Tuesday // The Next Chapter
Today’s Reading: Luke 22:1-6 Right now, my family is in a period of transition. In less than a month, we will move across the country as my husband begins a new job. Transitions are hard for me because I can’t imagine what life will look like on the other side: Who will be our friends? What will our community look like? Will this new city suit our family well? Sometimes, all those unknowns are downright scary.
At the beginning of Luke 22, we read about Judas’ decision to betray Jesus. I imagine Judas was confused at this point in the story. His reality and expectations were not lining up, and he faced many unknowns. Judas was waiting for the promised Messiah. In the preceding years, he saw Jesus heal, forgive, and dignify many. He listened to Jesus speak, and he was no doubt familiar with the prophecies Jesus had fulfilled. At the same time, Judas had expectations that Jesus just wasn’t meeting. It didn’t appear that Jesus would overthrow the oppressive Roman Empire anytime soon. In fact, He started talking about serving and even dying, which doesn’t sound very much like a conquering King.
It seems Judas couldn’t handle these unknowns, so he took matters into his own hands. Andy Stanley talks about Judas’ betrayal in a sermon series called Follow (see link at the end of this post). He says that perhaps Judas was trying to force God’s hand, bringing about what he wanted more quickly.
I kind of relate to Judas in that way. The temptation to take things into my own hands is real and strong. In my prayers, I demand clarity. When it doesn’t come, I get afraid and start scheming so I can be assured of a good outcome. Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay put in Orlando, in this comfortable life we already have? I could say no to what God is asking and erase every unknown, but to do so would mean turning my back on the Savior I love so much.
Instead, I try to remind myself of what is true about God: He has never stopped providing for me, His timing always proves perfect, He is always present, He works all things together for good, and He loves me. What more do I need?
My heart breaks for Judas, because he never got to hear the end of the story. He never witnessed the resurrected Christ, and he never had an opportunity to participate in the incredible Christ-centered community that emerged in the first century and has been changing the world ever since.
Unlike Judas, we have the benefit of knowing how the next chapter plays out: Jesus is alive, the Holy Spirit is present with us, and God is setting the entire world right.
Is there a situation in your life that feels scary or uncertain, and you’re wrestling with the temptation to take matters into your own hands?
What do you know about God that will help you hand the situation back over to Him?
My perspective on Judas and his betrayal of Jesus changed drastically after listening to this sermon from Andy Stanley a few years ago. Take some time and listen here.
Written by guest blogger Lindsey Cornett.