Tag Archives: Judas Iscariot

Judas

Hey Judas
Traitor
Was it worth it?

Thirty pieces of silver
can’t buy loyalty
love or salvation

And you can’t
return them
and regain what you
gave up for naught

1 Comment

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Poetry

Of Hard Teachings, Betrayal, and Knowledge of Jesus

Last night I was reading John 6:60-69 from the Wordstrong schedule my church is reading for Lent.  I love this passage of John, in fact the whole of John 6 is a wonderful glimpse into Jesus’ ministry and the reactions of the people to what He did and said. Chapter 6 is where Jesus feeds the 5,000, walks on water, and refers to Himself as the bread of life saying that anyone who seeks eternal life must eat His flesh and drink His blood. It is also, in the last section, where some of His disciples walk away because His teaching is too hard. John 6:60.

As I read this last section, a couple of things came to mind.

First, let’s look at verse 60: “Many of his disciples said, ‘This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?'” I wonder how many people today walk away from Jesus because His teaching is too hard to understand? Without the help of the Holy Spirit and more mature Christians, some of what Jesus says is very hard to understand. But the core of His message is not. He came to save sinners by His sacrifice of Love, and He calls His followers to trust in Him alone for their salvation.

Second, I noticed that Jesus knew exactly what was going on and who believed. Jesus said “‘But some of you do not believe me.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.)” John 6:64. But even though He knew some would not believe, He continued to preach, teach, and heal. He did not let the discouragement that some would walk away stop Him from reaching out to those who would believe. We must do the same and not become discouraged because there are so many in our world today who do not believe.

Third, Jesus knew even at this point, quite some time before the last supper, that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. “Then Jesus said, ‘I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.’ He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.” John 6:70-71. But even though He knew, He did not call Judas out and expel him from the group. He knew that Judas’ betrayal was part of the plan and did not try to avoid it. Though we may not know who will betray us as Jesus did, we do know that there will be those in our lives who will treat us badly or speak ill of us because of our faith. Jesus even warned that His followers would be persecuted and hated because of Him. Just as Jesus allowed things to play out and did not try to avoid Judas’ betrayal, we must continue in our faith and in speaking the truth of Jesus even though it may mean persecution and trouble.

Finally, some people evaluated the evidence before them and believed Jesus was who He said He was. I love Peter’s answer to Jesus’ query whether the 12 disciples would also leave. “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69. There are many in the church today who believe and know that Jesus is our only hope of salvation.

 Have you encountered a teaching of Jesus that you find hard to understand? Don’t walk away. Seek the help of the Holy Spirit and mature Christians to help you understand.

Do you know some who don’t believe? Don’t be discouraged. Keep sharing His love so that the Father may use your words in the hearts of those who will believe.

Do you fear betrayal and persecution? Have courage. Remember that Jesus is always by your side and His plan for your eternal life will come to fruition in spite of any persecution or trouble you encounter in His name.

Do you believe and know that Jesus is the Holy One of God? You are not alone. Hang onto your knowledge of the Savior and remain in fellowship with others who believe likewise. Just as the disciples remained together (with the exception of Judas) through the trauma of the crucifixion, the joy of the resurrection, and the challenge of the new church, believers today must remain together and in fellowship with each other. To whom else can we go? It is Jesus who has the gift of eternal life.

11 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, postaday2011

Practicality Obscures the Divine

During Lent I decided to reread a book that I first read 7 or 8 years ago called The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop. I remember thinking it was a great book the first time I read it and wanted to see if I could discover anything new given the greater understanding I have of the Bible now. This book is an hour by hour account of the last supper through Christ’s crucifixion. It is based primarily on the Gospel accounts, but the author also draws on other historical information that is available to us. In addition to each chapter that covers an hour of time, there are three background chapters on “The Jewish World,” “Jesus,” and “The Roman World.” These background chapters are full of information that help bring the Gospel story to life for those of us so far removed from what life was like at that time. The author admits that he has taken some liberties with the narrative of the story, but has never written anything that contradicts the essential facts of the Gospels.

I was planning to read the whole book and then do a review, but I should know by now that never works for me. As I’m reading through a book, some part of it will get me thinking and inspire a blog post. That’s what happened with this book. I’m only a third of the way through and I already came across something I want to share my thoughts on.

The chapter that got me thinking was the one involving Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus. I’ve often thought about Judas and wondered how he could spend so much time with Jesus and then betray Him. I know his betrayal of Jesus was necessary to fulfill prophecy, but I am still fascinated by how someone can witness all that Jesus did and hear all that He said, living with Him day and night for almost 3 years, and clearly not understand who He truly was.

Bishop sheds some light on the state of mind of Judas:

A man devoid of faith, like Judas, needs something to sustain him, to nourish his emotional life, and most men in his position boast of their practical side. Judas was practical. As one of the original twelve, he had subscribed to Jesus as the Messiah as long as there was a good living in it. And for the money-keeper of this fervent enterprise it was a good living indeed, because hundreds and then thousands came to believe that this man Jesus was indeed he whom it had been predicted Yahweh would send to Israel. This being the case, the rich recruits to the cause not only knelt before him and wept or begged for forgiveness or kissed the hem of his dusty garment, but they would not be satisfied until they had contributed their wealth to the furtherance of the Messiah.

At times, in the presence of miracles such as the recent one of raising Lazarus up after he had been in the tomb four days, Judas must have half believed in Jesus. But then his practical side told him that such things were in the nature of Egyptian magic, as everyone knew, and Judas believed that there was collusion between Jesus and Lazarus and Jesus and the other beneficiaries of miracles. It was a good scheme to be allied with, as long as it flourished. And Judas remained with it exactly that long. The Day Christ Died, pg. 65.

I think there are people like Judas in the Christian church even today. They don’t fully believe in the divinity of Christ. They may not end up being traitors like Judas, but they are really only in it for the practical benefit it provides. When the going gets tough, when they have to sacrifice something in order to hold onto their faith, they will find they have no faith in anything but themselves. When it is no longer practical to remain a Christian, they are going to walk away.

In the parable of the sower that Jesus told as recorded in Matthew 13:1-23, people like Judas are those who are like seeds that fall among the thorns. “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22 (NIV).

Judas missed out on the joy that the other disciples felt at the resurrection because his practical nature wouldn’t allow him to accept the divine nature of Christ. He simply couldn’t trust that Jesus was who He said He was and that the plan that was to unfold concerning His death was the best possible course for the sake of humanity.

Are you missing out on the joy of knowing Christ’s love because you can’t accept His divinity? Is practicality preventing you from trusting that He was who He said He was and that His sacrifice for your sins is the best thing that ever happened? The end of the story with Judas was that he felt the weight of the guilt of his betrayal without ever knowing the forgiveness that Christ freely offered, and he hanged himself to be lost forever. Don’t let practicality cause your story end without knowing Christ’s love and forgiveness.

8 Comments

Filed under Book Review, Faith, Jesus, Life, postaday2011