Mark – God is On Our Side!
What causes people to betray their closest friends, family who love them deeply, or coworkers working alongside them each day? What changes their minds about living a life of love to the point that they would sell you out to the highest bidder or to the closest ears longing to hear gossip of any kind about you and the work you are doing with others? These are age old questions of human behavior. This is the behavior of those who turn away from Christ and His life of love.
When we begin to lose sight of the goal and mission, we become disagreeable on what the leader says, what others say, how others behave. Selfishness floods into our souls causing us to yield to the temptations that the evil one plants in this fertile soil of self. The “win” for us is redefined in our own thinking. THEN life, as we knew it, changes. We go our own way. We no longer have the supporting cast to live life well. We even betray ourselves with a life that leads to sadness, depression, and loneliness. We no longer trust God. We don’t trust ourselves or anyone else. We develop a hate for ourselves and others. THEN we do things out of the character of Christ. We become a Judas.
Judas, tempted by Satan, began to think differently about the mission of Jesus Christ. Judas wanted a warrior, a revolutionary, who would overthrow the oppressive Roman government. Judas, the treasure of the group, became greedy with the meager funds for the group. It was the final straw for Judas when he witnessed a woman break open an expensive, alabaster jar of precious anointing oils fit for burial rituals, and pour the contents over Jesus. This oil “could have been sold” to put more money into the hands of Judas to manage. (See yesterday’s “Daily Manna”, Mark 14: 1).
Judas no longer agrees with anything Jesus is about so….
Mark 14, NLT
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
The Last Supper
12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
13 So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: “As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 15 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” 16 So the two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.
17 In the evening Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.”
19 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?”
20 He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. 21 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
22 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.”
23 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. 25 I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”
26 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Jesus knew who would be betray him. Jesus knew the heart of Judas. Jesus knew of his mismanagement of the funds. Jesus knew that, of the Twelve, Judas was living counter to what Jesus was teaching. But Jesus still loved and served Judas that night. Jesus washed his feet before the meal, showing the full extent of His love”, (John 13:1). THEN Jesus sent him away from the group to do what was in Judas’ heart. Judas lived and died based on what was in his heart. But, listen friends, Jesus still loved him. Judas chose death over life. We can choose a better life.
Jesus knew the full extent of the weakness of all the disciples, so he showed them the full extent of his love. Washing their feet was a prelude to washing their hearts. Water sufficed for the first, His lifeblood was required for the second.
And this is precisely how Jesus loves each of us, no exceptions. Absolutely nothing can separate us from His affection, or impact the way He loves us. Jesus doesn’t love us more when we “get it right”, and He doesn’t love us less when we “do it wrong.” That doesn’t mean He is indifferent; it means He is our Savior, ever committed to showing us the full extent of His love—its width, length, height, and depth how wide, long (Eph. 3:18-19).
Only His love, can free and change us. Only His love is better than life. Only His love is enough. In my most gospel-sane moments, I know this to be true—my truest truth. Nobody or nothing has to change for us to be at peace and joyful.
So….when we disagree, love still. Love like Jesus loves us. Love no matter what. Love your betrayers and other enemies. Love forever. Love and follow Jesus. THEN…love each other.
ONE LAST THOUGHT…
Some people try to defend Judas by arguing that he betrayed Jesus in order to force Him into revealing His power and setting up the Jewish kingdom. Others say that he was nothing but a servant who obediently fulfilled God’s Word. Judas was neither a martyr nor a robot. He was a responsible human being who made his own decisions but, in so doing, fulfilled the Word of God.
He must not be made into either a hero (“After all, somebody had to betray Jesus!”) or a helpless victim of merciless predestination. Judas was lost for the same reason millions are lost today: he did not repent of his sins and believe on Jesus Christ (John 6:64–71; 13:10–11). If you have never been born again, one day you will wish you had not been born at all. This is a matter of life or death.
Dear Jesus, you are our loving Master, not our private masseur. Forgive me when I forget the first and start demanding the second. Forgive me for plugging my “happy-cord” into what people think, or what I have, or anything besides you. By the gospel and the truth of your Word, keep renewing my thinking every hour of every day. You are already my perfect righteousness; I long for the Day when I will be made perfect in love (1 John 3:1-3).
In Your Powerful Name I pray, Amen.