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Mark 224 - Opportunity

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Mark 14:10,11

Some bad things that happen, just seem to happen.

The other day I accidently knocked a glass off a table, and it shattered into a bazillion pieces when it hit the tile floor. There was no intent. There was nothing evil of sinister about it. It was an accident. I swept up the pieces and dried the floor. And that was that.

One morning I was sitting at a stop sign and one of our neighbors hit the back of my car. As she got out, it was obvious that she was very sorry. She apologized and offered to pay for the damage.

But then there are things that happen that are intentional. When someone smears our reputation, that’s on purpose. It’s like a powerful sniper rifle that’s aimed by a highly skilled and trained marksman. They’re an assassin on assignment. They’re designed to hurt us and our reputation.

That’s Judas. Let’s get one thing straight: he’s no confused, innocent, guy who accidently does the wrong thing. He’s not being manipulated by those in power. He doesn’t think that he’s doing the right thing. A good thing. That his good intentions somehow all goes wrong.

Look at what Judas does.

First – he went. He wasn’t drawn away. He wasn’t fed a false story like Eve was by the serpent[1]. He wasn’t lured away. He wasn’t tricked. He saw everything for himself. He knew the score and he went. He didn’t go with a gun to his head.

Second – to betray. He didn’t go to negotiate a meeting or peace. He didn’t go to explain things and try to patch up a misunderstanding. He didn’t go to set up a meeting at some neutral site where they could get together and work things out. He went with the express purpose of turning Jesus over to the religious authorities.

And like most evil people, the leaders celebrate inside when they got another convert to their cause. I wonder if they smiled or had that smug smirk that comes from thinking, “We’ve got you now.” And to complete their treachery, they pay Judas for his information. They slip him a little something under the table for his trouble.

With the plot laid out, Judas goes to work. He looks for the right opportunity where they can send soldiers to arrest Jesus. But they don’t want a big, public, public relations event. Just the opposite, they want his arrest done in secret. They want it hidden from the crowds and cameras so they can control the story. After all, he arrived just the other day as a conquering hero, so they wanted to avoid a riot.

Does it seem like other people are always winning? And you don’t? Does it seem like the rich and powerful always get their way? And you don’t? Does it always seem like the winners always win? And you lose?

It certainly can seem like it. They walk right up and get served while you wait, and wait, and wait. They choose from the best while you get what’s left. They drive expensive cars while you’re struggling to pay for enough gas to get to work.

It can cause you to question if there’s a God. And if there is a God, you start obsessing about it more. He’s certainly not all powerful, or he’s not good. I know you think these questions because I think them too.

So, we have a decision to make. Are we going to get angry and pout, or are we going to look at life like God does? You see, the story isn’t over yet, we’ll see and experience trouble throughout this life[2]. But Gods not finished yet. His promise is that while he’ll take care of us in this life, he really shows his kindness throughout all eternity.

The wealth and comfort of this life are but a momentary shadow. What happens for eternity is what really matters. Today is like the fleeting feather at the end of Forrest Gump[3]. But eternal life with God is the true experience. And it’s worth waiting for.

Judas could only see what was right in front of him. He wanted the immediate. What he could see right now. What he could control right now. What he could accomplish right now.

God’s lovingkindness and perspective asks us not to live based on what we see, but what he says is true. We may not be able to see it with our eyes, but it’s real none the less.

This isn’t just an opportunity, it’s our greatest opportunity to live. When we live by faith, we’re living a more real life than the ground we’re walking on. It’s more real than what we can touch.

[1] Genesis 3:1-4 [2] John 16:33 [3]

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