One of the most unusual things I encountered in Jerusalem was in an out-of-the-way church on the Mount of Olives. It was adjacent to The Grotto and filled with beautiful artwork. Some of the paintings appeared to have been restored, while others were nearly obscured beneath centuries of grime.

I made my way around the room as I looked at the paintings and finally arrived at a glass-enclosed shrine. Inside, there was a large rectangle of rock.

The Judas Rock

It was (reportedly) the rock on which Judas stood when he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. (Luke 22: 3-6, 47-48) A narrow opening under the lid was just wide enough to allow a piece of paper to slip through. The rock was covered with randomly scattered money and hastily written notes. I stared at the slips of paper and money and wondered…

Why is there a shrine to the betrayer?

Did people truly identify with Judas? Why did they leave letters and money on the Judas rock?

I struggled with this for days. Did people think Judas could answer their prayers? That the money would redeem their sin? It took me a while to come to the conclusion that no one wants to identify with Judas. We already identify with him because we, too, are betrayers.

Our focus, like Judas, is all too often on money, possessions, success, and prestige. We put what we want before the call of Christ. Pleasing ourselves comes before our relationship with Him.

I include myself in that corporate “we,” for, though I hate to admit it, I still put my own desires before Jesus. My first thought is, far more than I’d like to admit, what I want in a particular situation, rather than what Christ wants. Although I usually find my way to seeking God’s will, the first burst of “Leanna worship” is a betrayal of the higher call to the will of God. Neither dollars nor letters of contrition can change that.

Only the grace of God is sufficient.

It’s the greatest paradox that our Holy God would exact the price for our sin from Himself, but He did, and He offers that redemption to all who will receive it.

What can wash away the stain of sin? The black shroud of betrayal? Nothing. Nothing but the blood of the spotless Lamb of God.

Today, let’s choose to love God first and love others as we love ourselves. In so doing, we live as those who have been redeemed.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

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You might also enjoy reading:

When the Hand of God Restored My Hope

When You Try to Hide but God Can Still See

Living in the Shadow of the Cross and Loving Our Enemies

The Capture Bag: When Letting Go of Hurt and Anger is Way Past Due

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