Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
Judas believed that Jesus was who He said He was.
But Judas was a manipulator – the ultimate manipulator.
When Jesus didn’t act like Judas thought a Messiah should act – storming in to take His throne – he tried to force his Master’s hand.
Judas worked to create a situation that would force Jesus to take His rightful place as king.
What better way to do that than betray Him to the authorities. It was the perfect set-up. When faced with certain death, or at least imprisonment – Jesus would have to unleash His full power.
Again, Jesus didn’t meet his expectations.
He didn’t fight. He didn’t resist. He didn’t upset the government.
Jesus displayed more power and might in His meekness and humility than any king. With the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus proved He was the Messiah.
And Judas’ mistake was exposed with a sickening reality.
His Lord had died and he had a hand in killing Him.
Judas missed the mark with his manipulating and then missed the mark again by ending his own misery with death.
Overcome with guilt and grief, Judas hurried his own death and missed the glorious resurrection of Jesus.
Judas missed Jesus taking the ultimate throne.
The problem with Judas is he wanted Jesus to fit into a Judas-made Jesus box.
When God doesn’t act the way I want, I try to manipulate Him. I use my own planning powers to make things happen the way I think they should happen.
Invariably, I regret my decision and purger myself for missing the mark again.
But Christ didn’t die for me to manipulate or for me to feel guilty. Jesus died so I could live in relationship with Him.
As Easter approaches, the time when we celebrate that glorious sacrifice and resurrection, I want to deconstruct boxes instead of building more.
I want to accept the grace so freely given and be content in the way Jesus chooses to shape my life.
May we celebrate what the Lord does and not what we think He should do.