Hey Judas!


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© Jeanne E Webster   All rights reserved

Envision this:

While going about your daily business two thousand years ago, a certain man ambled by and addressed you with sound authority. You had recently heard bits of rumors about him… he is a prophet, a great teacher, and a healer. He invited you to join him and his group of followers, and perhaps sensing something unique about him, you decided to follow him too.

You lived, ate, walked, talked, slept and pondered with him and his men. He told you about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Ten Commandments. He explained some of the mysteries of scripture, cured diseases, resurrected people from the dead, and told you how to live a pleasing life for God.

How mesmerizing he was explaining how to love people and love God, warned you of false prophets, calmed your fears, forgave your sins and taught you how to pray. Gradually your admiration for this man grew into a secret desire for some of his power.

One day he called you and his other disciples around him and chose twelve to be his closest apostles. You were one of the twelve! What an honor! What glory! To be one of his inner circle! That’s a choice position! You must really be someone special!

Soon after this event, he gave you and the others real POWER: power to heal the sick, make the blind to see, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead. WOW! He told you to go to the cities where the Jews lived and tell them “the kingdom is at hand!

Repent!” Pretty heavy stuff here! Pretty heady too!

For three years, you and the other disciples performed miracles and followed this man. He took you and the others aside one day and asked, “Who do men say that I am?”

One of your group answered, “Elijah!”

“A great prophet!” said another.

“John the Baptist!” answered another.

Peter spoke up, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

The Messiah?! The Son of God?! Just think of that! You have seen, felt, and experienced the Messiah!

You saw him perform thousands of miracles, weep at the loss of a friend, have compassion on the poor, the children, and sinners. What honor, what pleasure, what glory and power and elation filled your spirit. You not only witnessed the Messiah and His works down here on earth, you were among His special disciples. That was something to write home about.

Then…now that your head is puffed way up out of proportion, and your heart is filled with pride…then…this Man says something that immediately bursts your bubble. The hot air is still hissing from your big balloon when he continued, “I must suffer many things in the days ahead…the elders and chief priests and scribes are going to reject me…I will be killed…and after three days I will rise again.”

Your mind spun out of control, the thoughts flashed by one after another with lightning speed. WHAT? He just said the elder, chief priests and scribes did not believe He is Messiah. They are going to kill Him? He will rise again in three days?

Peter spoke out, “Lord, You don’t have to go through all that. We’ll fight for You. I’ll lay down my life for You! Don’t say things like that!”You didn’t want to hear things like that either.

The Master rebuked Peter and called him, “Satan!” He continued, “Whoever saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life for My sake will save it. Don’t be ashamed of Me because if you do, I’ll be ashamed of you when I come again to judge you.”

Over the next few days or weeks He warned you of more things to come. “Don’t be deceived, for many will come in My name. There’ll be wars, earthquakes, famines and lots of trouble. You’ll be delivered up to councils, be beaten and brought up on trial before rulers and kings. You’ll be hated by all men because of Me. But endure, be faithful and you will be saved.”

Passover arrived. You joined the others in an upper room, had a good meal, good discussions and maybe got a little drowsy when you suddenly perked up at the voice of Jesus. “One of you is going to betray Me!”

That took your drowsiness away! “Betray You, Lord? Me?”

Jesus answered, “He that dips his hand in this dish with Me, that’s who it is. Woe to the man by whom I am betrayed! It’d been better if he would have never been born!”

You slowly rose from your resting place, walked over to Jesus and asked, “Master…is it I?”

He looked up at you and replied, “Yes, you have said it.”

You immediately left the room. Meeting with the chief priests and scribes later, you told them, “Jesus and His disciples will be in the garden of Gethsemane tonight. Go get Him! I’ll greet the prophet with a kiss.”

That evening you approached the garden, followed by the priests, scribes and soldiers from the temple. Walking over to Jesus you proclaimed, “Hail Master!” You leaned forward and kissed Him on His right cheek. He peered into your eyes and asked, “Friend, why did you come here?”

Later, after realizing your mistake, you had second thoughts about this event. You didn’t know it would go this far. You gave the money back. Jesus didn’t have to be crucified. “Why don’t they stop this awful nonsense?!” But it is out of your hands now.

Dejected, you found a rope, put a noose in it and prepared to end your misery. Seconds before you flung yourself off the tree branch, you vividly saw again your Master’s face and hear His last words to you, “Friend, why did you come here?” Thus was the fate of Judas Iscariot.

It might be that Jesus asks us that question today. “Friend, why do you come to Me?” Is it for the glory, the power, the esteem, the need to feel better than others? Or do our hearts reply, “Whoever saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life will save it.”

“Don’t be ashamed of me because if you do, I’ll be ashamed of you when I come again to judge you.”

Do we truly mean, as the old hymn so eloquently pleads:

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me;
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God…I come…I come.
Just as I am Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.
Because Thy promise…I believe!
O Lamb of God…I come…I come.
(Just as I am, written by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871)

The Hate-Crime Heard Round the World

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© 2010 Jeanne E Webster – All rights reserved

Breathless and panic-stricken from the recent Gethsemane fracas, he followed the crowd into the palace courtyard. He could scarcely glimpse his Master amongst the incensed flock of scribes and elders. “Just a little closer,” he muttered, “I must see Him!” He was horrified at the intonations of hatred, death and lies emanating from the agitated throng.

“Who will testify that this man is guilty of blasphemy?” roared the voice of the high priest. “Will someone bear witness to this truth?”

After a hushed pause, two timid voices clamored through the din, “This man said he could destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days. We heard him say that with our own ears!”

“Aha,” salivated the high priest, circling the accused victim, “will you respond to this accusation? Is it true that you said this?”

Silence hung like sodden drapes over the perturbed assembly.

“I demand that you tell us by the living God if you are the Christ, the Son of God!” bellowed the high priest, pithily erupting nose-to-nose with the defendant.

Edging cautiously towards the perimeter, the disciple tried to blend in with the crowd. He couldn’t hear his Master’s reply, but seeing the animated reaction of the high priest, it hadn’t been well received.

“He has spoken blasphemy; you all heard it! He said he was the SON OF MAN!” Renting his clothes with utter disgust the high priest asked for a verdict from the frenzied assembly.

“He is guilty of death!” they shouted in modulating rhythm. “KILL HIM! KILL HIM!” Swarming over the Master like angry bees, they spit in his face and vehemently beat him, while others clouted him with open hands. “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who just hit you? Who spit in your face?”

Scurrying toward the palace outskirts, he knew it was time to dissociate himself from the bedlam at hand. He was quickly singled out by a bystander while trying to blend in with the agitated mass.

“Hey, Guard! This man was with Jesus of Galilee.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the disciple stuttered, casually trying to evade the allegation.

An onlooker blurted out a similar charge, “You WERE one of them.”

“NO! I never heard of him. Leave me alone!” he spouted, grabbing his robe closer around his face.

“Wait a minute!” another shouted, “This man really WAS with him; he even talks like a Galilean!”

“I don’t know what you’re saying! Dammit, I DO NOT KNOW THAT MAN!”

Off in the distance the eerie sound of a cock crowing dropped him to his knees as he recalled the words of Jesus, “Before the cock crows, you will deny knowing me three times.”

“No! Oh, No! No! My Lord! Forgive me!” Weeping bitterly, Peter dragged himself out into the darkness, never to be the same again.
(Paraphrased from Matthew 26:57-75 KJV)

Did You Know?

“How precious also are Thy thoughts of me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!”  Psalm 139:17

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There was never anyone so faithful or considerate or far-seeing as Jesus.  He had great commendation to give a woman, a follower who came early to the tomb to ready His body for burial.  She came beforehand with her ministry to Him.   He was always thinking ahead of the disciples.  When He sent them to prepare the Passover, there was found an upper room furnished and prepared.  He had thought it all out.  His plans were not made only for that day.  He was always in advance of time.  When the disciples came back from fishing, Jesus was on the seashore with a fire of coals and fish laid thereon.  He thinks of the morning duties before you stir; He is there before you.  He is waiting long before you awake.  His anticipations are all along the way of life before you.

After the resurrection, the disciples were bewildered, and the way looked black.  But the angel said, “Behold, He goes before you into Galilee.”

He is always ahead, thinking ahead, preparing ahead.  Take this text with you into your future, take it into today’s experience:

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid… I go to prepare a place for you.”

He is out in the world doing it.  He will be there before you.  He will bring you to your appointed place, and you will find your appointed resources.  You will discover His insightHis oversight, and His foresight.  You may not always see Him, but you can walk by faith in the dark if you know that He sees you, and you can sing as you journey, even through the night.

~by John Macbeath

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“We mean a lot to Some One, and ’tis everything to me

That to God His wayward children were worth a Calvary.

It’s the meaning of my Sunday, and to Saturday from Monday,

It is my hope that one day my Savior I shall see.

Though the day be dark and dreary, here’s comfort for the weary–

We mean a lot to Some One Who died for you and me!”

~author unknown