Scripture: 14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.
16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
[Matthew 26:14-16 NLT]
Making plans with a group of friends can be challenging. Everyone has their ideas about what the group should do or where they should go. It can even be frustrating when everyone has their favorite place to go and no one is willing to compromise. Usually, after some back and forth the group ends up making a decision that everyone agrees upon. The process is the challenging part, but once the decision is made everyone has a good time because you are all together. However, occasionally there is a friend who agrees to the plan but is really just waiting for a better offer to come along. You know the type, right? They agree because they don’t want to create too much of a fuss and in the back of their mind they believe a better option will come. My advice, for what it’s worth, is don’t be that person. To that person the decision really is based on the question, “How much is in it for me?”
In our Scripture today Judas is that person. Judas is one of Jesus’ twelve closest disciples and friends. He has been there every step of the way with Jesus and witnessed the teaching, healing, and miracles firsthand. But Judas is that guy … the one who asks, “What’s in it for me?” Literally, that is the question Judas asks the leading priests, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” Judas was a follower of Jesus who had given up everything he knew in order to follow the teacher. Even with all of the amazing experiences with Jesus, he found himself falling into the “what’s in it for me” mentality. Christianity judges Judas harshly and rightfully so. Yet, are we that different?
Please tell me you have never, at least subconsciously, had that thought about following Jesus. If you have never once considered the cost of following Jesus you are rare. Jesus actually urged His followers to consider the cost of following. In Luke 14:28 we read, “But, don’t begin until you count the cost.” Jesus wants us to count the cost. Jesus wants for us to consider what we are being asked to give up in order to follow Him. Jesus does this because He knows it is human nature to consider what we are going to get in return. That is why Jesus tells his disciples in Luke 14:33, “So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.” Jesus calls us to radical discipleship specifically because Jesus knows we want to know what we are receiving in return.
So the question for us today remains, “Have we given up everything?” Because it is more likely that we are still wondering how much is in it for us. At the very least we are still considering how much we will have to give up. In our cultural reality it might be better to consider what we will put before Jesus. Will we put career advancement before Jesus? Will we put a bigger house before Jesus? Will we put relationship, toys, trips, our 401k, or anything else before Jesus? So, have you given Jesus everything in your life? There is a reason Jesus asks His followers to give up everything. Jesus wants those who follow Him to “have life and have it abundantly.” Today ask, “How much will I give Jesus?”
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for ALL you gave for me, especially Jesus. Remove any selfish desires from me. I desire to give everything to you. I desire nothing for me. I long only for you to be glorified through me. Empower me to live for you today and let your Holy Spirit shine through. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.