Summary: Our text from the second half of Acts 1 tells about an important prayer meeting. As it turns out it is a history-making prayer meeting. But there is a chilling ABSENCE at this meeting. Why did the talented, priveledged Judas disqualify himself. The proc
Wrapping Up Lose Ends
Series: Book of Acts #7
We will begin this morning with a clip from the movie “Crimes & Misdemeanors.” To cover sins of adultery and extortion, Judah Rosenthal has had his mistress murdered. In this scene he sits down beside Cliff Stern, a documentary film maker (played by Woody Allen). As if it were a plot for a documentary film, Judah describes his own experience as a murderer.
Show Clip (1:35:55 to 1:39:20)
Conviction of sin—it is a wonderful blessing from God. It makes us uncomfortable with self-destructive behavior. It leads us toward repentance. It turns us toward God. In the clip we just saw Judah describes his own struggle with conviction—the upheaval in his conscience—the process by which he made a choice not to repent but to live in his sin—the temporary relief he felt when he decided to do the wrong thing.
Our text from the second half of Acts 1 tells about an important prayer meeting. As it turns out it is a history-making prayer meeting. But there is a chilling ABSENCE at this meeting.
I. The DISQUALIFIED Disciple: Judas is not there.
Judas was a gifted man with great potential. He was chosen by Jesus Himself as one of the twelve disciples --privileged to be with Jesus during His earthly ministry. In the Luke 9 he is sent out in ministry by Jesus along with the other eleven. In that ministry he heals the sick, casts out demons, and preaches the kingdom of God. He is in the group who return to Jesus with good news about the results of their trip. Had we seen him with the other eleven during those three years we would have never guessed that he would end up a traitor. In the upper room when Jesus said that one of them would betray Him, nobody knew it was Judas until Jesus told them.
What happened to Judas? How can a person be called into ministry and end up betraying Jesus, committing suicide, and spending eternity in hell? Although God knew the choices Judas would make—those choices were his to make. There was that one sin that Judas lived in even when doing religious ministry. John tells us what it was in John 12:6. In that text a woman named Mary took costly perfumed oil and worshipfully poured it on the feet of Jesus. Judas was outraged. He stepped forward and asked, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?” That question sounds so innocent—so politically correct—so very, very religious. But in the next verse John tells us what was going on inside Judas. “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” I suspect that the first few times Judas stole from the money bag he felt a disturbance something like that described in our clip. But in time he justified his own actions. Maybe he felt like he deserved some payback for the work he was doing. Maybe he said to himself, “I’m only taking one-thirteenth and I deserve that any how. We come up with some amazing rationalization to silence our conscience in a situation like that. In time one sin led to another—one justification led to another—greed led to betrayal which involve him in a murder—and not just any murder but the murder of Christ.
In verses 18-19 of our text Luke gives a parenthetical explanation of what eventually happened to Judas. “(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)” When we set Luke’s comment here in our text beside Matthews account we get a picture of what took place at the end of Judas’ life. Matt 27:3-10, “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That’s your responsibility." 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: ‘They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’”