(Luke 22:3-6 ESV) 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.
Judas…The man who had walked with Jesus and beheld the dead brought back to life, blind eyes opened to new vistas, deaf ears hearing new sounds, mute tongues speaking clearly. He had witnessed the miraculous activity of the very Son of God. What a privilege! What an opportunity!
He was a member of an elite society. He had been hand picked by Jesus to carry out the work of the Kingdom of God. He walked among godly men. He dined with a rare band of brothers. He was given the responsibility of carrying the purse.
But, it was not enough. Judas wanted more. And, in a moment of weakness, he turned himself over to the work of Satan and struck a deal that would culminate in the capture of the Messiah. Judas was not naive. He knew they wanted to capture Jesus and kill him. They wanted his message silenced. They would stop at nothing. So, Judas agreed to turn Jesus over…in the absence of the crowd.
As many times as I have read this story, I had never noticed those final words… “In the absence of the crowd…”
It’s easy to compromise our character in the absence of the crowd. Sinful attitudes are easier thought about in the absence of the crowd. Inappropriate activity comes easier in the absence of the crowd. Fantasy runs wild in the absence of the crowd. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Solitude can be a time of positive reflection. Christian maturity can be developed in the absence of the crowd. Scripture study can be much more enlightening in the absence of the crowd. Worship can be sweeter in the absence of the crowd. Rest is more peaceful in the absence of the crowd.
What will your life look like in the absence of the crowd? The choice is yours! Make it a good one!
PRAYER: Lord, may I always remember that You are my constant companion. Even in the absence of the crowd Your presence is near. Help me make the most of my time, my thoughts, my actions—at all times—particularly in the absence of the crowd. Amen.