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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Fall From Grace

June 8, 2014

Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. (Mark 14:43, NIV)

How can anyone explain the behavior of Judas?

The early 1970s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar tried to rehabilitate Judas. It chronicles the last seven days in the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Judas, who became disillusioned. After leading the soldiers to Gethsemane and watching events unfold, Judas realizes he has been tricked by God into being an instrument of Jesus’ martyrdom. Furious that the man from Nazareth will be remembered as a “Superstar,” Judas hangs himself.

Opposite to this modern attempt to rehabilitate Judas is the writing of 16th-century author Dante. In his work The Inferno, Dante placed Judas in the lowest pit of hell, frozen in a lake of ice — a lake formed by the tears of humanity. With Judas in the lake is the devil, depicted as a huge craggy monster with three faces and great batlike wings. In each mouth, he crushes a traitor — Brutus and Cassius on each side — and in the center mouth, Judas.

For Dante, Judas’ sin was against love. His head is now mangled by the teeth of the devil in memory of the crown of thorns his treachery brought Christ, and his back is lacerated by the devil’s claws in repayment for Jesus’ scourging.

In contrast to Jesus Christ Superstar and Dante, the Scriptures give us the real story.

Judas started out as a regular disciple. He followed Jesus from John’s baptism (Acts 1:22); was selected after Jesus spent a night in prayer (Luke 6:12,13); was sent out to preach, heal, and cast out demons (Mark 6:6-13); witnessed the miracles of Jesus; and listened to His teachings. Judas didn’t accept Jesus’ invitation to be a member of the Twelve in order that he would later betray Him.

So, what happened? Judas did not deal with his disappointments in Jesus. Why wasn’t Jesus advocating the overthrow of the Roman government? If He could do miracles, why wasn’t He using His powers militarily?

Judas’ disappointment with Jesus grew gradually as evidenced by the fact he stole from the money bag (John 12:6). Finally, the devil himself entered Judas (Luke 22:3; John 13:27), and Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15), the price set for a slave (Exodus 21:32).

Notice the descent in Judas — from disappointment in Jesus, to moral failure as a thief, ending in being possessed of the devil. Judas’ life is a lesson for us lest we fall into greater and greater sin.

Nineteenth-century hymn writer and theologian F.W. Faber said: “He who dallies with temptation ... is never safe. People say that such and such a man had a sudden fall, but no fall is sudden. In every instance, the crisis of the moment is decided only by the tenor of the life; nor, since the world began, has any man been dragged over into the domain of evil, who had not strayed carelessly, or gazed curiously, or lingered guiltily, beside its edge.”

Jesus said if we are faithful in small things, He would make us ruler over much. The reverse is also true. If, like Judas, we are unfaithful in small things then we open ourselves to greater and greater unfaithfulness until the devil himself enters us.


A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, guard my heart. Guard my life. May I choose not to sin small lest I become capable of sinning greatly.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


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