Friday, January 27, 2017

No Sunset Ride

Not every encounter with Jesus ends with a "saddle-up-ride-into-the-sunset" kind of feeling.  Ask the young ruler who valued his stuff more than what Jesus said to him.  Or, ask Judas Iscariot after his departure into the night after he took the bread from the hand of the One He had betrayed.  Maybe Judas had in his heart forcing Jesus to declare Himself king as some kinder commentators suggest, or maybe his heart was simply under the control of the evil one.  Surely, for the one who carried the purse, it was not just about the money.  There may be a question about the motive, but there is none about his actions.  He took the bread and went to find those who wanted Jesus dead.
It is hard to imagine Judas leaving that moment of encounter with Jesus feeling good.  Could there have been some regret?  Did he feel things had gone too far to back out?  Was he trying to tell himself he was doing a good thing?  Did it seem like he was not only walking into the darkness of night, but also a darkness that was enveloping his soul?  It was surely not an encounter for Judas that was ending well.  He knew as he walked away from Jesus that he was walking away, not just with his feet, but with his heart as well.  After taking the bread from Jesus, the Word says, "...he immediately went out."  (John 13:30)
Unfortunately, most of us have had encounters with Jesus akin in spirit to this one of Judas.  We have heard a word from Him and chose not to do it.  We knew His plan and opted for our own.  We had clear understanding of His way, but "my way" took precedence.  When we leave Jesus with that kind of attitude and mindset in our heart, it is always like walking with a heaviness upon us that will not lift. What is surprising is that like Judas, we still go.  Judas finally came to a moment of trying to make right his wrong, but it was too late.  Today is not too late for us.

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