Summary: A message focusing on Judas’ betrayal and the need for repentance. Since Jesus knows the secrets of our hearts, He could blast us. Instead, He uses the weapon of love.
“Jesus’ Weapon of Choice”
There are some biblical names we just do not give to our kids. Others are quite common. When was the last time you met a Jezebel or a Judas? What about a Rachel or a Peter? Certainly we’re not anything like those first two characters … or are we?
Illustration: “Among the apostles, the one absolutely stunning success was Judas, and the one thoroughly groveling failure was Peter. Judas was a success in the ways that most impress us: he was successful both financially and politically. He cleverly arranged to control the money of the apostolic band; he skillfully manipulated the political forces of the day to accomplish his goal.
“And Peter was a failure in ways that we most dread: he was impotent in a crisis and socially inept. At the arrest of Jesus he collapsed, a hapless, blustering coward; in the most critical situations of his life with Jesus, the confession on the road to Caesarea Philippi and the vision on the Mount of transfiguration, he said the most embarrassingly inappropriate things. He was not the companion we would want with us in time of danger, and he was not the kind of person we would feel comfortable with at a social occasion.
“Time, of course, has reversed our judgments on the two men. Judas is now a byword for betrayal, and Peter is one of the most honored names in the church and in the world. Judas is a villain; Peter is a saint. Yet the world continues to chase after the successes of Judas, financial wealth and political power, and to defend itself against the failures of Peter, impotence and ineptness.” (Petersen, Eugene. Little House on the Freeway, Tim Kimmel, pp. 191-192)
Judas, called a thief by John, bargained with Jesus’ enemies to turn Him over for 30 pieces of silver, which was the cost of a slave. He betrayed Him with a kiss, and in remorse, ended his life. Judas refused to accept Jesus for who He was and tried to force Him into another mold. William Barclay said, “The tragedy of Judas is that of a man who thought he knew better than God.”
Since Jesus knows the secrets of our hearts, He could blast us. Instead, He uses the weapon of love.
1. He confronts us with our sin
Although the room was full, it seems as though everyone else was swept away and only Judas & Jesus were present.
Judas had so well concealed his plans that the other disciples had no idea of what was about to take place. John 13 tells us that as treasurer of the group, they assumed Judas left to buy food for the feast or make a donation to the poor.
But let’s note Jesus’ methods with a sinner.
The creator of the universe could have used His power to obliterate Judas.
Instead, Jesus appealed to his heart.
“Judas, stop & think about what you are about to do!”
Some have become so calloused by sin that they are no longer shocked by the act or he consequences.
Daytime TV ratings are always high when Dr. Phil, Oprah, or Montel Williams parade defiant, rebellious teens in front of TV cameras. Why are we so fascinated by such people? Is it because, deep down, we know that we are just as defiant and rebellious toward God?
Thankfully, Jesus continues to treat us with the same compassion he showed Judas. Too often we forget who we’re dealing with. He is the same God of justice, and has every right to toast us!
Sin is sequential. It seldom “just happens.” Sin does not come out of nowhere.
We see this sequence in the Book of James: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
Illustration: Years ago Bonnie Chamberlain wrote a story in the Saturday Review that told of an artist who was once commissioned to paint in a Sicilian cathedral a mural depicting the life of Jesus. The painter accepted this task and made it his life’s work. He began by searching for people to be his models for the huge mural and one of the first he discovered was a twelve-year-old boy whose innocent radiance made him a perfect model for Christ-child. Over the years the mural developed till it reached the events of Holy Week. One by one the key figures were completed till only the person of Judas remained undone. One afternoon a man whose face was seamed with corruption lurched drunkenly into the tavern where the artist was sitting. At once the artist saw that this man was a perfect model for the remaining figure so he led the man to the cathedral. Pointing to the bare space on the wall, asked him to pose for Judas. To his astonishment, the wino burst out crying, hid his face in his hands, and said, “Don’t you remember me, Maestro?” Pointing to the Christ Child, he said, “Fifty years ago I was your model for Him!”