This past weekend I read a lot of status updates on Facebook stating the page owners belief that Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection. So many believe that Christ has indeed risen from the dead and that He is alive, but yet choose to live in bondage.
That is what we do sometimes in our walk with Jesus. We have the Bible stories down deep in our hearts, but we have yet to convince ourselves the freedom the cross represents can be applied to our life. It’s great for others, but our sins can seem to big.
Please don’t think if you had “He is Risen!” or “The tomb is empty” on your Facebook or any other social media site, that I’m talking about you. Some people truly get that Christ died and rose again for all of their ugly, while others are selective of what sins they allow to be nailed to the cross.
Saturday night I was reading the different accounts of the Easter story in the Gospels and was really struck by a short little verse.
Jesus had just finished praying and was in the Garden of Gethsemane surrounded by some of His sleeping disciples. Only Jesus knew Judas had secretly betrayed Him and was on his way to the garden with accusers in tow. His chosen disciple was about to turn his back on his Teacher’s face for a few coins that Judas would never spend…
Now Judas, who betrayed Him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
What struck me is how Jesus was betrayed in a familiar place not only to Him, but to The Twelve. A place that had memories rooted in its soil by this select group of men.
A place that Judas probably had shed some tears, shared some laughter and showcased his struggles with Jesus and the other eleven.
Maybe he had some breakthrough moments in the place.
Did he ask his Rabbi questions in the Garden of Gethsemane and lie awake at night thinking of Jesus’ answers?
Were there times that he knelt on the garden ground at the feet of Jesus while He laid hands on Judas and prayed over the one He knew would soon turn away?
Judas “knew the place”.
How often in my walk with Christ, a familiar place, have I chosen betrayal instead of Jesus? I have done exactly as Judas did and turned away. I have stood in the garden and instead of seeking Him, I have turned my back on the One who rose from the grave for me.
When I had my affair, I wasn’t on unfamiliar ground. I was a youth leader for my church youth group. It was a place I was prayed over, cried to God in and the very place I found healing.
When I had my abortion, I was again in familiar surroundings. I was even asked moments after leaving the clinic to serve in my church the next day for Easter.
My betrayals of Jesus have been in places that I once met Him on my knees in a passionate desire to have Him invade my heart. I knew the place. I was no stranger to the garden of a changed life and yet, I turned away from Who I really wanted. I didn’t betray Him for a few coins, but instead for lies, cheating and a baby I refused to allow to live.
Like Judas, my betrayals have been done in secret and for years I believed that what I had done could never be nailed to the cross my Savior hung on. But now I know different. I believe with all my heart that the choice Jesus made to participate in God’s plan of salvation was with my sins in mind. He knew I’d need freedom from the guilt and pain. He knew that one day I’d desire His glory more than keeping my secrets.
HE IS RISEN! THE TOMB IS EMPTY!
Do you really believe He has risen? Then let’s live like it.