Friday, March 8, 2013

Judas Lives

It seems we are seeing Judas everywhere these days.  He's is spotted more then Elvis.  We are easily able to see him in priests who are caught molesting children and in TV evangelist caught in a scandal. Judas, in the dictionary, is one who betrays another under the guise of friendship.  It is so commonplace that it no longer applies only to Jesus being betrayed, but to anyone or any group being betrayed by an identification of friendship. We've been trained in our culture to spot Judas and point him out. It's often used as a political ploy "Look at what he's done.  He's one of them!"

As bad as the omnipresence of Judas is in our culture, his presence in our church is so much worse.  This is were Judas does the most damage.  Remember Judas' betrayal was not just with a kiss. It first involved the establishment of another authority in Judas' life. It was not anything unusual in his day or ours for someone to be beholden to money or to the current power structure. It is only due to the contradiction in allegiance that the kiss becomes a betrayal. In Jesus' day only one of the 12 had this problem.  Unfortunately this sort of divided allegiance or double mindedness is common in today's church. Despite our ability to spot him everywhere, Judas goes mostly unnoticed among our congregations.

All too often, Judas is there when Jesus has started a ministry in the life of a lost soul and with some small hypocrisy Judas betrays the whole body of Christ in that person's mind. The outspoken Christian who is dishonest in business dealings is Judas to all he has cheated. The co-worker who is known to say "Praise Jesus" for every blessing but who is also known for not pulling his weight or shirking his duties betrays Jesus.  The less then faithful spouse who rationalizes what is "realistic" gives in to the worldly authority over God's. The citizen who votes to have the government do wrong in expectation of a payout or benefit takes his thirty pieces of silver.  The church leader who chooses peace over justice or who enjoys freedom for his church and supports, either actively or by silent consent, the subjugation of another is playing the role of Judas.

A friend once told me, nobody wants all doom and gloom.  So I must point out the uplifting joy in this situation:
Judas is in Heaven!
Judas was an apostle of Christ. Sure he is only remembered for his betrayal but he is saved never the less.  You ask how I know this? I must confess that I am Judas.  I have been Judas more than once and to more than a few people.  I have tainted and destroyed my witness in the eyes of others and Jesus' ministry has suffered because of it.

I do not know what I will be remembered for and yet, despite all of my sins, I do know that I am seen righteous in the eyes of God through the blood of the only worthy sacrifice, Jesus Christ! 

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