Tag Archives: Judas

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

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Gospel Clerihews

The apostle John
dropped his nets at dawn
followed Jesus with the ten
all became fishers of men

*********

Simon’s son Judas
by his betrayal showed us
it’s not enough to meet God
if a different path we trod

*********

Today’s Form for All prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is a lesson the Clerihew. I just started an in-depth study of the book of John so thought I’d write about a couple of famous people from that book. Head on over the dVerse to see who others are writing about in short verse.

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Betrayed, “Twas a Kiss

It’s Maundy Thursday, I decided today to join NaPoWriMo, and the lesson at dVerse today is to write a villanelle. At the convergence of these three things I wrote this poem:

Betrayed, “Twas a Kiss

Betrayed, ‘twas a kiss, the beginning of the end
Then all the others scattered in the night
Not knowing in three days You would ascend

He was among those You counted as a friend
There was a time his zeal burned so bright
Betrayed, ‘twas a kiss, the beginning of the end

Your followers to kneel in prayer You did commend
But they lacked Your wisdom and keen foresight
Not knowing in three days You would ascend

The ill-begotten silver Judas would never spend
Instead his life would become a terrible blight
Betrayed, ‘twas a kiss, the beginning of the end

Although his first impulse was to defend
Peter would hide his face from the light
Not knowing in three days You would ascend

Your promises they all failed to comprehend
Though all but one were redeemed in Your sight
Betrayed, ‘twas a kiss, the beginning of the end
Not knowing in three days You would ascend

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Betrayed and Denied – A Poem

Betrayed with a kiss
by one whose feet
He washed
but whose heart
remained unclean

Denied three times
by one whose feet
He washed
but who felt remorse
and was restored

May we all be like Peter
and not Judas

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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.

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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.

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Psalm 41 – Blessing and Betrayal

This is another Psalm that covers a lot of ground. It starts by noting the blessing of those who care for the poor and how God cares for those He loves. It moves on to a prayer for mercy. Then hidden in the middle is verse 9, which has been viewed as a prophecy of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus to the Pharisees. Not only did Judas share food with Jesus, it was in handing the bread to Judas that Jesus revealed at the last supper who it was who would betray Him. Matthew 26:20-24 (NIV)

Psalm 41

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

 1 Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
      The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
 2 The Lord protects them
      and keeps them alive.
   He gives them prosperity in the land
      and rescues them from their enemies.
 3 The Lord nurses them when they are sick
      and restores them to health.

 4 “O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
      Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
 5 But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.
      “How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.
 6 They visit me as if they were my friends,
      but all the while they gather gossip,
      and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
 7 All who hate me whisper about me,
      imagining the worst.
 8 “He has some fatal disease,” they say.
      “He will never get out of that bed!”
 9 Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,
      the one who shared my food, has turned against me.

 10 Lord, have mercy on me.
      Make me well again, so I can pay them back!
 11 I know you are pleased with me,
      for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.
 12 You have preserved my life because I am innocent;
      you have brought me into your presence forever.

 13 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
      who lives from everlasting to everlasting.
   Amen and amen!

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Who Killed Jesus?

As we journey through Lent towards Easter, we must pass through Good Friday. There is joy in the resurrection of Easter, but first there is the pain of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

This time of year inevitably brings up the question, “Who killed Jesus?” I recently read an article on CNN’s Belief Blog about a new book by Pope Benedict XVI in which he says the Jews did not kill Jesus. My first thought when I saw the headline was, “Duh!” Having read the scriptures that prophecy the suffering of Jesus and what Jesus said about His crucifixion I have to wonder how anyone ever thought the Jews killed Jesus, and why it is news for the  Pope to say they didn’t.

But then I remember there have been centuries of confusion and lies,  perpetuated by the devil himself, pointing to the Jews as the ones who killed Jesus. These lies, based on picking out but a few verses and twisting them, are the source of years of anti-Semitism even in the church. It is sad, indeed, and so instead of stopping with my initial reaction I decided to write my own understanding of who killed Jesus. I’m sure I won’t get the same press or carry the same weight as the Pope, but if nothing else it will be a reminder to myself and my readers of why Jesus willingly died for our sins.

I first want to look at the Old Testament prophecy concerning Jesus suffering and death. The prophet Isaiah foretold the suffering and glory of God’s servant:

 4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
   yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
   and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
   Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
   for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
   and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
   nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
   and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
   and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
   he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
   and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, 
   and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
   and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:4-12 (NIV).

Isaiah wrote these words almost 700 years before Jesus was born. It is one of my favorite sections of Old Testament scripture. These verses tell me a couple of things. First, it was for our sins and iniquities that Jesus was crucified. If it were not for the sin of mankind, the death of Jesus would have been unnecessary. So in one very important sense, it was you and I who killed Jesus.

Second, as verse 10 clearly states, it was God’s will that Jesus should die as an offering for our sin. So in another very important sense it was God Himself who was responsible for the death of Jesus. This is further supported by what Jesus Himself said:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18 (NIV).

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11 (NIV).

It was the love of God that crucified Christ to save sinful man. The Jewish leaders, to the extent they called for Jesus to be crucified, were but pawns in the divine plan of redemption. In the same way, Pilate was a pawn that made crucifixion, which was illegal for the Jews to carry out, the method of His death. And Judas, the betrayer of our Lord, was a pawn who fulfilled yet another prophecy concerning this grand plan to save us from darkness. But in terms of cause and effect, it was the sin of man that was the ultimate cause of Jesus’ death, the thing without which it would have never occurred because it would have been unnecessary.

There is a great old hymn written by Frederick W. Faber titled “O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile (Our Lord Is Crucified)”, and my favorite verse of that hymn is:

O break, O break hard heart of mine
My weak self love and guilty pride
His Pilate and his Judas were
Jesus our lord is crucified

Although Judas’ betrayal, Pilate’s decree, and the Jewish leaders’ call for Him to be crucified all played a part in making the death of Jesus a reality, my own selfishness and pride played an even bigger role. This knowledge of my own sinfulness and the love of God that overcame it to redeem me causes me to want to come and mourn for just awhile. During this season of Lent and especially on Good Friday I will indeed mourn that my Savior and my God had to endure such suffering because of me and you. I am thankful, though, that Easter and the resurrection are just around the corner and my mourning will not last forever.

In closing, I want to share with you the Jars of Clay version of “O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile (Our Lord Is Crucified).” May it draw you closer to the love of God.

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