[12APRIL2012] Eastertide Devotional Series
I will be posting this devotional series as part of my Eastertide reflections for the next three weeks (see this link for other installments in the series). Each week of this devotional series focuses on a specific theme (week one: brokenness, week two: repentance, and week three: renewal). I hope you’ll enjoy the series and I invite you to comment here on the blog or email me direct; I would love to hear your thoughts.
Brokenness: Week 1 | Day 4
There is not a great detail of information about Judas Iscariot and the betrayal of Jesus. The accounts we are given from Scripture are all brief and very “matter of fact.” I think it is for this reason that we might not give the brokenness of Judas much thought as it regards the parallels that might exist in our own lives. It is far easier to consider Judas a bad man from the outset…a traitor… something you or I would never be.
As I’ve given the involvement of Judas consideration, I’ve had to admit to myself that I probably have as much or more in common with him than I do any of the other disciples. It is believed that Judas was a zealot, possibly a freedom fighter, who was involved in guerilla warfare against the Romans. In this case, he would have been a patriot, not necessarily a bad thing. He was a man who believed in the Law and the prophecies concerning the Messiah. He was also hand-picked by Jesus, and he had hope for the fulfillment of God’s promises, culminating with the eternal reign of God among men on earth. This sounds like someone you’d like to have on your church leadership team.
I think the problem arises when our expectations, similar to the case of Judas, are unrealized. Judas thought Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman government possibly with the use of force (thoughts of Joshua, Saul, and David may have come to his memory). Jesus’ teaching had been more pacifistic in nature and he was now speaking about dying by crucifixion (the most humiliating of deaths). In all likelihood, it was Judas who was feeling betrayed.
Similar to Judas, our brokenness leads us to have ideas that aren’t always equal to the plans of God. When the sovereign plans of God begin to cause friction with our plans and ideas, we often will feel betrayed or misled by the God we profess our love to. He doesn’t make sense and won’t listen to our best laid plans. While we might not confess our displeasure aloud, inside we might be angry or seething with feelings of betrayal. We might even feel that given the opportunity we could do something radical to force God’s hand into seeing our way of thinking… maybe like Judas was thinking.
Are there times that you have prayed, talked to God, and explained how your plan was so much better than His yet God was not convinced to see your plan as an option? Have you ever been angry with God’s choices? Have you ever given God “the silent treatment” or acted out in some other way to show your displeasure with Him?
Our Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am a broken person. Sometimes I act out in ways that show me as traitorous as was Judas. I honestly do not think I intentionally act out against you, but I know when I think about myself above you and others this is generally what happens. Help me, O Lord, to think first of Your kingdom before I think of myself. Help me to see a big picture that includes Your eternal reign. Help me, Lord Jesus, to understand that suffering in the short-term is sometimes necessary for long-term gain.