We are now four days into holy week. At this point during Jesus’s time, religious leaders and officials have been trying to build a case against Jesus. His authority frightened them and so they began trying to entrap him. They had already decided to put him to death but they had to have legitimate cause, so off they went to manipulate him into saying or doing something that went against their laws.
Jesus, of course, gently avoided each pit fall.
That leads us to today. I have seen this particular day referred to as a number of titles by the church as a whole: holy Wednesday, good Wednesday, and spy Wednesday. It’s referred to as spy Wednesday due to the undercover nature of one of Jesus’s closest friends, Judas Iscariot.
Judas puts a bad taste in the church bodies mouth, especially as we remember the upcoming events. It’s so incredibly easy to turn our noses up and think ourselves superior to him, but are we actually?
Judas had an intimate relationship with Jesus. He was one of the twelve! He walked alongside him, eagerly soaked up his teachings, and saw miracles performed frequently. What changed to cause Judas’s betrayal, and more than that, go on to make a conscious decision to seek officials out himself and betray the one who gave him everything?
This wasn’t an overnight shift, it was gradual. You can see through text in the bible that Judas began speaking as a mouthpiece for Jesus. When Mary sacrifices her incredibly expensive oil to anoint Jesus before entering Jerusalem Judas is angry. He places judgement on Mary and questions, “Why was this ointment not sold for 300 denari and given to the poor?” (John 12:5) The bible goes on to underscore the reason for his judgement in that he wanted some of the proceeds, and I’d go as far as to say he likely believed he deserved it. He would have justified it somehow, likely because he’s spent all this time with Jesus, he’d been faithful, he’d done what he asked, and what exactly did he have to show for it?
We aren’t all that different from Judas. It is easy to become comfortable with Jesus. If we aren’t careful the glory of God can become ordinary, because we minimize the greatness of God with our selfishness. We want bigger and better and God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we desire him to.
Take your cell phone or car for example. At one point, it was the best out there. It has everything you want and everything you need. Soon though, someone is telling you there’s a better version. One that has more bells and whistles. It’ll give you everything you desired… until the next model comes out, and the next, and the next, and so on. You’ll never be satisfied if you’re always looking for the next best thing when you have exactly what you need in front of you.
At some point, Judas began looking towards himself rather than Jesus. He turned from worshiping God to worshiping himself.
If you’re being honest with yourself. You’ve been there. You might be there now.
There are A TON of false gospels out there. Any gospel message that is focused on you and your happiness is wrong. That’s not to say that God wants you to be void of happiness, rather its that happiness is found in the savior. Everything else will be gone in the end, but God will remain. If you place your happiness in your feelings or things, you’ll be left standing alone.
When something in the bible makes you uncomfortable or uneasy, rather than discount it and place your own narrative in its place, ask yourself why? It’s likely because of your own sin, and your sin should make you uncomfortable! That uneasy feeling your wearing is God calling you to repent, not justify yourself.
The gospel is not about you or me. It’s about God the father, the son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. When the gospel becomes about you, somethings off. We are all made differently, and we all struggle with sin on every level. It’s all bad and we all are in it.
There’s a trending false gospel right now which essentially advocates for people to be whoever they want to be in every capacity. Essentially its, “You do you! Do what feels good, what feels right.” There is truth in there somewhere as all false gospels are somewhat rooted in truth. That is what makes them so easily deceptive. God wants you to be who He created you to be. He does not want you to be who you choose to be. The gospel actually outlines a different truth, in that we are to strip ourselves of our selfishness and become more like God and less of ourselves. In fact the bible often refers to it as death, that we are to kill off our old selves and live in Christ alone.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him with the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9: 23-26
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15: 4-8
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5: 24-25
Set your minds on things that are above not things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3: 2-3
We have to constantly fight through our own sin to be close to God. It’s easy to minimize God’s desires for us because he chooses a path for us that we wouldn’t ever choose to take on our own.
He also chose to walk that path before us so we wouldn’t have to.
We have to deal with uncomfortable things… even awful, excruciating things in our life at times, but it all ends at the base of the cross. We get to kneel at the cross because our sins hang before us. Take your eyes off yourself and look to the cross. We are nothing without him.
I challenge you to look at your life and find your inner Judas. What are you choosing over God right now? Please feel free to reach out if you’re struggling to understand what is good and what is just of this world. The good news is that He welcomes us back with open arms. We just have to place our sin upon the cross and kneel at his feet.