Thursday, June 11, 2015

the behavior of true love (part 4)

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:1-17)

The evening meal was in progress and the devil had already prompted Judas. Wait a minute. Did we just read that Satan was there? Yes. The devil was lurking about pushing his evil agenda while in the very same room Jesus and his disciples were present. What hatred the enemy has for our King that he would infiltrate the place in which God's only Son eats and teaches His followers. But there he is. Whispering in the ear of Judas. Swaying a conscience to betray the Lord.

Judas is an interesting, and all too familiar, character. He is the clear example of what not to do with your life. For here is a man who was given the honor of being one of God's chosen twelve. A man who walked alongside the Almighty God during His earthly ministry as Savior. Yes, Judas saw miracles performed firsthand. He heard the Word in human flesh speak. He was frequently around Jesus, but He never had true faith that Jesus was God incarnate. Unlike the other disciples that called Jesus “Lord,” Judas never used this title for Jesus and instead made a point to call him “Rabbi” - acknowledging Jesus as nothing more than a mere teacher. Rather than profess his faith and loyalty to Christ, Judas remained conveniently silent... comfortably investing himself enough to gain fame and exposure, but tragically remaining unengaged and distant with the One who really mattered.

Yes, like so many who attend church today, Judas showed up and appeared to be a follower of God... but let's face it, he clearly wasn't following. Sure, outwardly he convinced everyone around him that he "loved" Jesus, but inwardly his heart had little interest in relating with the King of kings. We can conclude this just by looking at the listed order within the synoptic gospels. Notice how each of the twelve disciples is generally listed the same, with Peter, James, and John always listed first? This is believed to indicate the relative closeness of their personal relationship with Jesus. But Judas is always last on every list. In fact, in all the scripture outlining Jesus' earthly ministry, the only documented dialogue between Christ and Judas involves Judas being rebuked by Jesus after his greed-motivated remark to Mary in John 12, Judas’ denial of his betrayal in Matthew 26, and his actual betrayal to Christ in Luke 22. How sad.

When all was said and done, Judas likely stuck around Jesus because he saw Christ's potential to obtain great political power and wanted a piece of the action. He witnessed the great following of people drawn to Jesus and likely believed he could profit from the collections that were taken. He was the equivalent of the many false prophets and celebrity "Christians" who widely are accepted by the sheep of today with their feel-good books, motivational seminars, and whatever else they can promote promote promote - all attaching themselves to Jesus in order to receive earthly exposure and know financial gain. Jesus is just good business, you know. Salvation may be a free gift of God, but man still tries to find ways to sell it!

However, once business was jeopardized - once Jesus began making it clear that he would soon die, Judas needed a new game plan. His meal ticket could no longer provide him the future and financial assurances he coveted. So, Judas needed to save face amongst those whom he once thought he'd rule over. As such, it made perfect sense to betray Jesus and side with the Pharisees. Rather he bail out before the going gets too tough, right? Rather find a different path than the correct narrow road that Jesus was walking, right?

Thirty pieces of silver is all it took. Judas betrayed. Satan swayed him to commit the unthinkable. And amazingly, our great God still used it all for His good. Jesus was sentenced to death on the cross and the result saved us from our sins! Why? Because of Judas' wicked decision. Because of Satan's evil meddling. Because of mankind's sinful rebellion. Because of God's grace. Yes, God in His sovereign wisdom was able, as always, to manipulate the outcome of every situation for the benefit of His people and the glory of His good kingdom. How wonderful and marvelous our loving God is!!!

Although there is more to look at regarding this account, in the interest of time let's pause at this point to honestly consider Judas' character to that of our own. Let's assess if we are living intimately in love with the Savior, or if we are conveniently silent and comfortably disengaged "Christians". Do we strive to relate deeply with the Savior? Do we know His Word and live by His example? Or are we merely showing up to benefit from His church as we promote ourselves... claiming God when God seems popular to claim?

Ladies, when all is said and done, will your name be listed in the King's book of life? If so, what order will it appear? Think about these things.

Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. (Mark 14:21)

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first." (Matthew 19:28-30)

Until tomorrow.



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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