Summary: Do you want to become great in the Kingdom of God? Then start with this premise in your life: It is not about me, it is about Jesus Christ; The less I am, the greater Jesus is; The greater Jesus is, the greater I will be in the kingdom of God.
Judas Iscariot. He must be replaced.
Judas has failed and another must rise up to take his place.
The church will not end with the failure of Judas, the church will regroup, reevaluate, and pursue its calling - to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Judas was one of the twelve, he was one of privileged few who was able to spend close intimate time with Jesus Christ. Judas sat at the feet of the feet of the master. Judas received the best theological education ever available and he received it from the primary source, Jesus Christ. Judas was given the golden opportunity of a lifetime - still, Judas failed to see the spiritual truth living right before his eyes. Judas failed to understand how to be great in the kingdom of God, Judas strove to be first, but Jesus tells us to strive to be last.
Was Judas doomed to fail from the beginning? Yes, Judas was doomed.
Is it possible for me, or for someone I love to fail like Judas failed? Yes, we all can fail like Judas, we all can fail to see the truth, living right before our eyes.
By all signs Judas was the real thing. None of the disciples suspected a thing. Judas may have looked authentic, but his heart revealed the truth, whatever those around Judas assumed about Judas, Judas, in his heart, was a fraud.
I once served a very wealthy congregation. Over the years the different members had donated various items to the church, many of which were quite valuable. The stained glass windows were valued and tens of thousands of dollars each; The communion table was an intricately carved piece of art, from a world famous artist in Germany - I have no idea how much that was worth; One of the many nativity sets the church owned was a life size set, with beautiful animals and very regal magi, worth tens of thousands of dollars, the list goes on and on - but the most prized item was a painting of the Madonna given to the church in the ‘1930’s’. It was housed in a special room that was temperature controlled and very secure.
Congregation members loved this painting. Brides would have their picture taken with it, and many a new baptized baby had his or her picture taken by this Madonna painting. A small pamphlet was even written about this valuable painting and given to visitors who toured the church.
A toilet overflowed in the basement causing extensive damage downstairs and an unbearable oder lingered for weeks. This caused the trustees to check the current value of the long list of items the church possessed for insurance purposes. So, a well renowned art dealer was contacted to appraise the various works of art in the church.
The man appraised the various items in the church and he saved the famous painting for last, as the trustees did not want the dealer in the room alone with the painting. Finally, the time came for the art dealer to appraise the Madonna painting. The trustees showed the art dealer into the room and were delighted with the astonished look on the art dealers face.
The art dealer quietly took the painting down and slowly looked the painting over. One of the trustees could not contain himself and blurted out, “So, how much is it worth?”
“Well,” said the art dealer, “I need to give the painting a more detailed examination, but I am quite impressed, my first thought that it is worth….seven, maybe eight thousand dollars. This is the best forgery of this painting I have ever seen”
This clearly agitated the trustees and one shot back, “What are you talking about? This painting must be worth several hundred thousand dollars. This is no forgery, you don’t know what you are talking about.”
The art dealer didn’t miss a beat and cooly replied. “If you don’t believe me, you can go see the original yourself, it is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Believe it or not, there were some in the congregation who refused to believe that the painting was a forgery. Some stepped forward and attempted to stop any form of payment to the art dealer saying that he was inept. Others set out to find a “real” art appraiser who would give a true assessment of the painting. There was even a small get together with cookies and coffee to celebrate the authenticity of the painting.
See, for years these people had lived with what they thought was real. Everyone told them the painting was real, they in turn told everyone else the painting was real, they could not see the painting in any other light, it was real to them. Finally, the consensus was made that the church had the real painting, and the Met had the fake.