We are at the point in our chronological read where we are discovering the events in the last week of Jesus’ earthly life before His crucifixion. In a very real way, the people in Jesus’ life are approaching a “tipping point.” They are either going to continue to follow Him and go against the religious and cultural majority, or decide that He is not worth suffering for, or being ostracized, or thought foolish, or even killed as Jesus Himself was.
Jesus tells His disciples plainly that His death is only two days away (Matthew 26:1-2). He sends them out to prepare a room where they can eat the Passover meal together before He is arrested. They still do not fully comprehend that this will be their “Last Supper” with Him. Eleven of the disciples are still with Jesus, though one has decided that this “Messiah” is not meeting his expectations and does what he will be remembered for, for the rest of history. His name is Judas.
Judas approaches the Pharisees knowing they are plotting to kill Jesus. He also knows they need an “inside man” so that the arrest will not be so public and messy as to cause the religious leaders any undue bad press with the crowds. He sells Jesus out for the price of a slave (30 pieces of silver). Judas is a secret betrayer. He puts on such a good face that not one of the disciples will suspect that he is the traitor until the deed is complete and Jesus is taken by the soldiers.
There’s a second group mentioned in these last few days. In John 12:42-43 we are told that “many even among the leaders believed” in Jesus, but because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith. They feared being seen as a believer because they “loved human praise more than praise from God.” (John 12:42-43) What a quandary! In their heart of hearts, they knew that Jesus was telling the truth. They recognized His deity, and His words had convicted them. Their eyes were opened to see the truth, but they could not let go of their position (both metaphorically and literally) in order to fully follow the Savior. Sadly, this group of people might be classified as “those who believe” but they will not be true disciples, true followers, until they cross that barrier of fear.
Two types of people with similar reasons not to follow Jesus. Scripture says that “Satan entered Judas” to influence his decision to betray the Messiah with whom he had just spent three years. He coveted the money and chose the wrong crowd. The fearful ones let their pride get in the way. They couldn’t bear to lose their reputation and admit they had been wrong. The praise of men held too much sway over what their hearts knew to be true.
What was your “tipping point”? When did you decide to go “all in” with Jesus? Or, when did you conclude that He’s not worth following, that He’s just “one of many ways” to heaven? Your choice will have consequences that last into eternity. Choose wisely.