Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Preparing Our Hearts For Easter: Watch Your Heart
Amid the significant and meaningful events of the final week of our Lord’s earthly ministry exists the cruel and hateful act of deception. Although we do not know exactly when the idea of a deception surfaced for Judas, we do know that Satan himself controlled the heart of Judas Iscariot and created an undeniably sinister plot that led to the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel account reveals Judas approaching the Chief priest and offering to trap Jesus for a price; this offer took place after the account of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany and before his last supper with the disciples.
Judas desired and expected Jesus to start a political rebellion against Rome; after the anointing of Jesus in Bethany, Judas realized that was out of the question (as the words of our Savior on that occasion demonstrated His willingness to go the cross). In response, Judas abandoned all hopes for such a rebellion, and turned to deception. The Bible teaches that after an offer of 30 pieces of silver, Judas began to seek out a perfect time to hand Jesus over to the authorities (Matthew 26:16). Premeditated. Planned. Driven by monetary gain. These are the realities of the deception that began in Judas’ heart that dark day during the passion week of our Lord.
Pause for just a moment; listen to the haunting cry of the deception that occurred that day. What drives one to deceive? Is it greed? Perhaps a passionate desire for what one thinks is right? Maybe selfishness? Whatever the diagnosis of a heart of deception, herein is a sobering reality for each of us. No rational thinking person would ever see himself or herself as betraying Jesus. So, for most of us, we are not worried that our hearts would stoop to such an act. However, if considering the number of occasions we were driven by our own selfishness, or frustrated because we did not get our way, then we might admit that our hearts are susceptible… but, we would continue to intently argue, “betrayal of Jesus, NEVER!” However, those seemingly all too common attitudes of the heart are what drove Judas to be controlled by Satan to commit such an egregious act as betrayal.
In view of such a fall as that of Judas, we who truly love and serve Jesus must keep our hearts guarded against selfishness, pride, and other attitudes that can promote our desires over a love for others and a love for Jesus. Using advice from the book of James, let’s submit to God and resist the devil, especially concerning our own desires and our own preferences. (James 4:7) Today, let us recommit ourselves to a true denial of self and a genuine surrender to Jesus Christ. May we decrease and may Jesus increase in our lives! What a great way to prepare for Easter.