“Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’” John 18:37
“For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
- It’s time to meet with your Jesus! Whether it’s in your comfy chair with a cup of coffee or at the kitchen table before the kiddos awake, there is never
a wrong way to spend time with Jesus.
- Read John 18, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal His message directly to you. Write John 18:37 in your journal.
A Matter of Grace
Our study of John so far, through chapter 17, has been about the life of Jesus. However, in chapter 18, John takes a sharp turn. This is where Jesus’ ministry, miracles, and relationships with His disciples end and the road to the cross begins—with one kiss. Matthew 26:48-49 says, “Now the betrayer had
arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.”
Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose Judas to be part of the elite twelve, knowing Judas would betray Him?
The Holy Spirit entered my life in the fall of 1998 when I was 26 years old. Soon after that, I married the love of my life and a year later I became a mom. Another year later, while six months pregnant with my second child, God spoke to me. He wanted me to start VBS in my church. Never having led anything my entire life, I was terrified (and hormonal).
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
I followed God’s call, serving as VBS Director for eleven years. Even though it was such an amazing calling, it wasn’t an easy one. I’ve dealt with various issues over those years, but the most difficult part was holding my team members accountable. To be fair, I tend to give 110% in anything I commit to—volunteer or not—and I expected the same out of my team. As you can imagine, my expectations weren’t always taken well. Some volunteers refused to serve under me, while I watched others flourish.
What does this have to do with Judas?
Everything Jesus did in the flesh, He wanted us to mirror. He selected the twelve disciples to carry out His will, knowing He would be deceived by Judas. Jesus extended grace over and over again to Judas. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Judas hardened his heart and eventually, the truth came out the moment he kissed Jesus’ cheek.
1 Corinthians 4:5 says, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time, each will receive their praise from God.”
Whether we face difficult people in our children’s schooling, church fellowships, or daily lives, we are required to extend grace—overlook offensive behavior—so they experience the love of God in action. Didn’t Jesus die for that very reason? Just as He extended grace toward us while we were still sinners, He wants us to be graceful with others because they don’t deserve it. It seems foolish that Jesus would keep Judas in His tight group of men, knowing he was a traitor. Yet, He continued to bless him. Unlike Jesus, we don’t know someone’s heart. Maybe the person we think is a Judas is really a John in the making.
**DISCLAIMER: Extending grace works for most situations, but not all. Obviously, there are more serious situations in which you may need help to deal with someone’s behavior. You could get support from your husband, church leaders, or even law enforcement. Seek counsel if you are distressed or fearful in an encounter or relationship.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Do you feel God has abandoned you? Read Jeremiah 29:11 again. Ask God to reveal His plans for your life.
- According to John 18:1-14, what was Jesus’ response to the soldiers?
- Is there someone you struggle to be friends with? Pray and ask God to help you. If it’s a destructive relationship, pray 1 Corinthians 4:5 for God to expose motives.
If you believe and have received Jesus as your personal Savior, invite an unbeliever you know to your Easter Sunday service. Many unchurched people will attend a special holiday event, so take this opportunity to reach out to them. It may be the beginning of their journey to Christ.
If you have never prayed to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, it’s as easy as A, B, C: Admit to God you’re a sinner (Romans 3:23). Believe that Jesus is God’s Son (John 3:16). Confess your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).