“Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver for him. And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.” – Matthew 26:14-16 CSB
Things are takin a turn. Judas is ticked because Jesus told him to leave Mary alone and let her worship. He thought the perfume would’ve been of better use if they would’ve sold it to give money to the poor. Jesus, being Jesus, knew better.
Not only did He know the depths of Judas’ heart – that he cared more about the actual money than he did the poor he wanted to give it to – Jesus knew that in order for the plan to play out the way it was supposed to, He had to be sold and betrayed and given over. And Judas was the one that the enemy got to. He went to the religious elite and basically said, “Alright. What are you gonna give me if I give you Him?”
They bartered, made a deal, and Judas was on the lookout to hold up his end of the bargain.
I find myself a lil stuck today. I don’t have much to say except for even in this act, God is sovereign. Even on the brink of betrayal and torture and death, He knew and was in ultimate control.
I don’t understand why our ultimate redemption is kicked off with such a brutal betrayal. I don’t understand why there wasn’t a different way out. I can’t fathom the amount of restraint and humility Jesus had to endure on this Wednesday on His was to Calvary.
I do understand betrayal. I do understand longing for things to be made right.
And I’m so deep-in-my-bones grateful that Judas plotted against Jesus so that the story that ends in my salvation could continue to play out…
We’ve reached the point in our holy week where there doesn’t seem to be much out of the ordinary going on. Jesus is with His disciples and He’s still teaching them via parable. We have the one with the two sons (not the prodigal…), the one with the vineyard owner, and the one with the wedding banquet.
We also get to hear about Jesus’ anointing at Bethany.
“Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair…Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in. Jesus answered, ‘Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.'” (John 12:3-8 CSB)
I don’t know if Mary knew what she was doing – that she was preparing Jesus for burial. But I do know that her act of worship was a costly one. She literally poured about three hundred day’s wages on the feet of a dirty traveler and wiped them with her hair.
Can you imagine the stance of humility she had to take? Pouring out expensive perfume, bending to the ground and wiping Jesus’ feet with.her.hair.
I don’t even like to wipe my own feet with soap in the shower. Let alone, someone else’s with my face right next to them.
The point is – her worship was costly. Yet it was worth it.
Judas gets angry. Jesus blesses her.
Jesus acknowledges that she is worshiping in such a way that she may not even know – she is preparing His body for what is to come.
I don’t think my worship is often costly for me. My closest friends offer safe space for conversation to work out what we believe and lean into in our relationships with Christ. My church is literally named Refuge – offering a place for the weary to come and have some spiritual rest. My family has always expressed trust in Jesus. My worship of Jesus is expected.
My worship has not been costly.
I wonder what it would look like for me to bend down at Jesus’ feet this week, offering up my safe worship for something that will cost just a little bit more…
This Monday does not feel holy. It started out feeling holier than my previous few Mondays, but then I quickly remembered that I forgot a timely work task and yelled a curse word at my empty apartment.
Yet, here we are. Monday of Holy Week. Holy Monday. The day where Jesus entered the temple and turned over the table of the money changers and called them out for turning a house of prayer into a den of thieves.
He was v upset.
I remember a song that I used to listen to on my non-skip cd player that had a deep voice declare at the end of one of the very Christian songs, “My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer.” The version of the Bible I read today doesn’t say it quite like that, but still…
I got to thinking about another time Jesus was in the temple, but a lil less upset. He was 12 and he traveled with his parents to Jerusalem for Passover, as ya do. Jesus, being the perfect pre-teen that he was, stayed behind when his parents were done with the festival. They realize they’re missing the Messiah, so they turn around and go back to get him. His response? “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49 [CSB])
Even then, He was telling us who He was – Son of God, Son of Man.
I doubt the instance we read about in the later chapters of Matthew, Mark, and Luke was the second/only other time Jesus visited the temple. I’m sure he went many times, as was the custom for Jewish people. Yet the people still didn’t get it.
Don’t you know it’s necessary for me to be in my Father’s house? Don’t you know this is a house of prayer, not profit? Do you have any idea what is about to happen to this temple? Do you know that I am the One you all have been waiting for?
Luke tells us in chapter 19 that as Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem before His final Passover, he wept for her, because she “did not recognize the time when God visited you.” (19:44).
Do we know that God has visited us? Do we know that redemption is available? Do we know that He is the One who has healed the broken hearted and bound up their wounds?
May we recognize the time when God has visited us, and may we take a tight hold on the Savior who weeps over us and longs to bring us peace.
Sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to title the blog post. Is this one click-bait worthy? Or just a horrible attempt at wordplay?
Either way, here we are.
I’ve been slowly making my way through the Gospel of John over the last couple of months. A couple weeks ago, I re-read John’s account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in chapter 13.
If you grew up in the church, or have been around for a hot minute, then you have undoubtedly heard this story. Jesus shows us what true humility looks like by washing the feet of his disciples.
Yadayadayada. Heard it a thousand times. Cool, thanks John. Moving on.
Except this time **cue the Word of God being living and active…** I didn’t read the same story I have read/heard hundreds of times. This time, I saw Peter.
Peter asks, in what I assume is a confused and rhetorical tone, “Lord, do you wash my feet?!” Then I continue his sentence in my mind, “Ah, heck no!” And after Jesus gives an answer that I can only imagine Peter doesn’t hear/listen to, he replies, “You shall never…“
When I read that, it hit me – this seems to be Peter’s attempt at humility. He cannot imagine the man he has been living with and watching work miracles for so long bending down to wash his feet. How could this man – the man that Peter declared as Messiah, the One that had the words of eternal life (John 6:68) – how could he ever wash Peter’s feet?
It’s as if Peter, in the most backwards way possible, was trying to protect Jesus from the humiliation of wiping the bottom of his gross feet. Again – Peter’s false humility.
Peter had no idea what he was denying himself by not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. Peter was fighting against the opportunity to allow the Savior of the entire world – past, present, and future – to literally wash over him with water AND the Word. Because, honestly, he was probably too proud.
Sometimes the stance of humility is not not receiving something, or putting yourself down, but rather allowing others to serve you and lift you up because you are incapable of knowing/doing/being everything.
We try to put off this air that we are here to help everyone but that we never need help. We’re the servants, never to be served. But the truth is, we do need to be served.
We need people to tell us the truth. We need people to remind us of who we are. We need people to pick us up when we are down. We need people to wash our feet.
May we never be too proud to say, “You will never wash my feet.” May we, instead, be people that say, “Thank you for seeing that my feet are dirty and for offering to help.”
I recently saw an Instagram story of one of my favorite authors/podcasters/”influencers” in which they said they were going to be speaking at a conference for young girls, teaching them how to live boldly as young Christian women. That phrase – live boldly – made me cringe. Then roll my eyes. Then have painful flashbacks of my time in youth group where I, too, was encouraged to live a bold faith.
What I’m about to say…well…write…I write with the utmost respect and love for where I came from: the Church did not make me a disciple of Jesus when I was younger.
I grew up in the height of things like Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames, Sharing Jesus Without Fear, and True Love Waits. And that’s just scratching the surface of the myriad of programs, discipleship tools, etc that we went through in order to live out a bold faith.
I mean, can you imagine? Who wouldn’tbecome a Christian after sitting through a “theatrical performance” about dying and seeing who’s picked to live in heaven/hell for eternity. THAT STUFF IS CRAZY AND WHY DO WE MAKE KIDS SIT THROUGH IT?!
Also, I have a whole thing about TLW, but I’ll save that for another blog or else this one might turn into a novel.
I grew up believing – and being taught – that as long as I was following the rules laid out before me, sharing Jesus with my friends on a daily basis (per the Roman’s Road layout), and not missing an opportunity to present the Gospel to every stranger I came into contact with, then my faith would be bold and I would be deemed a good Christian.
It was all about the show. All about the numbers.
“Kayla, have you invited _______ to church yet? You said you were going to do that this week.” “Umm, yes, I have, but they can’t make it…” “Well, try again, because their eternity is in your hands.”
Ya know, just your average guilt trip for a 14 year old.
So, when I hear someone say they are teaching young girls to live a bold faith, you can see why I would cringe.
My heart begins to ache for a new generation of young women – and men – that might be led to believe that their “boldness” only comes from how well they have Scripture memorized and how many of their friends actually show up to church with them.
But I’m also afraid we’re attributing the wrong actions to the word we’re using.
The definition of bold is: courageous & daring.
Courageous faith is something I can get behind.
Courageous faith doesn’t just spit out a string of memorized verses to her friends in hopes that one or two words will stick. Courageous faith doesn’t see people as metrics.
Courageous faith bears the burdens of the people around her, regardless of whether or not they convert. Courageous faith loves people because that’s what Jesus did. He knelt down and started writing in the sand while the religious elite wanted to stone a woman. Courageous faith cares more about the person across the table’s heart than she cares about reporting back to her youth group on how many times she’s left a tract for the waitress to pick up.
I want us, Church, to stop shaming young kids into conversion – or into trying to get their friends to convert. I want us to teach them how to know Jesus for themselves, growing deep roots of faith in their own hearts. The “do-ing” of faith can come later. Let’s teach them how to know Jesus and be a beloved child of God before anything else.
I’ve seen too many friends that were “on fire” for Christ when we were younger that are now apathetic about Jesus. It’ll take a different post to give my theory on that, but the nutshell is: we weren’t made to be disciples of Christ, we were made to be disciples of a program.
The older I get the more I’m finding that I don’t want to live the bold faith I was told to live when I was younger. I want to live a faith that is settled, secure, and relies fully on the power of the Holy Spirit to transform hearts. I want my courage to come from something other than a certificate I sign at the end of a program. I want my boldness to come from Jesus because He loves me, not because I’m trying to impress Him with my actions.
I’m okay with trading in my old, bold faith for a new heart that is settled in Jesus.