Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Warnings Wrapped up in the Warped Betrayer

from Mark 14:43-52

If there is a story in Scripture that should infuriate us and turn our stomach, if there is a person that should appall us, this is it, this is him: Judas.

The mention of his name should stir us more than Hitler would a Jew, worse than Muslims are angered over cartoons of Mohammed. Forget distaste, this is raw disgust, disdain & damnation. One whom, Jesus said, it would be better if he had never been born (Mark 14:21).

Judas was one of "The Twelve," an ultimate Insider. He saw miracles, heard Jesus teach and walked with Him daily for two plus years. He rubbed elbows with those who had been raised from the dead, ate with those delivered from demons and had served and feasted on fish and bread Jesus miraculously provided.

Though one of the few that had ridden in boats Jesus rescued from raging storms, on waters Jesus calmed, he gave over, betrayed the Lord of Glory, the Son of God for a few bucks. When the Disciples were to watch & pray in the Garden, Judas had watched to prey (Mark 14:1, 2, 10,11, 43-52).

As a teacher of God’s Word, I normally enjoy showing the connection between the text and our lives, making the "They" of Scripture into an "Us." Yet, this is a story and sinner I would prefer NOT to see any personal connection or application. Let’s just see it as data, historical truth and move on, ignoring any similarities with Judas and the others in this passage.

Alas, there are lessons to learn from everyone and everywhere. Some people, if nothing else, serve as bad examples to not follow, Judas being the head of the class. He is a warning to each of us, as are the cowardly conspirators & deserting disciples (see 1 Corinthians 9:27-10:14; Romans 15:4 and 2:1, 2).

What did it take to make a Judas? While Scripture never says outright why he defected, it does teach us about his life. We find various factors that contributed and combined to make Judas the son of the Devil that he was.

Warning! Pride Alert! Judas’ struggles may not sound too different than your own. For starters, Judas had unmet expectations and wrong assumptions about Jesus. Jesus let him down. He wanted the Kingdom on his terms and in his timetable. God was not fitting into his plans to his liking.

Talk about not catching on! After all the miracles Judas had seen, he and the cowardly conspirators – the Jewish leaders, Temple Guard and Roman Military - thought they could use troops and the cover of night to stop Jesus (Mark 14:1, 2, 43-49). They seemed to forget or not grasp He is the Almighty Son of God.

Greed and theft was also part of Judas’ makeup. Not trusting God to meet his needs, Judas dipped into the moneybag, which he had been entrusted as Treasurer (John 12:6).

Here is a ponder point for you: Greed is idolatry (see Colossians 3:5). The greedy have a second god, an idol. They have swapped out Jesus for their own 30 pieces of silver. God is jealous and will not share His top spot in your life. Be it a job, trinket, a relationship, a hobby or…

When Jesus allowed the extravagant nard to be poured on Him – a year’s worth of wages - that seems to be the last straw for Judas (Mk. 14:3-10). Want to test a man: touch his wallet, mess with his money. When Jesus asks much, many walk away, sell him out.

Of few is it said: "Satan entered him" (Luke 22:3, 4; John 6:70; 17:12). Yet, Judas has a Satanic involvement and partnership. Selling your soul to the Devil is no joking matter. A reminder: Unresolved anger gives Satan a spare room in your heart (Ephesians 4:26, 27). When we harbor hate, we host hell.

The damning blow to Judas must have been pride. What else would it take to walk up to Jesus in the Garden that night, call Him "Rabbi," feigning allegiance and submission, and use a Kiss as the signal?

What arrogance! What hubris! Jesus may have preferred a slap or spit, not a symbol of intimacy, respect, affection and devotion. This was the ultimate unholy kiss.

How many of us in worship services or in daily life act as if Jesus is our Rabbi, Teacher, Lord, blow kisses to Him in reverence, yet want nothing to do with His rule in our life? Amazingly, Jesus called this fiend friend (Matthew 26:50).

Mark’s account of this tragic tale ends with the Disciple’s desertion and of the young man who flees naked – maybe Mark. That scared Streaker is not comic relief, but a powerful symbol of us when we run from Jesus. Doing so, as the disciples did, leaves us barren, exposed, cold & naked (Mark 14:51, 52). May it never be said of us: "All the disciples cut and ran" (vs. 50 – The Message).

May it most especially be untrue of us that it would be better if we had not been born. Yet, it is better to never have drawn breath than go to hell. There is no good that we can experience here that can offset the eternal, conscious suffering of hell. The wise will receive these warnings wrapped up in the warped, damned Judas.


John Frye said...

Wow, Kerry, this is a very convicting look into Judas' life! It's scary when we see shades of our own. Good writing!

Kerry Doyal said...

Thanks John.