The Week that Jesus Changed the World
by Wendy Fitzgerald
After the religious leaders failed to trick Jesus with their questions, they pulled away to wait for the right time to arrest Jesus. Jesus began to teach His disciples and prepare them for what would happen after His death. But one of His disciples, Judas, was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Seeing the hatred in the hearts of the religious leaders, Judas took the opportunity. Most of us are familiar with this part of the story of Easter, but have you ever thought what it must have been like to be Judas? What was he like? Why was he chosen to be one of the twelve?
Read Luke 6:12-16
What do we find out about the twelve disciples that are mentioned?
Who is the last apostle mentioned and what tagline is after his name?
The NIV version of verse 16 says: “…Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” The word became indicates that he was not always a traitor at heart, however, the scriptures give hints at the hardening of his heart toward Jesus and the things of God. Read John 12:4-6. So, what happened to Judas? Why did he change from a disciple, whom Jesus chose to be an apostle, to someone who was willing to betray the Savior? Judas allowed his focus to change. Even though he walked with Jesus for three years and witnessed the miracles and heard the teachings, his focused shifted from Jesus and the needs of others around him to his own physical desires. He let his guard down and in doing so, gave Satan a foothold. We see the foothold of sin in the Old Testament as well.
Read Genesis 4:6-7.
What did God tell Cain about sin?
Before Cain murdered his brother Able, God saw that sin was waiting to consume Cain. The NIV version says, “…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Both Judas and Cain knew what was right, but they chose to allow sin to have a foothold in their lives. Their sin was not a single choice, but instead a series of choices down the wrong path. They did not master sin and consequently, sin mastered them! God made Cain a restless wanderer on the earth, and Judas hanged himself. Sin, no matter how innocent it seems, leads to destruction. This destruction is why the Easter story is so important! On the cross, Jesus conquered sin! The sin that longs to consume us can be thwarted through the blood of Jesus. When we place our trust in His sacrifice, He gives us the power to master sin for He is the master of all.
How about you? Have you accepted the power of the cross? If you have never accepted Christ as the Lord of your life, there is no better time than right now. If you have already accepted Him, examine your heart for anything that has a small foothold where sin could be waiting to consume your life. Satan is cunning and wants to destroy you. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are warned, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Although Satan longs to destroy, Jesus came to give life. Today, turn your selfish desires over to God and claim victory over sin through the power of the cross.
Four Minutes of Prayer:
Day One: One minute praising God for sending His Son to be our Messiah.
Day Two: Add one minute asking God to show you who to pray for and invite to church
Day Three: Add one minute asking God to show you how to forgive and love
Day Four: Add one minute asking God to reveal small sin footholds, and then confess and repent of that sin