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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 4- Judas Iscariot Plots Aganist Jesus

Matthew 26:14-25
     Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, 7 went to the chief priests 8 and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

     On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, 9 the disciples approached Jesus and said, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"  10 He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples."'" The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

     When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me." 11 Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" He said in reply, "He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. 12 The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

    13 Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He answered, "You have said so."

In this passage, Judas the disciple becomes the betrayer.  He lets greed and lack of faith guide his decision to sell out his teacher to the Jewish authorities for 30 pieces of silver.  Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will betray Him.  And all of them ask, "Surely not I, Lord?"  All of them ask that except for one.  Judas says, "Surely not I, Rabbi?"  The gospel writer is showing us that Judas doesn't believe Jesus is the Son of God(Binz, People of the Passion).  I guess that makes it easier for him to sell Jesus out.

To tell you the truth, Judas is a hard nut for me to crack.  Judas is one of the twelve.  He followed Jesus through out his ministry.  Even if he was struggling with Jesus' true identity, you would think that he at least liked Jesus- that he considered Jesus a friend.  So, I don't get why he did what he did.  Especially since Jesus made his feelings for all His disciples very clear- that he loved them deeply.  I wonder why Judas did it?  I have a hard time accepting that money was the reason. 

Imagine how Jesus felt when he knew that his disciple whom he loved was going to do such a terrible thing.  Something tells me that in that moment, Jesus' suffering began.  Jesus knew that he was going to die at the hands of his enemies.  It must have hurt to discover that one of those enemies was a man in his inner circle.  What is amazing to me is that Jesus laid down His life for the salvation of all souls.  He doesn't discriminate between who likes him and who doesn't.  He loves everyone.  Even Judas.  He even died for Judas.  Maybe the lesson here is that we can turn our backs on Jesus, but he won't turn our backs on us.  His love is as constant and available as the sky is blue.  All we have to do is love Him back.

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