Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reactions to the Dark Road

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, He said to His disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” ~ Mathew 26:1

What do you do when you get the bad news?  When things take a turn for the worst?  When clearly the thing you feared is about to happen?  Or worse, when something you never dreamed of happens?

This was the place where the followers of Jesus found themselves.  They knew Jesus was the Messiah but they thought Jesus had come to take Jerusalem from the Romans.  They expected Jesus would be king, and and they would be the top men in His new kingdom.  Of course, Jesus would be king, but not in the way they expected.  This was a U-turn down a dark road for them.

Judas, one of Jesus' closest follower had this reaction:

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him [Jesus] over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over. ~ Matthew 26:14-16

In the past, I thought Judas betrayed Jesus for money.  This week, while listening to a message on this passage, I realized this was not about the money.

It was about gaining control.

Many times, Judas had seen the religious leaders try to trap Jesus before and He always escaped.  Judas did not expect Jesus to die, as we see later in the scriptures (see Matthew 27:3-4).  Judas wanted to force Jesus' hand.  Judas thought he knew better than the Son of God and wanted to maneuver Jesus into declaring Himself Messiah and King on his timetable.  In face of the unexpected turn onto the dark road, Judas tried to control the situation.

As I reflected on this I thought -- often I do that same thing!  Many times my reaction just like Judas, not to accept and deal with the difficult situation, but to try to manipulate and control.  Like I know better than the Son of God.

Judas, the infamous betrayer was not the only one who reacted negatively.  Even Peter, the disciple who would one day lead the church, reacted this way:

Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to You!” ~ Matthew 16:22

Then I noted how Mary of Bethany reacted to the news:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on His head as He was reclining at the table. ~ Matthew 26:6-7

Mary reacted by truly hearing and understanding what Jesus had said.  She thought not of herself, but of Him, as she took this last opportunity to comfort and bless Him in this beautiful act of worship.  Mary understood Jesus is King and He is worthy of worship, even on the dark road.  The disciples scoffed and objected to her extravagance, but Jesus praises her for it:

Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to Me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me. When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” ~ Matthew 26:10-13 

Reflecting back on my worst "dark road" times, I can see now that often Jesus rescuing me from a dark place.  He was in fact, saving me then too, The road out was difficult and I did not want to go, but my Beloved Jesus led me out, sometimes pushing me out while I was kicking and screaming! Because He knew what was best for me.

Jesus, thank You for showing me that when I attempt to control the situation, try to make things work out the way I think I they are supposed to, I am acting like Judas who betrayed You!  God forbid I should continue in this sin!!  Please help me hear Your voice, trust You, worship You, and believe You know what is best, even on the dark road.

Read the whole story in Matthew.

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