what do you think?
On a scale of 1 to 10, list the things that you think can lead people to stray from God and to deny what He’s done for them through Jesus (1—the most likely and 10—the least).
lack of self-discipline
lack of trust
wanting to do their own thing
fear that they aren’t good enough
lack of care about eternal life
did you know?
Passover is a Jewish festival. Its purpose is to remember God’s intervention in sparing the Jews when He killed the firstborn of Egypt. The word translated “Passover” comes from a Hebrew word, pesach, meaning “to pass over,” which is what God did when the angel of death passed over every Jewish house that had the blood on their doorposts. It is followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which recalls the Exodus from Egypt and the freeing of the Israelites from slavery. Passover starts on the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan, the full moon of that month, the first month on the Hebrew calendar’s festival year. The first and last days of this seven-day feast were observed as legal holidays or holy days. The people would also hold special prayer services as well as holiday meals. Jews were known to have observed the festival for eight days. Most still do. If you know some practicing Jews, they might invite you to their house for a Passover seder, the practice of celebrating the Passover.
INTO THE STORY
“Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
“And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
“And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
“And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
“The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born.
“Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
“But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:20-29, KJV)
OUT OF THE STORY
What does Jesus mean when He says, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom”?
What do you think went through the disciples’ minds when they heard these words of Jesus?
What do you think possessed Judas to betray Jesus? How do greed and pride fit into this story?
How do you think Jesus felt knowing that He was eating in the midst of someone who would betray Him?
What do you think initially led Judas away from accepting Christ?
What do you think keeps people from coming to God with humility and full surrender?
Why do you think Jesus used the bread and wine to represent His body and blood?
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12, NKJV).
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud” (Proverbs 16:18, 19, NIV).
“For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory” (Psalm 149:4, NIV).
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (2 Corinthians 11:30, NIV).
“And if we consent, [Christ] will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses.” —Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 668
Read Matthew 6:24.
Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb for the world. He let the people kill Him in order to save all humanity. Do you think that Judas truly understood this? Why do you think he let money and power reign in his heart? Judas is a good example of what Matthew 6:24 is saying: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (NIV). Judas never truly served Christ. He let money and greed rule over him. He never let himself be humble enough to accept Christ’s love and sacrifice. He simply threw it all away for some silver.
Write down in your journal a few things that can lead us away from salvation.
Read Proverbs 16:18, 19.
Many times when people are led away from Christ, it’s because of their own selfishness or pride. Many don’t want to humble themselves and surrender fully to God. Others simply don’t want to change their way of life in order to follow Him. To be humble is to understand our own weaknesses and need of God; to know that we are not perfect, that we are sinners, and that we need to learn and grow—and are willing to do just that. What are some ways in which we can go about daily surrendering to God?
Read John 13:33-35.
Today, page through your Bible looking for stories and prophecies that speak to these topics: salvation, humility, greed, sacrifice. Find at least one example of each. In your journal or notebook, write in your own words some parallels between those stories and today’s story about Judas. What do you think initially puts greed or pride into people’s hearts? What is it that steers them away from salvation? What do you think can bring a person back to accepting Jesus as their Savior?
Read Psalm 149:4.
Salvation is a gift. We can accept it or reject it. Nobody, not even God, can force it on us. Humility is one of the first things that leads to salvation. If we have pride in our hearts, then we will try to be self-sufficient and have trouble relying on the Lord. Humility is also a gift. Yet we can make choices that will impact the presence of humility in our lives.
Write down on the lines below three ways in which we can increase humility in our lives.
Read Hebrews 9:28.
Why do you think the Passover is so important to the Jews today? What are the similarities between the Passover and the Lord’s Supper?
Read Philippians 2:12.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV) states it clearly: we are all God’s children if we receive Him and accept Him. It has nothing to do with anything that we ourselves could possibly do, but what Christ has done for us. Because of His sacrifice on our behalf, we can have eternal life. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to die, and He instituted the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of Himself and His death in our behalf. How seriously do you take the Lord’s Supper when it’s offered in your church?
Read Luke 22:18.
Jesus promised His second coming when He said: “For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:18, NIV). We have assurance of knowing that Jesus died and will return. The Lord’s Supper is a way by which we can remember truly the depth of His sacrifice and come to understand salvation and what it means for us. Titus 2:11-13 states: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (NIV). God gave His Son out of grace. His Son humbled Himself and obeyed His Father. The best way to go is to accept that grace and humility, and remember the sacrifice that was made for us.