By Lauren Sudberry
Teaching the Easter story to children is probably one of my favorite things in the whole entire world. It is so exciting to strive to find something new and different to present to the kids. Many of the kids at our church know and have heard the story a million times, yet it is fun to find a way to surprise them with the story! Focusing on something they have not noticed before has been my challenge every year! This year I chose to focus on Judas. When I chose this aspect of the story, I did not expect to be convicted, but let me tell you, Jesus convicts when we least expect it. And I am so incredibly thankful.
Throughout the entirety of the New Testament, Judas Iscariot was always mentioned as “the one who betrayed Him”. Beginning in Matthew 10, that is the title that follows him. The agreement of Judas to betray Jesus comes directly after Jesus was anointed at Bethany. Judas had just witnessed an incredibly selfless act by a woman with a jar of expensive perfume. His mind should have been amazed, and he should have been focused on being selfless towards others.
However, he was focused on the exact other side of the spectrum. He went to the chief priests and asked what he could receive if he turned Jesus over. I can only imagine that when he discovered he would earn 30 pieces of silver his eyes lit up! He was excited and eager to make that money! Matthew 26:16 states that “from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray Him”. Judas did not happen upon Jesus in the garden and decide that he might as well turn Him over. He sought out that opportunity.
I hope and pray that when we read that, we are amazed. Amazed that someone could seek an opportunity to betray Jesus. Surprised that someone could stoop so low for money. I hope this passage makes your stomach turn with uneasiness at the betrayal of the Savior of the world.
However, I believe that we betray Jesus often without even seeking to do it. Now, stay with me for a minute. We may not be as extreme as Judas was, but we are still sinners. God cannot look upon sin. He despises sin. Yet for us, sin can sometimes become a part of our lives without even knowing it. We don’t take the time to stop and think about our actions and the affect they might have on our lives and others’ lives. Sometimes I say things without even thinking about the words that are coming out of my mouth. Sometimes I do things without realizing how it might affect others. We are all sinners. We all do things that we don’t like and that God despises.
However, God loves us so. He desires to walk with you and teach you and help you. No matter what is going on in your life this week, God desires to be right beside you through it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Personally, I am amazed that we serve a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. His love is greater than anything we can fathom.
My challenge for you this Easter season is to think about your life. What sin has snuck into your life without you even noticing? Are you more like Judas than you think? Take that sin and cast it as far away from you than ever, and remember that God loves you. He sent his son to die for YOU. There is nothing you can do to make Him change His mind. You are His child and you are dearly loved. No matter what.