By Quint Pitts, CR National Director, Welcome Home
The religious elite found themselves once again frustrated in their attempts to publicly discredit Jesus. They had tried to thwart Jesus so many times without success that they gave up on that plan. Instead, they shifted strategies and began looking for a way to secretly arrest him. To their surprise, an accomplice emerged, not from the crowds or from their ranks, but from Jesus’ inner circle—a guy named Judas.
Judas, like all of us, had a hole in his soul. And Judas, like all of us, had a choice: “How will I fill that emptiness?” You’d think that a guy who saw everything that Jesus did and heard everything that Jesus said would actually look to Jesus to fill that void. But Judas had a problem. He had a divided heart, a heart that he propped up with money and the approval of others. Naturally, Jesus doesn’t want to be one God among many in our lives. And we can’t really hide it if we do in fact have other gods. So one day Jesus challenged Judas on his misguided values (which we read about in John 12).
When God exposes misplaced allegiances in our hearts, he’s not doing it to embarrass us. He’s doing it because he wants our whole hearts. So he lovingly exposes the false gods to which we turn. When God exposed Judas’ heart, he faced the choice that each of us must make: “I can receive this as intended—a correction from someone who loves me and wants my whole heart—or I can get offended and resentful.”
Judas tragically chose to be offended and resentful. And every time we choose to be offended, we give Satan a foothold in our souls. With this newfound advantage, Satan offered Judas a way to “get even” and to “get rich” in a single act of treachery. Here’s how Luke describes it: “Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money” (Luke 22:3-5 NIV).
Later that night, Judas betrayed his friend with a kiss.
We despise and hate betrayers. We often view them as the worst of villains! Why? Probably because we’ve all been betrayed ourselves. It is one of the most devastating experiences that we all share.
All humans can relate to the pain Jesus experienced that awful night. He was betrayed by a friend. But we can also, as it turns out, relate to Judas. Because at one point or another, we ourselves have all been betrayers. In fact, every sin we commit is, in its own way, a kiss of betrayal upon the face of Jesus.
Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls us out on our misguided values, just as he did Judas. The question for us is, when he does call us out, will we accept his correction and throw ourselves at his mercy? Or will we choose to be offended and resentful and give Satan a foothold in our souls?