Saturday, March 29, 2014

Station Two - Judas Betrays Jesus

Judas Betrays Jesus
And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss. Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. (Mark 14:43-46 NLT) While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” (Luke 22:47-48 NIV)
Devotional: In the ancient Middle East a man kissed his close friends as a sign of love and loyalty. Followers also kissed their master as a sign of respect. But still - wasn't this an especially mean-spirited act of betrayal? Judas - one of the Twelve who has just shared the Last Supper with Jesus - decides to use a kiss to signal the soldiers as to which one they should arrest. Much speculation has occurred across the centuries about the motivations behind this puzzling act. Was Judas really signaling to Jesus that despite his treachery he still really loved him? Or was his motive darker? Of course from where we sit it is very easy to condemn Judas completely. This action alone explains why Judas remains one of the most despised men in human history. But if we fixate solely on Judas' wrongdoing we'll miss what his actions might say about us. Have we ever betrayed Jesus, not in the obvious and literal way of Judas, but in our hearts and by our actions? Have we ever confessed Jesus as Lord, only to let someone or something else take his rightful place on the throne of our hearts? I hesitate to even mention the fact that sometimes I have worshiped Jesus with my own lips with words, songs, and prayers, only to reject him with my actions. Sadly there has been more than a little Judas in me. And for that I need forgiveness and grace. Don't you?

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