I have been reading a Lent devotional with my church.  The devotional is walking us through Jesus' last days on earth. We've all heard the story how Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, for 30 pieces of silver.  Having heard this story thousands of times in my life I've always cast Judas as the greedy, money hungry, villain who cared more about money than his relationship with Jesus. I assumed he was overall just greedy. 

After reading this devotional it made me stop and think a bit.  Judas had been following the Lord, he heard Jesus talking, he also knew about the Messiah and probably was so excited to be a part of the Messiahs troupe. I am sure he thought he was going to be on the winning side. He probably, like most of the disciples, didn't really understand everything Jesus said and did, but growing up he was taught the Messiah would overthrow Rome and make life better for the Jews.  So when he was called by Jesus, he was probably excited to be on the winning side of things.

And look.... Jesus is developing a following. He is healing people. People are flocking to hear Him speaking.  People are enamored and Judas gets to be in the "in-crowd"!  He is one of the few getting in the boat to go to the other side with Jesus. The one handing out the bread and fish that had multiplied. He gets to travel, talk with, and be part of Jesus' inner circle. It feels good. To be the important one. Recognized and esteemed.

Life is good.

Then it's not.  Jesus starts talking weird. Things about death and persecution. Things that don't sound very "Winning Team" like .  He even tells all his disciples they will betray him.  I now imagine Judas second guessing his choice.  Does he want to be lumped in with all these people who will be labeled crazy? If Jesus dies then what? None of them can do miracles. If Jesus dies, he will just be left with a mess to clean up. Known as one of the disciples, he will probably be persecuted, ridiculed and banned from both fellow Jews and the Romans. This is not what he signed up for.  I started thinking it probably wasn't all about money. It was about fear, fear of the unknown. And where does fear come from? Fear comes from not trusting that God has it under control. 

I have to confess, I have been very judgemental of Judas, thinking it was all about money and how shallow of a person would trade the Messiah for money.  I am  now starting to think Judas was probably more motivated in fear, and now I can relate. 

Being a Christian in the United States of America used to be the "thing to be". Everyone went to church. Everyone had a Bible.  But what is happening today?  We get criticized for saying men are men and women are women. We are hated for following what the Bible teaches. We can't believe a baby in a womb is a real life without being outed as a hater. You can't stand up for people's rights and give them grace for bad choices in their lives, without being called bigots and racists.   The tide has turned.

Life was good
And now its not. 

Its not going to get better in the way we want. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news)  Just like the disciples lives didn't get better -and when I say better I mean easier. It got much much harder. But more rewarding. As the disciples spoke truth in love,  and didn't back down,  God showed up and used them to do incredible things. He wants to do the same with our lives. I am just afraid that much of the church has been just going through the motions, wanting to be on the "winning side" when it didn't call for a sacrifice.

We might not ever say we would betray Jesus for any amount of money.
But what about betraying Jesus out of fear.  Fear, that we might not be accepted. Fear, that life doesn't look like we thought. Fear, that it is going to be hard. Fear we might be on the wrong side. Fear we will be labeled.

The Bible tells us how it ended for Judas. It also shows that Jesus' death was not the end of the story. 

The USA moving farther away from Biblical truths is not the end of the story either. Do not find yourself stuck in the middle of the story, thinking it is the end,  reacting on feelings and fear. Remember we know the truth.  We know how it is going to end.  We know who is going to win. 

I want live knowing that I can trust the Lord no matter how hard life gets, that this world is not the end of life, just the beginning. 

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord".   2 Cor 5:8


One comment

dean ransdell says:
March 28, 2021 at 03:11 pm
Good read,espeacially as this day is Palm Sunday,in 6 days it will be not Praise God,but crucify Him.

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