March 24: Betrayed!
Have you ever been betrayed? It is painful! And Jesus endured that pain as well. Judas Iscariot had been one of the hand-picked followers of Jesus. He had spent three years with Him and the other disciples, traveling the area. He had witnessed incredible miracles along the way, from the healing of the blind to the dead being raised.
But Jesus did not meet Judas’ expectations. You see, Judas loved money more than he loved God. And when following Jesus did not turn into a money-maker, he resorted to stealing from the disciples’ money bag along the way.
Did Jesus not know about this? Of course He did! But He allowed Judas to exercise free-will, just like He allows it in us. Judas had chance after chance to make choice after choice to change his ways. To truly follow Jesus – not just with his feet, but with his whole heart.
But in the end, Judas loved money more than he loved Jesus. He saw an opportunity to “make a buck” by selling Jesus’ location to the religious leaders. That way they could come and arrest Jesus without causing a riot. And Judas got a bag full of silver for his troubles.
I like to think that I am not at all like Judas. I like to think that I love God more than I love anything or anyone else. But I am more like him than I care to admit.
When I choose to not invite a friend to church because it might make me look like a religious freak, I am choosing my comfort over God’s commands. And I am more like Judas than Jesus.
When I choose to not give to the Lord the first of my time, talent and treasure, I am choosing to trust my own wisdom instead of God’s Word. And I am more like Judas than Jesus.
When I choose sleep, social media or my work-out over spending time with God, I am choosing to feed what is mortal in me instead of what is eternal. And I am more like Judas than Jesus.
Judas chose his path. And I can choose mine.
Will I follow the ways of Judas? Or the ways of Jesus?
Adoration: Praise God for second chances! Thank Him for His heart that is always willing to forgive. Consider praying back to Him the words of Micah 7:18 (NIrV): “Lord, who is a God like you? You forgive sin. You forgive your people when they do what is wrong. You don’t stay angry forever. Instead, you take delight in showing your faithful love to them.”
Confession: Ask God to show Him where you are following the ways of Judas instead of Jesus. Consider echoing David’s prayer in Psalm 51:10 (NLT): “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.”
Thanksgiving: Thank God for His many blessings in your life, in spite of the fact that you have chosen sin over righteousness at times.
Supplication: Based on Matthew 5:43-44, pray for the people in your life who have betrayed you. Ask God to bless them.