The first Easter that I truly mourned for Jesus was two years ago. I cried as I went to bed on Good Friday as I finally scratched the surface of trying to understand how His disciples must have felt that night. My sweet husband held my hand as I cried and we fell asleep.
Last year I mourned again and I cried and prayed a lot for Judas Iscariot. I remember going for a nature walk with my family and my sweet girls holding my hands as the tears flowed.
I am not sure why I have been so greatly blessed with so many tears during Holy Week the last two years, but I pray for tears of true sorrow for my sweet Jesus to flow again this year. I also pray for you to join me in this great sorrow NOT because misery loves company, but because following our tears we will together rise to great heights of joy on Easter morning as we again celebrate that He is Risen, He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, my friends.
May all of the glory for ever and ever be given to Him! Amen.
Some believe that Jesus told Judas Iscariot to betray him.
In the Gospel of Judas, Jesus said, “But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”
If this is the case, then Judas acted out of obedience and faith in Jesus and he was given the strength to follow through with Jesus’ request. Imagine for a moment being Judas once things had been set in motion and he was outside the loving gaze and light of Jesus. Imagine the torture and suffering he put himself through questioning his actions, wondering if he had acted within the will of God or made a mistake. Imagine the tortured thoughts he experienced as he second guessed his actions under the criticism and hatred of those who had once called him brother, his fellow disciples.
It is so hard to keep our hearts and our heads clear and open to God’s message, and then once we are bogged down with fear of a mistake or acting selfishly rather than within His will, we pull yet further away from Him and our faith is so quickly drained from us.
I think it is in these moments of fear that we have to breath deep, and know our faith is being tested. The moment our faith begins draining from us, is moment that we must hold tight to it and thank God for our current suffering, questioning and lack of confidence in our actions or words. We must continue to reflect even more on His perfect plan and remember that sometimes acting within His will might not be comfortable. If we have stepped off the path, there is a lesson within each step and we must remember that He loves us so much that He will not let us stray far before He begins nudging us back on track.
I said something a few days ago that I so deeply regret, that I can now actually appreciate why some people take a vow of silence. I am not sure if I was on track or off track with what I said, but even through my regret I am trying very hard to be thankful for experiencing these feelings of regret, for the increase in my desire to be pleasing to God (through silence if necessary) and for yet another opportunity to empathize with Judas.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for everything.
I was looking back through some previous blogs I have written (I think I am my biggest fan… ha ha ha), and I came across a blog I wrote in July 2012 titled Betrayer and Beloved?.
At the end of this blog I asked our sweet Jesus, “Please help me to love Judas Iscariot as you love him.”
Guess what I just realized… I have fallen in love with him. I fell in love with him during Lent 2013, and I have been thinking of him, crying for him, praying for him and loving him ever since.
I think our sweet Jesus answered my prayer and has shown me how much he loves him by opening my heart to Judas Iscariot and helping me to fall in love with him too.
Knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7)… ask Jesus to show you how much he loves someone you don’t understand, someone you fear, someone you dislike or might even hate and just maybe your eyes and your heart will be opened to how much Jesus loves this person and you too will begin to rise above your fear and hatred and will begin to fall in love this person too.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7), my sweet friends!
I love the song The Hammer Holds by Bebo Norman.
When I first heard this song about a year ago I thought of Judas Iscariot. I thought of the love he must have felt for Jesus when he first met Him. I thought of how fervently he wanted to follow Him, to be good and to care for and help the poor. I thought of the dreams he must have had for himself as a follower, a disciple and a friend of Jesus. He possibly imagined that God was shaping him into a perfect piece of art that would be displayed for all to see. Then I imagined his pain, his sorrow, his despair and possibly the numbness he felt when he realized that God’s plan was not for him to be displayed as a perfect piece of art, but instead God’s plan was for him to betray Jesus, betray the blood of a guiltless man. When I thought of this I cried and cried and cried for this man whom it would have been better for if he had not been born (Matthew 26:24).
Tonight I saw that a friend had taken the quiz, Which one of Jesus’s disciples are you? so I decided to take it too. Guess which disciple I am? Judas Iscariot.
WOW… I was shocked and so sad that this computer quiz calculated that if I had been there 2000 years ago and been blessed beyond measure to be chosen by Him as one of His 12 disciples, I would have been His betrayer. I would not have been sleeping in the garden as He prayed, but instead would have been wide awake leading those blind with hatred and envy to Him, my Love. It would have been me…
Ever since empathizing with Judas Iscariot through Bebo Norman’s song, I have prayed that Judas Iscariot only found the courage and strength to betray Jesus purely out of obedience to Jesus and faith in Jesus. I still pray for this to be true, and my hope lies in the fact that so many things are upside down and turned around from what they seem, our treasure lies not in the bank but in our love, the first shall be last and the last shall be first, the veil is still drawn, the truth is still hidden, but someday all will be revealed… and until then I am praying for Judas.