If you are like me, you have probably at one time or another asked yourself: “How is it possible that one of the disciples (Judas) could be that close and intimate with Jesus, and yet, betray Him? And of all things, betray Him, the Master King Jesus, with a kiss? “
I have been in Matthew 25-28 here lately. Studying it, reading it, looking at it from all angles. But no matter how much I ponder and try to understand the “Benedict Arnold” of the 12 disciples, I find that the more I need God’s help in grasping it as a reality then, and reality today. In fact, I believe sometimes we focus so much on this horrific choice of action by Judas that we overlook some very similar acts that are occurring around us.
Now, this may be related to our sheer difficulty in fathoming how this disciple, who followed Jesus and heard His teaching, could be bought for a nominal amount of money. The more I read the account and examine the Scriptures though, the more it becomes clear that sometimes we just minimize sin and the deadly and dangerous path that sin binds us to. My finding is that it is not as much about Judas as it is about kicking sin to the curve and living each moment, of each day, for God.
Judas rode the fence. Judas wanted a little bit of this and a little bit of that. For Judas – betraying Jesus with a kiss, would be his legacy. When Jesus failed to meet his expectations and goals, Judas bailed out (i.e. jumped ship) and sought a way to get his expectations met. In some way, of course, Judas realized this horrific error in the aftermath.
Today, there are fence-riders still. But the key for us is to ensure we don’t fall into this category. Sin will have its way with anyone if someone will let it in. All it needs is a nook or a crease, and once sin is in, it will run rampant. Soon, it will marginalize things and begin to destroy, decay, and dismantle. Sin leads to death, make no mistake. Today, people from all walks of life are deciding what is most important in life. People willfully and unknowningly fall into traps. Some are enticed while others are being deceived by gimmicks, gadgets, and creative marketing and advertising ploys. But over and over again the NT states, pleas, and urges us to “not be deceived.” Sin deceives. Sin destroys. Sin betrays.
I hate sin because I love God. For me, I have come to that conclusion because sin breaks God’s heart and will. I hate sin because its impact is felt, and seen, and experienced, in life. It is crafty, hidden, worshipped, and marginalized. I hate sin because “in Him there is no sin.” It is o.k. for us, as God’s people, to despise the act of betrayal (or the act of any other sin). That is healthy. Betraying someone is but one form or action of sin – but it should be a reminder of the greater depth of what sin does and what sin leads to: death. The Gospel tells us that forgiveness in Christ is available to all who will believe, receive, and confess. And in this forgiveness is God’s amazing grace, which surpasses (far surpasses) all sin and the sum total of sin. Sure, there will be betrayers who never seek forgiveness, who will continue to betray, and who may even make it known and promote it. In these instances, we pray earnestly and we continue to forgive – because that is exactly what God has done, in Christ, for us.
Paul reminds us: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, He died for you and for me. Humbling isn’t it? In the words of the songwriter: “His love is a boundless love, that reaches down and touches me.” Note the present tense action. It’s not a past, historical, long ago and far away memory; it is here and it is now. May it be a current reality in our lives! May we encounter and experience His cleansing power each and every day of our lives!
Love and joy to you, in Christ Jesus, our Lord,