Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I turn Jesus over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on he was looking for an opportunity to turn him in (Matthew 26:14-16, Common English Bible).
In yesterday’s lesson, a woman, in his Gospel John says it was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, brought a jar of expensive perfume and poured it out on Jesus’ feet and then dried the feet with her hair.
One of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, was not impressed by these generous actions. He insisted that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor. John also points out that Judas was a thief. John believed Judas wanted the perfume sold because, as the group’s treasurer, he could have helped himself to the money.
I have given this some thought over the past couple of months as I preached on John’s version of this story not long ago. Assuming that John was correct, Judas was all about the money, “all about the Benjamins” as the phrase used to go. Judas wanted what he could get.
Still, what could possess a man to turn on Jesus despite all he had seen during his time as a disciple? When you got to see the miraculous unfold day after day, would that not be enough? Obviously, it was not.
Regardless of whether John’s belief that Judas was a thief or not, it does seem pretty clear that Judas was more motivated by the secular than he was by the spiritual. And, in spite of all we have, all too often, we are more like Judas than most of us would care to admit.
As I write this, I have been researching buying a new car. My current car is getting old and its mileage is getting pretty high. Even if I choose not to buy now, I will probably have to buy before much longer. The temptation is to buy not for practical reasons but to buy for status reasons. I want one car even if having it makes no sense to my life. Society in general and television, in particular, reminds me, I should get what I want. That will make me happy and I deserve to be happy.
Even if it is not a car, for most of us, it is something. Something that, if only I could have this, I would be happy. It may be a car, money, a house, or something completely different (I have talked before about my love of guitars, they fit here too). Whatever it is, we believe they will make us happy. Then, once we have them, it isn’t long before the new wears off and we either regret the decision or we want something else new, something else that will make us happy.
Judas choose the money he thought would make him happy. As we will soon see, that money did nothing to make one Judas Iscariot a happy man. Think about people who have more than they could use in a lifetime. For many, like Judas, they still aren’t happy and they still are not fulfilled. That is because, money or stuff, will never make us truly happy or fulfilled. We have to find that fulfillment in some other place. We find it in living out the will of God.
Where do you find happiness and fulfillment?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved