Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Do you ever hear anyone naming their son Judas? Not often.

No, Judas ruined that name for all time. Let’s take a look at this final disciple, always named last. Ish means “man.” The name of his town in southern Judea was Kerioth, thus “man of Kerioth,” Judas Iscariot.He was the only one who was not from Galilee. Judas wore the tag of “outsider.”

That said, he went through all the teaching sessions of Jesus, where he was reminded to seek forgiveness of sin, and learn to love unconditionally. He saw the miracles and had a first hand view of Jesus’ power. 

How could he experience life with Jesus for three years and still betray him? Sometimes things we see can be seen through different lens. It could be that Judas’ attraction to Jesus was His power and not His message. His goal might have been for Jesus to overthrow the Romans not bring eternal redemption to the people.

He did manage to build up enough trust to became treasurer of the group. John notes, however, a flaw in Judas’ character when the disciples were in Bethany where Mary was anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume.

… Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected.”Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself with what was put into it. John 12:4-6

Who knows the mind of Judas? Perhaps when Jesus rebuked his comment, it prompted him to plan the betrayal. Or perhaps he was ready to help things along so Jesus would have to come forth as the conquering hero over Rome. Whatever his motive,

Judas went to the leaders at the Temple and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented , and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no one [the crowd] was present. Luke 22:4-6

Matthew tells us that they counted out thirty pieces of coins.

It’s interesting that when Jesus said one of them would betray him, the disciples were busy questioning themselves but didn’t seem to suspect Judas, even when he left the room.

What a blow when Judas chose to point Jesus out in the dark with a kiss. Did Judas expect to see Jesus cast them all down, ride a white horse into Jerusalem and declare himself king? When they took Jesus bound, Judas came to himself and regretted what he had done. Back in the Temple, he threw the money on the floor and went out and hung himself.

It leads us to examine ourselves. Have we gone through the motions of going to church, hearing the teachings, but never internalizing the truths or the call for confessing our sin. Or like the other disciples, do we run and hide in the upper room in fear? May we be found, as they finally were, being obedient and taking the gospel to others.

~ Joyce ~

Point of View – “One will betray me”

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

In our point of view this week, we step into the upper room where the disciples are celebrating the Passover meal with Jesus.  

At one point, Jesus tells them that one of them will betray him. This stirs up the group to question, “Am I the one?” Jesus says to them;

“It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” Mark 14:20-21

Matthew would actually have been at the table and must have been sitting close to Judas. 

Judas, the one who would betray him, asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.” Matthew 26:25

Luke, likely getting some of his information from Peter, reports some of the same things, but their attention takes a twisted turn.

The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. (Moving right along…) Then they began to argue among themselves who would be the greatest among them. Luke 22:21-24

What a motley crew Jesus had. Here He has given this dreadful news, but shortly some are more consumed with their “place” rather than a betrayal of Jesus. And these are the ones who are to turn the world upside down! Once again, Jesus patiently reminds them that they are to have servant hearts.

John gives us quite the inside scoop as he becomes a particular part of the dialogue. Intuitive John tells that Jesus is “deeply troubled” and then shares about the betrayal.

The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. The disciple whom Jesus loved (John) was sitting next to Jesus at the table. Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” So John leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I have give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas. John 13:22-26

Each one hears, sees, or learns about a different part of the conversation or actions. We are like that at times. We become fixed on a driving force in our lives and only see that, like Luke’s version, where a few briefly wondered about the betrayal but were fixed on who would be greatest in Christ’s kingdom.

Today, I was about to pull out of my subdivision with my mind fixed on an oncoming car. I decided  I had plenty of time and started rolling out. I almost failed to see a bicyclist who was only a feet feet away from me. When I realized he was approaching, I quickly put on the breaks.

My lesson—don’t let your vision get so mesmerized by a distant thing that you fail to see what’s right in front of you.

~ Joyce ~



Easter – The Pain Before the Joy

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

We settled into the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus walked further in to pray. I felt somewhat relieved that we were outside the city wall of Jerusalem, away from the religious rulers and their antagonistic attitudes. With a busy week and now the late hour, we all tried to follow His advice to “keep watch”, but sleep overtook us.

I felt the thump of marching feet and then heard voices. When I opened my eyes, shadowy lantern light flickered this way and that across the twisted branches of the olive trees in the garden. I poked Thomas and Nathaniel as I jumped up.

It looked like a huge crowd coming up the path with torches and the sound of swords clanging against each other. Terrified, we pushed back into the bushes. Then we heard Jesus voice, speaking to Peter, James, and John.

“Look the hour is near, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:45-46

We pushed deeper into the bushes. The entourage of Temple guards and religious leaders stopped when Jesus called out,

“Who is it you want?” 

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. John 18:4-5

It was then that I saw Judas was with them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him,

“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48

The soldiers stepped forward and arrested Jesus. Some kind of skirmish ensued. It sounded like Peter’s voice and Jesus rebuking him. Before we could understand what was going on they left with Jesus.

We were speechless and totally lacking courage as we sat hunkered down in the bushes.

The other disciples slowly emerged from their hiding places and I did a head count—only nine of us. Peter and John were missing—and of course, Judas. We  wandered back to Jerusalem, slipping around in the shadows of the night.

Early in the morning, we heard voices that grew into a crowd. Pulling our cloak hoods over our heads, we slipped out, blending into the crowd. Pilate stepped out on a portico asking questions of the religious leaders.

What does Pilate have to do with anything? I wondered. As things escalated and the leaders began stirring up the crowd, I soon realized why they had Pilate involved. Only he could hand Jesus over to be crucified. How could it have come to this?

I saw John across the way, his arm around Mary, Jesus’ mother. Some of the other women stood with her, hearing the insults of the leaders and the crowd.

The next time they brought Jesus out, he had been flogged. His face was bloodied by a crown of sorts with thorns sticking into his head. I felt sick. There I was lost in the crowd, doing nothing to help him. We all retreated to the upper room, stunned and frightened.

Later, Peter came in, looking pale. “They’ve done it,” he said. “Crucifixion.” He stumbled to a corner of the room and broke down in uncontrollable tears. My heart felt as if would break in two. What were we to do without Him?

~ Joyce ~