Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Holy Week, day 2: The Betrayer in Us That Needs To Be Removed

The woman with the alabaster vial, who lavished her gift at the feet of Jesus, performed a lovely deed of worship that's still talked about today. (John 12:1-3) In the margin of my Bible, next to the passage in Matthew 26, these words from a sermon by Bryant Barnes some years ago are recorded:

"Love's desire is to give to the uttermost limit. 
There are times when the commonsense view of economics 
must be overruled by the economics of love."

Unfortunately, not everyone who saw her gift of love had her same desire for "uttermost" giving. Judas, the one who said "this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor," (Matt.26:9) was a thief (John 12:4-6) Money, not Jesus, was his god. 

I don't know Judas' primary reason for following Jesus, but one of the reasons he chose to be in the group was because of the offerings Jesus received. Judas liked to pilfer the money box. When the woman gave her gift of love to Jesus, Judas resented it, and the enemy of our souls used his greatest weakness (the love of money) to advance his advantage.

Let's pause for a moment and consider our own greatest weakness. Where is the point at which the enemy most often attacks us? What tactic causes us to stumble? 

We can speculate about Judas' motivation for his next action, but the truth is that one of Jesus' closest friends went directly to Jesus' worst enemies and offered to betray him. Judas was only willing to betray Jesus for money. "How much will you pay me?" he asked.

The chief priests paid him thirty-three pieces of silver, as prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-13. 

In Exodus, this same amount of money was to be paid to the master of a slave who has been gored by an ox. (Ex 21:32) In a way, Judas set himself up as the "master" of Jesus. The chief priests paid in advance for their opportunity to "gore" Jesus with a fatal blow. 

Two people acted upon their feelings for Jesus. Mary poured out her love with lavish abandon. Judas demonstrated the depth of his love when he grabbed for all the money the chief priests would pay for his betrayal.

Thirty pieces of silver bought Judas. 

What would buy our betrayal? For what would we deny Jesus? 

They're sobering questions, aren't they? 

Luke 6 describes Judas Iscariot as the apostle "who became a betrayer", but he could have as easily written my name in that spot. "Leanna, the woman who became a betrayer." Maybe he could have written your name, as well. 

I'd like to think I would never betray my Lord, but my mouth, my attitudes, my actions sometimes do. 

As we move through Holy Week, let's pray for cleansing that removes all the betrayal from our hearts and changes a heart of greed into a heart of giving, a heart of anger and hate into a heart of love and forgiveness, a heart of turmoil into one of peace.

Love gives to the uttermost. That's what Jesus did for us. We can do no less.

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Pleasing Jesus With a Scandalous Act of Love

#betrayal #holyweek #JesusChrist #Judas #linesfromleanna #Leanna Hollis