It was just too beautiful today for only 1 run. I started my day with an early morning 5k around Apple Creek, OH with my bride. We did a slight variation of my legendary “Triangle Route”. I call this variation “the Arrow Head”. We ran 3.1 miles in 30 minutes and 46 seconds, which is an average pace of 9:55 per mile. Jodi said she wasn’t “feeling it” this morning, but she did great.
My second run for the day was with the Wooster Running Group that meets every Wednesday night at Vertical Runner of Wooster at 6pm. I got in with a fun group of guys, several of whom ran Boston last year. They were talking about the miserable, cold, wet conditions of the marathon and how much fun they had while in Boston. I hope to be there next year!
We ticked away the miles and wound up running a total of 6.1 miles in 46 minutes and 29 seconds. That was an average pace of 7:35 per minute. It was raining off and on while we ran and at the end there was an epic double rainbow.
This morning I was reading through Matthew 25-27 and had to laugh to myself a little bit. I have become known as the guy who gives a much longer answer than needed. You may figure that out by reading my blog posts… if you can make it through them…
When people ask me a question, I have a tendency to go into great length and great detail when offering an answer. In fact, certain people who know me well will often ask me a question and follow it up with, “I want the short version of the answer.”
It appears that Jesus had this same tendency.
Matthew 25 starts with the Parable of the Ten Virgins, but this parable is told as a continuation from Jesus’ answer to a simple question from His disciples in Matthew 24.
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3, ESV)
This simple question prompts a nearly 100 verse answer from Jesus in which He talks about the signs of the end of the age (Matthew 24:4-14), the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15-28), the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:29-31), the lesson of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32-35), the fact that no one knows the day and hour of His return (Mathew 24:36-51), the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and the final judgement (Matthew 25:31-46).
Then we have his wrap-up reminder at the beginning of Matthew 26.
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1–2, ESV)
He gave them way more information than they had asked for regarding the last days, but then He was sure to remind them of what was going to happen in just a few days.
Several verses later we see the beginning of the end of Judas Iscariot.
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14–16, ESV)
I want to take a moment to talk about Judas. I personally feel that Judas gets a bad wrap. He did, of course, betray Jesus. I suppose some of the negative feelings towards him are right. But before we just shake our heads or our finger at him, I think we should consider his motive.
Was he really motivated by the thirty pieces of silver? Was that what drove him to betray his friend, Jesus?
Matthew 26:14-16 could indicate his love-for-money-motivation. I don’t think that was the main factor, though. Notice that he went to the chief priests with a simple question: “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?”
I get the sense that he would have delivered Jesus for 1 piece of silver. Maybe 0. Why? Did he hate Jesus?
Maybe. I don’t think so, though.
I personally think Judas loved, respected, and believed in Jesus. The problem, I believe, is that he believed in the wrong Jesus. Or to put it another way, he believed that he could force Jesus into the mold of his own making and desire.
Why would I say this? Judas was a zealot. That is who he was when he met Jesus, and apparently hanging out with Jesus did not change his thinking like it should have. After several chapters of hearing about the end of the age (as previously mentioned), I believe the waiting was just too much for Judas. He wanted the Romans to be overthrown by the Christ, and he wanted it NOW!
I don’t believe Judas saw himself as betraying Jesus. I believe he saw himself as ushering in the new Kingdom. In his mind, if he could somehow force Jesus into fighting back, then the fight would not stop until Jesus was rightfully on the throne, the Jewish nation was once again established as the most powerful nation in the world, and Judas would be right there among the twelve closest friends of the King. This, I believe, was his true motivation. If he could get thirty pieces of silver thrown in, great! If not, no worries. I believe that he was hell-bent on turning Jesus over either way.
When his plan didn’t work, when Jesus was in chains being led away to be slaughtered, I believe it was simply too much for Judas to process. In fact, he tried to fix the mess that he made by returning the thirty pieces of silver, but the chief priests wouldn’t accept it. Their only desire was to see Jesus killed. Thirty pieces of silver was a small price to pay in comparison to their own evil desires.
Judas could not live with his decision, and he could not live with his disappointment of Jesus.
Why didn’t Jesus fight back?! Why didn’t He overthrow Rome and restore Israel?! What have I done?! It wasn’t supposed to end this way…
It is sad that after all this time of being in the presence of Jesus, Judas never actually heard Him. He only heard what he wanted to hear. He only saw what he wanted to see. He missed Jesus, and that is why his heart was so easily led astray by Satan.
Even after his betrayal, I believe that Judas could have found the mercy, grace, forgiveness, and restoration that Peter experienced after failing Jesus in His moment of greatest need. Unfortunately, Judas never really knew Jesus. If he had truly known Jesus, he would never have taken matters into his own hands and tried to force Jesus into action. If he had truly known Jesus, he would have asked for and received forgiveness. If he had truly known Jesus, he would not have lost hope and hung himself.
Does this description of Judas change your thoughts about him in any way? It does for me. It also changes the way that I approach Jesus.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us,” A.W. Tozer
I don’t want to hang out with Jesus, but actually miss Him. I don’t want to worship Him for who I think He is, but for who He really is.
*5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 is brought to you by Jeff Polen Music and Vertical Runner of Wooster. If you are joining the fun, don’t forget about the Facebook group, the Strava group, and the printable PDF.