Day 3 comes a little late as I have been working on ZOOM meetings & how to make that work for livestreaming worship. I ask for your prayers as I enter into this new phase of doing worship. I also ask for extra grace as we will continue to work out glitches.
On this day we are going to look at Matthew 26:14-16. Just as yesterday's Scripture was incredibly long, today's is quite short. In this passage we read of Judas Iscariot & his willingness to hand Jesus, his friend & teacher, over to the authorities for a measly thirty pieces of silver. This is the amount of money that slaves were typically sold for.
I'm sure we've all asked ourselves many a time, "Why would Judas betray Jesus?" It had to do with the same temptations that we see in our world today - MONEY & POWER. Judas, as the treasurer of the money given to these disciples, just knew Jesus had come to establish a new government & he would receive a very high position. Like Secretary of the Treasury & maybe even get his picture put on a coin. When Jesus allowed Mary to pour an entire bottle of perfume on him, costing about a year's salary for most, he realized Jesus had not come to set up this kind of a kingdom...it would not be a political kingdom, or physical kingdom. His chances to make a name for himself were wiped out. Yet, he did make a name for himself, did he not? But not the name any one would want to be remembered for.
Judas had spent three years with Jesus hearing every message, every parable, witnessing every miracle, walking the dusty roads, eating meals together. Judas had seen heaven breaking into this world & turning injustice, injury, illness upside down. Everything did not just change on this Wednesday of Passion Week. Judas had been backsliding for some time. Maybe he was no longer showing up for prayer time. Maybe he was off trying to collect more money while Jesus was teaching. Little by little, Judas was turning away from the only One who could give him the things he really needed in his life. Judas' backsliding had been a slow process, just a little bit over time. Skipping a Sunday at the temple, reading the scrolls maybe only every other day, praying always, finding other things to do then spend time with Jesus. Does this sound familiar? It's a part of a path any of us can certainly stray onto if we're not careful. I've always wondered why Judas' eleven friends didn't notice a change. That's what brothers & sisters in Christ are supposed to do. We check in on each other.
Maybe some "stuff" was just happening in Judas' life that we don't know about. You know discouragement, hurts, disappointments, bitterness & the list goes on. Although Judas was the one who took the bait of temptation & turned Jesus over to the authorities, it could have been any one. Have we ever had a Judas moment...where our emotions overrode what we knew to be true about our Savior? I pray that we all have Christian people in our lives that we can go to & seek guidance. Please know I am always here if you just need to talk, cry, vent, or just BE.
I want to leave you with a story that my oldest daughter Lindsay used that was passed on to her by her pastor as she lead on-line devotions for her Bible Study group this evening. It will give you goosebumps!
How the Virus Stole Easter
By Kristi Bothur
With a nod to Dr. Seuss 😊
Twas late in ‘19 when the virus began
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.
People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.
As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.
People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.
April approached and churches were closed.
“There won’t be an Easter,” the world supposed.
“There won’t be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can’t go about.”
Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.
“Easter can’t happen this year,” it proclaimed.
“Online and at home, it just won’t be the same.”
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it just would not relent.
The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.
“Pooh pooh to the saints,” the world was grumbling.
“They’re finding out now that no Easter is coming.
“They’re just waking up! We know just what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.
“That noise,” said the world, “will be something to hear.”
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.
And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.
But the sound wasn’t depressed.
Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn’t be so!
But it grew with abundance!
The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!
Every saint in every nation, the tall and the small,
Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!
It hadn’t stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
Stood puzzling and puzzling.
“Just how can it be?”
“It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money.”
Then the world thought of something it hadn’t before.
“Maybe Easter,” it thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
And what happened then?
Well....the story’s not done.
What will YOU do?
Will you share with that one
Or two or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share the source of your life in this fight?
The churches are empty - but so is the tomb,
And Jesus is victor over death, doom, and gloom.
So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.
May the world see hope when it looks at God’s people.
May the world see the church is not a building or steeple.
May the world find Faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.
May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
But not only that -
Let it start a revival.
And all God's people said...……..AMEN & AMEN!