Love is in the air. Flowers and chocolates are being sold in every store and dinner reservations can be hard to come by.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it. Half a product of marketing (maybe more than half), and the other part a day where people express their feelings for each other.
Or my personal favorite, when a lot of great romantic comedies come out!
What is Valentine’s Day selling? Love, expectations, relationship pressure? I can’t complain too much – my husband has already bought me a box of chocolates that may or may not be mostly gone.
As Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get”.
Even with the chocolate guide that tells you which one is which, they still look a lot alike and may surprise you. For example, I tried the “dark chocolate vanilla cream” yesterday and it wasn’t what I was expecting – I was hoping for more of a dark chocolate flavor.
What’s happening in your life that hasn’t gone as you expected it? Regardless of whether or not you selected it, or what you thought it was going to be like – was it? And how did you respond?
Do you like to be surprised? Do you like things to go the way you plan them to go?
But sometimes, things fall apart.
And other times, things go better than you thought they would.
In the life of Jesus, a group of men followed him around leading a nomadic lifestyle for several years traveling from place to place. They sacrificed their livelihoods, their families, everything; to follow the man they believed was the Messiah.
However, their concept of Messiah, or the man who had been prophesied about for centuries to come to be the savior, didn’t exactly line up with God’s ultimate plan.
They thought, presently, the Messiah would establish a kingdom of peace on earth – a physical one and would kick back Rome. The Hebrew people would once again have a worldly place of dominance; like in the days of Solomon, and all would be easy and right.
This wasn’t Jesus’s plan, which was to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice in our place as an atonement, or covering, for all of our mistakes so we can have a relationship with God now and forever.
Like a surprising chocolate, this was different than what some people were expecting.
One person who was caught off guard was Judas, the infamous disciple who is known for stealing money, ranting on Mary Magdalene and betraying Jesus over to those who wanted to kill him.
Why did Judas do this? What, exactly, did he do?
If you are unfamiliar, for the price of 30 pieces of silver, a little over $200 comparatively, Judas kissed Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and marked him for the guards to take him away towards his trial and ultimately death.
I think Judas was seeking power or wealth or his own success. He had hoped Jesus would be a powerful earthly figure and Judas would be right up there with him. He had sacrificed several years of his life – surely, he’d be rewarded for his efforts. And if Jesus was going to be the king, the conqueror, Judas would also receive glory and honor and fame.
But something opened his eyes – something made him realize Jesus wasn’t going to be the Messiah they had all expected.
After the triumphal entry, a week before the crucifixion, Jesus preached on a variety of topics after cleaning out the temple: the will of God, obedience, heaven, taxes, the woes to the pharisees, and the end times.
Who knows what, exactly, infuriated Judas. But we know one thing – he knew the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus and he acted in his own self-interests.
He was disappointed with the Messiah.
And after the crucifixion of Jesus, he realized it wasn’t worth it and in despair, threw the money back to the religious leaders and committed suicide.
So, why? He had walked with Jesus! But it wasn’t enough for him – Jesus wasn’t enough. He had tasted that piece of chocolate; it wasn’t what he had planned on and he walked down a path towards suffering and despair.
What about the other eleven disciples? They also were not expecting Jesus to die – despite how many times the Messiah let them know ahead of time that he was going to give himself as a sacrifice for many.
When Jesus was arrested in the garden, they scattered. One of them even ran away naked! Peter cut off a guy’s ear, was rebuked by the Christ, and would later deny him three times.
At the cross, only John and a group of female followers were present while Jesus suffered and died.
But then, three days later – Jesus came back to life, revealed himself to women first (not expected within a patriarchal society but adds more validity to the story), and ministered to his followers for 40 days until the ascension.
A few weeks later, during the festival of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the church in flaming tongues of fire and gave them boldness to preach the gospel.
Every single one sacrificed everything for the truth of Jesus Christ – for the good news of the everlasting kingdom.
For the Messiah.
As He, for them, was worth it.
Sometimes, life is like a box of chocolates: it’s unexpected, unplanned, but it may surprise you for the better.
Or take a turn for the worst.
Like the Matrix, there’s a red pill and a blue pill to following Jesus Christ – which one are you going to take?
Judas decided to choose his plans over God’s plans, while the other disciples trusted in God’s will for their lives.
What will you decide to do?
Choose Jesus today. And in this season of Valentine’s, remember his love for you.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but will receive everlasting life.” – John 3:16
In love and truth,
Copyright © 2021 by Melody Turner. All rights reserved. Written exclusively for MXTV (mxtv.org/blog) No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from MXTV.