As Jim Caviezel read the script for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and prepared to play the role of Jesus Christ, he knew that he wouldn't die. He was only going to be in a movie. Jesus knew as He read His Script, however, that He would certainly die--this wasn't playacting: "I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled" (Mk. 14:49).
Jesus knows also that He will be betrayed by one of His followers, Judas, and He never once shows Judas anything but love. Jesus knows that His disciples will also flee--yet He loves them still. Jesus also knows that He will rise again. He knows that guilty sinners will be forgiven their sins and made new. He knows that He will regain what Adam's race had lost and that He will be their King. He knows that one day every knee will bow and tongue confess His lordship. He knows.
Imagine receiving a kiss from your betrayer. What would you do? Spit on him? Curse? Cry? How can Jesus receive that betraying kiss? He knows the script, and He knows His Father.
Scripture foretells of Jesus' betrayal (Ps. 41:9; Is. 53:7; Acts 1:16), and Jesus pronounces a woe on the one through whom the betrayal would come, "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born" (Mt. 26:24).
Judas writes his own script, however, when he betrays Jesus; his script intersects with that of Satan. When he recognizes the enormity of what he has done, he returns the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, only to have them reject his offering. "What is that to us?" they reply. "You see to it" (27:4). They didn't mind using budgeted funds as "blood money;" now, however, they have a conscience or conviction about not returning "blood money" to the temple coffers. Instead, they use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners (maybe they think this good deed will outweigh causing the death of Jesus Christ, an innocent man).
The guilty thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus turns to Him in repentance and finds forgiveness and a promise of heaven. Had Judas repented in like manner, he too would have left this world a forgiven sinner and entered heaven a saint. Instead Judas returns to the religious leaders where he finds no forgiveness: "'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' And they said, 'What is that to us? You see to it!'" (27:4).
Judas turns to the chief priests in repentance, but he fails to turn to the One who can forgive sin. Rejected by the very ones who had hired him, Judas hangs himself and leaves this world an unforgiven sinner.
Christ's script for our lives promises trials, heartache, betrayal, and other woes. It also promises grace and the presence of the Father, as well as future reign and future glory. Or, like Judas, we may write our own script and live to regret it.
We must know the script and know the Father's heart so that we too can fully embrace our present and future, not as play actors but as full and joyful participants.
Review Isaiah 53:7. How does Jesus fulfill this prophecy?
Review James 1:8. What does this reveal about Peter's denial of Christ? What does Peter learn about his own heart through his denial of Christ?
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