Elders, Saying, I have sinned, betraying the innocent blood. But they said, What is that to us? see thou to it. And when he had cast down the silver pieces in the Temple, he departed, and went, adn hanged himself. And the chief Priests took the silver pieces in the Temple, he departed, and went, and hanged himself. And the chief Priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for us to put them into the treasure, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them a potter’s field, for the burial of strangers. Wherefore that field is called, The field of blood, until this day. (Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the Prophet, saying, And they took thirty silver pieces, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel valued. And they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.) And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou that King of the Jews? Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest it. And when he was accused of the chief Priests, and Elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many thing they lay against thee? But he answerd him not one word, insomuch that the governor marveled greatly. Now at the feast of the governor was wont to deliver unto the people a prisoner whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner called Barabbas. When they were then gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whether will ye that I let loose unto you Barabass, or Jesus which is called Christ? (For he knew well, that for envy they had delivered him. also when he was set down upon the judgment seaat, his wife sent to him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffred many things this day in a dream by reason of him.) But the chief Priests and the elders had persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, and should destroy Jesus. Then the governor answered, and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I let loose unto you? And they said, Barabbas. Pilate said unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus, which is called Christ? They all said to him, Let him be crucified. Then said the governor, But what evil hath he done? Then they cried the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he availed nothing, but that more tumult was made, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just man: look you to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Thus let he Barabbas loose unto them, and scourged Jesus, and delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered about him the whole band, And they stripped him, and put about him a scarlet robe, And platted a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand, and bowed their knees before him, and mocked him, saying, God save thee, King of the Jews. And spitted upon him, and took a reed, and smote him on the head. Thus when they had mocked him, they took the robe from him, and put his own raiment on him, and let him away to crucify him. Matthew 26:57–27:31
- I have surely given mine heart to all this, and to declare lal this, that the just, and the wise, and their works are in the hand of God: and no man knowth either love or hatred of all that is before them. All things come alike to all: and the same condition is to the just and to the wicked, to the good and to the pure, and to the polluted, and to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner, he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. This is evil among all that is done under the sun, that there is one condition to all, and also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that, they go to the dead. Surely whosoever is joined to all the living, there is hope: for it is better to a living dog, than to a dead lion. For the living know that they shal die, but the dead know nothing at all: neither have they anymore a reward: for their remembrance is forgotten. Also their love and their hatred, and their envy is now perished, and they have no more portion forever, in all that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:1–6