Wednesday, March 27, 2013


A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Psalm 62:7 NIV

I have been working on Good Fridays service pretty much non stop. All day yesterday was spent picking the video backdrop. We picked a number of reflective videos to play while people are spending time in the various stations around the room. There is an area for communion, an area with rocks that represent the burdens we carry. People will sit in that area holding those rocks until they have released those burden to the Lord and cast them into a basen of water representing the sea of his forgetfulness. There is an area where you can write the sins you are struggling to over come on a card and then nail it to the cross, there is another area where you can be anointed with oil and prayed over. People will be able to stay for as long as they like in each of the areas. The service really has no end because much like the disciples we must wait to see was he a lunatic, a lier, or was he truly the lamb of God who could take away the sins of the world. In this dark time many ran away and hid fearing his fate would befall them as well. Some waited and prayed wanting to believe but feeling the sadness, grief, and the weight of the price that has been paid.

I will probably use the verse above in the area with the rocks and the water. He is our rock of refuge and when we are baptized in Him we are somehow changed.

Today is Wednesday and I have been following along with the things that happened between the triumphal entry of Palm Sunday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Today Judas, one of the twelve disciples closest to Jesus, has gone to the priests.

Matthew 26:14-16
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 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. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

I know you may sit there incredulous, wondering how could Judas do such a thing?  He expected a king who would take back Israel from the tyranny of the Romans. Its looking less and less likely that Jesus will lead the needed a military coup and for Judas, his greed has gotten the better of him. In some convoluted way he may think that his betrayal is delivering Jesus to the people who can actually raise him to power.

He trades Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. God is not surprised by the actions of Judas they are prophesied way back in Zechariah 11:12-13 It seems that thirty pieces of silver was the price one would pay for a slave.   12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.

Matthew 27 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

That thirty pieces of silver is used in the end to buy the potter's field. Before you get self righteous and think you would never have betrayed Jesus like Judas did. I challenge you to think of the times you have allowed the pursuit of money or greed to keep you from fully following Jesus. For some your job is first in your life. You have put it before your family and before your friends, and before your relationship with the Lord. You think if I just work a little harder I will get to the place where I  have enough and then I will follow Jesus. For some you have spent your life making a comfortable life for yourself and your family. Yet you never seem to have enough. 

Haggai 1:6
6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

You wonder why you never have enough. The answer is found a few verses later. 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

If you claim to follow him your priorities must be for His kingdom. 

Matthew 6:33
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Have you been like Judas and chased after money? Have you thought to build God's kingdom the worlds way. Have you favored the wealthy and the powerful and despised and neglected the poor?Have you spent time building your own house and neglected the Lord house and his kingdom work? 

I will remind you once again of the sheep and the goats. In Matthew 25.
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Prayer: Lord we repent for the times that we have betrayed you. The times we have put other priorities before you and and the work of your kingdom. Help us Lord to repent and not be so weight down by guilt and shame that we follow Judas and take our own life. It is not to late to turn and follow you. 

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