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Summary: It is important for us to note Judas was a man of promise. I think Jesus saw a great potential in him. In Judas He saw someone who could have been used in a mighty way in the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

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TITLE: A CHEAP KISS

SCRIPTURE: ST. MATTHEW 26:14-16 / 47-50

We continue our “MARCH TOWARD CALVARY” during this Lenten Season. On last Sunday we considered the thought “JUDAS ISCARIOT: SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR.” I pray we were blessed by the message. This morning I want to continue, perhaps a Part II and let us consider further this Disciple by the name of Judas. I lift as a thought this morning – A Cheap Kiss.

If I were to ask everyone this morning in the Sanctuary to name the 12-Disciples, I am not convinced we could name each of them accurately, however; I am sure no one would miss identifying the name Judas on your list. He is one of the most recognized names among the original 12-Dicipes, but his life remains a sad mystery - or perhaps more accurately a sad tragedy. We understand how his life ended in suicide – he hung himself -- but the mystery of Judas revolves around missing the majesty of Christ while surrounded with opportunity.

• Judas goes beyond refusing to accept the gift of eternal life

• He betrays the Son of God with A Cheap Kiss

Can I tell you this morning, BETRAYAL IS SOMETHING ONLY A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE CAN DO.

• To betray, one must first secure trust or loyalty of another

• An Enemy can attack you

• Your Competition may deceive you

• A Foe may plan for your destruction

• But betrayal is a grievous act committed by one who has pledged support

• Rejection may cause a Wound - But Betrayal pours salt to make it sting

• Failure may knock you off your Feet - But Betrayal kicks you while you are down

• Criticism and insult hurt your Pride - But Betrayal breaks your Heart

The Scriptures refer to Judas as "THE BETRAYER," and his betrayal was a kiss of death. Jesus chose not to use the first person pronoun (betray "me") when asking if Judas would "BETRAY THE SON OF MAN WITH A KISS."

• The Lord's use of His Messianic Title demonstrates the extent of the betrayal as more than a disagreement among friends

• Judas opposed the work of almighty God for selfish reasons

• Jesus exposes this arrogant kiss of betrayal as a despicable act of treason

Whenever I read this text, I feel a revulsion - a level of disgust that I don’t feel when I study the actions of history’s other traitors. This is because the actions of BRUTUS – JOHN WILKES BOOTHE – BENEDICT ARNOLD - pale in insignificance when compared to the treachery of Judas Iscariot.

• Judas didn’t betray his Emperor

• Judas didn’t betray his President or even his Nation

• Judas didn’t consult with Russia during Election Process

• No, he went far beyond that and betrayed Jesus Christ

• God’s only Son

• Who came to earth so that all people including Judas himself could be saved from their sins and experience the love of God in a personal way

At first glance JUDAS DIDN’T LOOK AT ALL LIKE THE TRAITOR TYPE. For example the name his parents gave him indicates he probably came from a loving home. I say this because his was once a very proud name in Jewish history. You may remember from your study of the OT that JUDAH or JUDAS was the name of one of the 12-TRIBES of the sons of Jacob who each headed up one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

History books record the brilliant uprising for Jewish independence in 164 B.C. was led by a man named JUDAS MACEABEAUS a man who was sort of a George Washington figure to the Jews.

• For these reasons many parents gave their sons this popular Jewish name

• Even Jesus’ parents named one of His half brothers, Judas or Jude

• You may remember there was another apostle named Judas: Judas, son of James who, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot usually went by his nickname, Thaddaeus

So when Judas Iscariot was born, his parents picked what was in their day one of the BEST NAMES ANY BOY COULD HAVE. As he grew they no doubt raised him like other Jewish boys with a thorough understanding of Jewish history. They guided him in his study of the Scriptures. Another thing. We can infer from the New Testament Judas, at least at the beginning, apparently had no obvious vices. He had no dishonorable past like the tax collector turned disciple, Matthew Levi.

• Most of the other disciples were known for some weakness prior to their following Jesus

• Simon Peter was famous for his impulsiveness

• James and John for their temper

• But nothing uncomplimentary is mentioned about Judas’ character

• In fact, he must have had an honest face and acted in such a way that made him at least appear to be trustworthy because at the beginning the other disciples apparently admired and respected him enough to give him the responsibility of being their treasurer, managing their meager funds

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