“What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” – Matthew 26:15
Sometime before what we call Good Friday, Judas asked the chief priests, who hated Jesus, this question I have chosen as my main verse. The priests counted out 30 pieces of silver. If each piece of silver was a shekel, and a shekel is worth about 4 days wages, then Judas sold Jesus out for 120 days worth of wages. If you are reading this and you have a job, would you sell Him out for a lump sum payment of what you make in 4 months?
I really want to react like, “I’d never do a thing like that!” But, the truth is, I’ve sold Jesus out for much, much less. As a young Christian, I sold Him out to do stupid stuff like cuss, underage drink, sleep around with my girlfriends, lie, and cheat. I knew what He expected of me, and I willfully chose to do otherwise. The truth is, I have been worse than Judas Iscariot, for I sold He whom I have called “my Lord” for far, far less than four months worth of wages.
On that day, Judas watched Jesus be condemned. He couldn’t handle the guilt. He tried to undo his sin. He tried to ask the priests for forgiveness. He confessed to them, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But the priests were of no help, for mere men cannot forgive sins. Judas tried to make it right by giving the 30 pieces of silver back. Unfortunately for him, he found out the hard way that sin cannot be undone, nor can forgiveness be bought with money.
If only Judas could have waited three days. In three days he would have seen the risen Lord. Undoubtedly, Judas would have poured his heart out to the risen Savior of the entire World. Undoubtedly, Jesus would have looked at Judas with the same eyes that looked at the woman caught in the act of adultery and said, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
So here we are in the middle of Holy week. I don’t know about you, but I sit here and type this with such thankfulness in my heart for my risen Lord. I am amazed at how persistent and relentless He is at saving one of His own. We really will find Him, if we will seek Him with all of our heart.
The only way to Heaven is still through Jesus. He said it Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
He either is the only way to Heaven or He isn’t. He is either telling us the truth, or He isn’t.
If you don’t believe He is telling the truth, then He is a liar. All you have to do is absolutely nothing and keep living life on your own terms. It’s what the overwhelming majority of people do anyway, even the majority of Americans who claim to be Christians. Most are no different than Judas, they may stay near where He is, but as soon as He messes with their real gods, they will think nothing of denying Him. Sadly, I only know because I’ve done it.
But, if He is telling us the truth, and if He is the only way . . . if He is . . .
Jesus, thank you so much, for giving your life on the cross of Calvary to save a sinner like me. Thank you for rising from the dead and showing yourself to so many people, proving that you really did conquer death and the grave. Thank you so much for the Gospels. They teach me and tell me all about how you lived, and in turn they show me how I should live. I pray for anyone reading this that does not know you as Savior and Lord. Will you break up the fallow ground of their heart? Will you make one more major attempt at penetrating their hearts and minds that they might be open to receive the free gift of eternal life?
There is and never will be another like You, Lord.
Years I spent in vanity and pride
Caring not my Lord was crucified
Knowing not it was for me He died
Mercy there was great and grace was free
Pardon there was multiplied to me
There my burdened soul found liberty