Intro: in every passion play one of the main characters is Judas. He is a central figure to the Crucifixion story. His betrayal has been the topic of many theologians over the ages. Here are a few facts that some people don’t know about Judas. First he was from Kerioth, so he was an outsider among the twelve, this could have made him a little suspicious about his role in Christ’s kingdom. Historians also mention he was a revolutionary, he wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman empire. He was the treasurer of the group, so he had an interest in financial gain by following Christ. He is the only one of the twelve disciples whose name actually appears in the Collin’s dictionary, Judas is defined as someone who betrays someone else. His name was so despised in the early church that Judas (Matthew 13:55), the Lord’s half brother, in writing his message used the shorten title, Jude, instead.
My message was birthed out of the small human video group performance. As Judas commits suicide at the end of the story, it hits me that Jesus is the cure for suicide. Today, all over the world, people will commit suicide for many reasons. Among the young and old, among the poor and wealthy, among the popular and unknown. Some say it has grown to epidemic proportions among young people. If Judas could have heard this message, he would have known what to do. If someone here ever gets so discouraged with life, so despondent about the way things are going, I pray this sermon will help. Even if you lose a job, face an illness, lose a mate, go through a hard divorce, lose a boyfriend or a girlfriend, get a bad grade, make a low score on the A.C.T., be at fault in an accident, get backstabbed by a friend, get made fun of over a bad haircut, feel lonely, feel overwhelmed with life, feel guilty over something you have done, or something you wish you would have done differently, regrets etc.
Jesus, The Cure For Suicide
“Judas, Don’t Go There”
background: imagine the most famous thing about you is that a field is named after you, not Rigley Field, not Bryant/Denny or Jordan/Hare, but the field of blood. Imagine that your very name means betrayer. But it didn’t have to be this way, because Jesus is the cure for suicide.
Here is a simple recap of why I think Judas committed suicide and why Jesus was the cure for it all.
He committed suicide because:
He was driven by an evil spirit–Jesus has power over every spirit that comes against anyone, Jesus could have cast that spirit out.
He was disappointed that Jesus didn’t overthrow the Roman Empire, but Jesus not only rules over the Roman Empire, but over every empire, He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. No power greater than His power.
He was disappointed that money didn’t satisfy his soul, Jesus could have satisfied that emptiness that Judas had in his life. Jesus could have given him true riches.
He couldn’t get repentance from religion. Religion didn’t offer forgiveness for his sin, but Jesus says, come unto me. Judas repented at the wrong place, he could have gone to the cross, and heard Jesus say, forgive them.
He thought the cross would be the last chapter in the life of Christ. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will never pass away. Judas didn’t realize the Word of God, that Jesus would lay his life down, but pick it up again. As the song says, no grave is going to keep my body down.
A. Today if you feel oppression on your life, if you feel like strong spirits are working on your mind and heart, let Jesus free you today, whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Fear has torment, let Jesus give you peace, let Jesus give you joy, let Jesus give you hope. If Judas would have said, Jesus set me free from this tormenting Spirit, he would have been set free.
B. Today, if world events seem out of control, and you feel like everything is going wrong and bad, and there is no end in sight. Jesus is the cure for hopelessness, He says, look up for your redemption draws neigh. Jesus says, in my Father’s house there are many mansions, he says we are pilgrims and strangers passing through this life into an eternal kingdom. Where the lion lays down with the lamb, and He dries every tear. Not the 6 o’clock report, but thus saith the Word of God.
C. If you have come to the place where you have money and success, and you still feel down and discouraged. If you say, I thought if I made it to this place I would be happy in life. Judas found out that 10,000 dollars, easy money for a night’s work didn’t satisfy him like he had hoped. Jesus says, store up treasures in heaven. Better to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord. The kingdoms of this world will come to nothing, everything will fade away, but only Jesus will satisfy the soul. He is the bread of life, the living water and gives the new wine for your spirit.
D. Judas went to religion to get forgiveness, but religion said, it is your responsibility not ours. The church can’t save you, the preacher can’t save you, the priest cant’ save you. It isn’t in a cathedral, it isn’t in a monastery, it is at the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light.
Church attendance won’t wash your sins away, giving tithes won’t give you peace like a river in your soul. If you will confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you of all unrighteousness. Hear Jesus say again, it is my will that none should perish.
E. Judas thought the cross was the end, but for Jesus it was just the beginning. From the cross Jesus granted Salvation, through the cross He defeated death, hell and the grave forever. Judas thought what he had done was irreversible. Today, that is the lie of Satan into so many lives. The devil, evil spirits say, what you have done will never be forgiven, what you have done has ruined your life, what you have done will never be forgotten. You might as well end it all, you might as well give up. You have failed, you have fallen, you are history.
But Jesus says, let the weak say I am strong,
Let the poor say I am rich,
Let the fallen say, I will get back up again,
Let the discouraged say, the joy of the Lord is my strength, Let the one rejected by this world say, I am accepted by the Father through Christ my Saviour.
Let the tormented say, He gives peace like a river,
Let the sick say, I will live and declare the glory of the Lord.
*always remember that the devil is a liar and the truth is not in him. Any time you get a suggestion of destruction it is from the destroyer. The theif comes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus has come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. Let Jesus touch you, everyone He touches He makes completely whole.
Close: today, Jesus is the cure for suicide. Peter denied the Lord, but still was a mighty apostle. Paul persecuted the Lord, but was the greatest church planter of all time. Thomas doubted the Lord, but became a martyr for Christ. The story of Christianity isn’t about the perfect, those who never failed, but it is about those redeemed, restored and renewed.
The name Jimmy Ellis may not be familiar to you, but he has a quote that I think applies for today. He was a boxer, who was a heavy weight world champion. A reporter one time asked him if he realized of all the world champions, he had been knocked down more times than anyone else. He smiled and said, that just means I got up more times than anyone else. That is the story of a Spiritual Champion. No matter how many times you get knocked down in life, you get up for the next round. Today, be encouraged, Jesus is the cure for suicide. Judas, don’t go there.