Following a journey of the cross
For the next six weeks, I would like to invite you to join me on the Lenten journey of considering the cross through the various elements involved in the path of Jesus to the cross. We will consider the coins, the whip, the thorns, the nails, the sign, and the palms.
Contemplation on these items will allow us to consider the use of each and the impact it had upon Jesus as well as the implications they can make for our own spiritual transformation. I hope and pray that these short contemplations will help you along your own road to Easter Sunday.
“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” Matthew 26:14-16 NIV
Consider the cross, consider the coins.
Thirty pieces of silver used to buy the death of Jesus.
Imagine if you will the mindset of someone who would betray the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This mindset is so foreign to most of us, it is unfathomable. Yet, Judas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, felt his only option was betrayal, even profiting from the action.
This is hard for any of us to understand.
I often think of the isolation and loneliness Jesus must have felt as he traversed the days and moments leading to the cross.
He shared the Passover supper with the very person who would hand him over to those who wanted to kill him, and the betrayer did this with a kiss.
Jesus even washed the feet of the one who sold him out.
It should humble and encourage each of us to think that the Messiah willingly washed the feet of the one he knew would hand him over.
We tend to fiercely judge Judas, but we are not much different.
In our sinfulness we betray the Savior. We may not intentionally sell our betrayal for money, but we often seek benefits from our disobedience.
Many times, we make solemn commitments to the Lord to follow him and do certain things, yet when it becomes hard, painful or less convenient we easily go back on our word.
This Lenten season is a time each of us can resolve to not go back on our commitments and risk betraying the Lord with our sinful actions, words, attitudes, judgments and postures.
Instead of the tragic regret that Judas found himself as he gave back the 30 pieces of silver and ended his life, strive to turn your back on sin and turn your face towards the cross.
Consider the coins, contemplate on the cross!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.