Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is someone I spend quite a bit of time thinking about.
I find myself wondering how someone who literally walked with Jesus and talked with Him, shared meals with Him and witnessed His miracles could betray Him. How could he remain unchanged by Jesus?
I find myself envious of the access Judas had to the Son of God. An intimate, personal relationship. Someone who knew what Jesus’ favorite meal was, the places He liked to visit and the sound of His voice. How could He remain unchanged by Jesus?
I find myself wondering how many sermons Judas must have heard. How many times did He hear Jesus speak of His Father’s love? How many times did He see Jesus extend that same love to those around Him? How could he remain unchanged by Jesus?
I find myself wondering how Judas could have allowed Jesus to wash his feet? How could he have walked away from that intimate moment with Jesus and enter into the presence of Satan himself? How could he remain unchanged by Jesus?
I find myself wondering how Judas could have led Roman Soldiers to the garden where he knew Jesus would be praying. How could he have stood before the Savior of the world with an army behind him. Jesus on one side, Judas on the other. How could he have kissed the cheek of the One who would lay down His life for Judas? How could he remain unchanged by Jesus?
And then I think about myself. And I think about how I sometimes stand with my fist raised in rebellion.
How sometimes I choose my way instead of His way. How sometimes I tell Him not to mess with parts of my life that I want to control. How sometimes I choose to leave His presence and allow my eyes to wander to the things of the world. How sometimes I put my faith in people around me instead of the God before me. How sometimes I seek selfish ambition instead of the glory of God. How sometimes I refuse His best and settle for less. How sometimes I make much of me and less of Him. How sometimes I trade Him for temporary pleasures. How sometimes I serve my own flesh and not a holy God. How sometimes I let my eyes wander from the old rugged cross to a shiny materialistic world. How sometimes I spend time with Him and remain unchanged by Him.
How sometimes I am Judas.
But He loves me anyway. What kind of love is that? It’s a reckless, redemptive, restorative, rescuing, relentless love. It’s a love that is heavy on grace and overflowing with mercy. It’s a love that holds no record of wrongs. It’s a love that is patient and kind. It’s a love that knows no beginning and no end. It’s a love that surpasses all understanding. It’s a love that lays down its own life to rescue another. It’s a love that leaves 99 faithful to seek out 1 who is lost. It’s a love that pierces the heart and changes the mind.
And I must be changed by Him. I am responsible for letting Him in to the deepest, darkest, and most unholy places in my heart. I have to lay out my mess and let Him clean it up. I have to relinquish control of the things I hold tightly to. I have to follow His plan and not my own.
Judas was doing all of the right things on the outside but He didn’t allow Jesus to penetrate the inside.
And that, my friend, is what scares me the most. That we would walk around with the appearance of following Jesus without ever being changed by Him.