How will you fulfil scripture


Waste.

What a plethora of meanings this one word has. From “don’t waste your food” – as in a help-yourself-buffet invites “eyes bigger than belly” syndrome … all the way up to “what a waste” – as a memorial service invites “why?” world war horror reflection.

Both five small letters. Both the same word.

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Matthew 26:6-9

That word waste.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:11-12

That word waste. Again.

Can’t see it?

Neither could I. It goes back to the Greek word: “ἀπώλεια” – and that word in John (“destruction”) which is the same root as the word in Matthew (“waste”).

And here in John we have Judas Iscariot – “the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”

The villain. The one embroidered and digitally enhanced with a “we always knew it would end in tears” … see his slitty eyes … that furtive look … had his hand in the till all along … we could tell. We could tell he was not one of us. Bad blood you see. Not like me. Not like us.

Not like us?

Us who “waste” time each day. Who put to waste relationships so often. Who waste energy in endless bickering about who is right or wrong. Who waste opportunities looking at the fluff in our belly-buttons rather than out there in front of us. Who waste money, skills, gifts, emotions … and let’s not forget “grace freely given” … how we waste that so often. Every time we see it as a “heavy yoke” … or as “sacrifice on our part” … and all that well rehearsed “stuff”.

Not like us?

Who wonder about Hell and eternal damnation – destruction for ever (in the future when we die of course – not right now). And then call a moment in the “present” of God … a little bit of heaven (in the present whilst I live and breathe of course – right now). I know I do.

And He is lounging again, listening and nodding lovingly.

Because it seems to me that I am Judas Iscariot. All of us are Judas Iscariot.

If we choose.

If we choose to let a little destruction into our lives each day. A little bit of waste. A little bit of wasting away. A habit we allow to destroy just a little bit of us. To waste us a little bit. A tiny little bit of hell. And a tiny distance from my god. Just a smidgeon.

Grace freely given?

That other “little smidgeon” comes free as well. Just as hard to grasp as grace. And a lot easier to make part of me.

“The road to hell” is a journey. Just as the road with our lord is a journey. Just as Judas Iscariot had God. Just as he made choices every day. Incey-wincey-tiny ones. That no one noticed. Just like me.

We are all written in the Word of God.

And He left me with a question today:

“How will you fulfil scripture?”

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28 thoughts on “How will you fulfil scripture

  1. Good Morning, Paul! I loved this. Judas is a tragic character on whom I’ve reflected more than once. As I read your post, I was struck with an echo of an insight I struggled with about a year ago.

    I was struggling personally, doing some counseling for a survivor of unspeakable abuse (of which I *cough* will not speak). But my heart was overwhelmed with grief and with rage at the abuser. Jesus challenged me to see and understand the “unlove” that had brought that ABUSER to this place in life, and to pray FOR them. Pray for their healing, as well as my client’s. I struggled with this. I obeyed (gritted teeth, balled fists) in yielding to the authority of God, but I could not wrap my heart around it. I could not bring my own sense of forgiveness to the moment.

    I wrote of my struggle to a friend, a wise counsel type friend. He did not respond directly with advice, but in his sermon the following Sunday I heard this teaching…

    “Jesus has commanded us to love one another as He loves… and that means EVERYONE! He came to us as sinners when we had no hope, covered in our sins… so this doesn’t mean we are to love ‘good’ people one way, and ‘bad’ people another. When He came and first loved us, we were all ‘bad’ people.

    “If you harbor ‘less than love’ in your heart for anyone at all… you admit darkness and shadow into your own life and heart.”

    (*waste, Paul? * Is this the “waste” of which you speak? And then, in my friend’s sermon, I heard him address my problem, quite specifically.)

    He went on, “Don’t think I am speaking in a Pollyanna, unrealistic way. Sometimes, there are terrible people, who do terrible things, unmentionable things.” (and here it seemed his voice broke for a moment) “But Jesus loves, and loved, such people… and has commanded us to do the same. And to fail to do so, for any reason, simply WILL admit darkness and shadow into our hearts, regardless of what the other person has done. Jesus simply does not, and did not, give us an other option.”

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I was absolutely struck with the parallel of my friend’s teaching on how we admit “shadows into the heart by refusing to love another”… when I read you say…

    “If we choose to let a little destruction into our lives each day. A little bit of waste. A little bit of wasting away. A habit we allow to destroy just a little bit of us. To waste us a little bit. A tiny little bit of hell. And a tiny distance from my god. Just a smidgeon.”

    Same thing… and that’s how we do it… just withholding the love from someone else. Like Judas. Like those who griped about the perfume. Like me… still too often.

    Grace — LM

    • Hiya LM – thank you – and wow!

      (That Greek Gadget was profound today. He just “used it” without any awareness on my part – so thank you for the introduction)

      As always you provide a “wallop” to cause me a long ponder. Judas for me has always been a “pantomime” type of character in my mind. The villain who played his part, got his come-uppance, all scripted, all to a plan. And that may be how it is (although I do struggle with John Style writing at times). Or …

      This morning it “got me” just as you describe. For the first time had a real sense that if it hadn’t been Judas, it would have been Paul, or Tom, Dick or Harry. Anyone of us. There is a long queue all ready to move forwards a step. Sobering (to quote Don).

      The example you use? Intellect and fellowship v reality and living. Wow!! I am so glad He cleanses from the inside – and has a repeat wash cycle (constantly running in my case)!

      Still pondering … thank you.

        • Really appreciate your time on this one LM.

          I remember that post. The sadness of why you wrote it. Oddly, I can look at Peter and Judas and compare. See the difference.

          Yet – mix up that young lady and her father/family in the middle, and I find it all gets a little blurry – then and still now when I re-read your words.

          Comes back to that message in your first comment: we have no option other than to love equally. And the tough questions that asks of each of us.

  2. Great post Paul, the wisdom, the insight and the humility of it. Yep, it’s me too, just a little at a time so nobody notices, but with what result?

    How will we fulfill Scripture… how will I fulfill Scripture; sobering thoughts for sure!

    • Don – thank you. And LM has popped up with a poser to ponder!

      All of these comments, connections, and communion allows me understand again why this “building each other up”, this “body”, this fellowship … is so so necessary to my relationship with my lord.

  3. Paul and LM – many deserving “wows” here today. Both the wide and narrow path are taken one step at a time, and we tend to look at the scenery rather than what’s lighting our way. Just read LM’s Gone Fishin’ – all the more important we ensure that light comes from Scripture and not from the world. We all need to pause several times daily to check in with the One who fills our hearts and minds with Truth. Those pauses will save us from wasting away the remainder of our hours in what is not of Him.

    Powerful post, Paul. Thank you. And thank you, LM, for the insightful addition.

    • Thank you Susan. Love that word “wow”! Your “one step at a time” .. that old saying “every journey starts with just one step” – too often I forget that the steps that follow can go in all sorts of different directions.

    • YAY!!! Thank you!

      There are so many comments and words I get confused. That lamb and that blade of grass were in my head – I couldn’t figure who! (Susan – one lamb and many blades … note to self). Because that is such a profound and simple visual. Thank you again!!

      (Rebekah mentioned today these blogs become a running commentary – easy to remember a specific word – and struggle with the what/when – yay to that as well)

      🙂

  4. That passage about the one doomed to destruction has always haunted me. There is a similar wording used to describe the “man of destruction” in first or second Thessalonians, I cannot remember which one now. Anyway, very convicting, especially the part about it being little bitty steps that lead us away from the Lord. Those little steps become strides, then leaps, until we’re running right off the cliff.

    Catch me Jesus!

    • The man of lawlessness, the man doomed to destruction (thank you for the reference) – shadows, hiding, luring, insidious, creep, waste.

      Thank you.

    • Yep. All in the name of being “right” – as though that was the prize. Weird kind of honour – I am right. Huzzah!!

      “I love you”
      I knew it – I knew you loved me! I am right!
      “I love you still”
      Now let’s just check a few things here …
      “Doesn’t matter – I love you”
      Well I might not love you – define love …
      (and so it goes on – snuffing love out one ember at a time)

  5. You know, Paul, I think maybe I am behind on “catching up” with your posts because God wanted me to read this today. He wanted me to see the interconnectedness of His Word and its engravings on my heart. Once again, as I read your words I am transported to a space of wonder and awe where the world around me fades and I am face-to-face with my Father.

    I was reading last night about Dr. Paul Brand (I’m surrounded by brilliant Pauls!) and his work with lepers in India, England and America. He saw pain as a miracle from God (can you imagine NOT feeling anything at all? Even pain would be welcome…just to feel. Something. Anything.). I read about his meager salary and how he lived on very little, because everything else was just a waste.

    We allow things and people and idols to crowd us, to take up residence in our homes, our hearts, our heads. They begin to squeeze out the only One Who matters. It starts out small, with an evening in front of the telly. The clock chimes “Time for bed” and we wonder how the night got from there to here without God. We shrug, shuffle off to sleep, and begin the next day with every intention of inviting Him back into our life. But then the lunch gang carries on about a new gadget or program or restaurant and soon our thoughts run into the maelstrom of materialism. We hear God’s whispers beckoning us into His lap, but we seek comfort in acceptance, conformity, having, doing, collecting. Our piles of friends and TV shows and trinkets leave no path for God to find us. We waste away under the weight of our sins.

    God is wanting me to take stock of my life, to see the waste, to praise Him for every second I am alive, to choose Him every second I am alive. I don’t want to have landfills crowded with my waste. I want to fill my heart, home, and head with my Father. He is truly all I need. Thank you, Paul, for listening to God, writing this, and helping me to see and hear Him more clearly.

    • You know something H. I think He slowed you down so you could write this for me today. Because you have lifted my heart! Three days into a “detox” and having a very grumpy day. Yearning for something to chew (it is a juicer only detox). Everything weighing heavy. Work, glitches at work, conversations at work – oh such work!! Self imposed all of it. Oh for a slice of bread!

      And yet the only reason for this is to combat the over-indulgence in previous “slices of bread”! And here I am feeling all sorry for myself. Like REALLY sorry for myself. REALLY grumpy!

      And the here you are with Paul Brand and pain, TV and distractions, taking stock and choosing!!! And by the time I finished reading our words … I have no need of bread. Your words and Him have filled me up. Allowed me to step back. Take stock. Feel NO pain. Lose the self-pity. Drop the grump!

      “Thank you, Paul, for listening to God, writing this, and helping me to see and hear Him more clearly”

      Every day is a new day. And this building-up works both way.

      Thank you, Heather, for listening to God, writing this and helping me to see Him (and my own wallowing!!!!!!!) more clearly!

      One uplifted ex-grump and still-de-toxing happy chap getting back to work with that spring in my step I had forgotten!!

      WOW!!!

      Connected to and with and through the One or what!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • I have been limiting my “carb” intake lately, trying to think before I eat and ask myself if I really NEED the chocolate cake… I have been craving bread, too, with a nice pat of butter or some cream cheese, but then I remember that we have the greatest Bread in the world. He fills us up daily and reminds us of the sacrifice He made so that we could have salvation.

        So I can suffer through a couple of months of my “diet” (because of an accumulation of poor eating habits…choices I made!) knowing that we have a Savior Who suffered more than I can fathom. He endured that pain so we could be free. So, I think again of Dr. Brand and say, yes, that pain is a tremendous gift. Because of Christ’s pain I am under the blanket of His mercy and grace.

        Good luck with your detox, Paul. I know it’s not easy, but remember you have an all-you-can-read buffet in the Word waiting for you.

      • LOL LOL LOL!!!!
        Thank you so much for your words today! I have been bouncing all afternoon!

        You are a blessing!
        (and much as I cringe at the frequency that phrase is bounced around – in this case it fits perfectly and is from the heart!)

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