Judas

Judas has been wandering around all over the place recently. There was a video showed in church yesterday where Judas made a big appearance. I read another blog about him. He turned up in my bible readings.

Judas was as committed to Jesus as any of the other disciples. He gave up his life and followed Jesus around, saw all the miracles, heard all the things Jesus said. He knew the scriptures and he very probably believed that Jesus was the messiah. He’d witnessed Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and he’d seen that all the people were on Jesus’ side. The timing was right, the people were ready, all Jesus had to do was rise up and remove the Roman occupying forces and restore Jerusalem to an independent state… but it didn’t happen. Jesus didn’t do anything.

So Judas pushed him, just a little, to get him to take action.

Except it didn’t work out. Jesus didn’t rise up his army. Jesus died. And Judas didn’t let himself see the end of the story.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Abraham.

God called Abraham and Abraham believed enough to leave his home and start a nomadic life. Abraham had faith, he believed the promises he was given and yet, when God promised him a son, Abraham took matters into his own hands, he pushed God, just a little bit, just to get the ball rolling. But Ishmael was not the child God promised and instead of Abraham creating the right situation for God to work in, he created a more difficult situation for himself.

Sometimes it is easy to read the bible and to believe God’s promises and to have faith and yet to also push God just a little bit, just to get to those situations you (rightly or wrongly) believe have been promised to you.

It doesn’t work out well, for Judas or for Abraham. But how do we respond to those dark times, when we’ve pushed and instead of making things work out everything has gone even worse? How do we react when it looks like everything we’ve worked for, everything we’ve believed in, has been destroyed because we were too impatient?

Judas didn’t get to witness how awesome his messiah was. He didn’t get to witness the fact that Jesus wasn’t around to destroy the Romans, he was there to destroy an entire way of life, an entire way of living, and entire way of facing death.

Abraham stood firm, he knew he’d make a mistake (lets be honest, it wasn’t his first), but he trusted that his God was bigger than the situation he had put himself in. He continued to walk by faith. And he saw the promised outcome.

How do you respond to mistakes?

Chief of the least

About a year after Christ coming to me, during the summer before my freshmen year in college, I found myself on a short term mission trip to Hawaii (I know pity me). During a bus ride in Oahu a few in our group struck up a polite conversation with an outgoing group of college aged girls. When the dialogue turned to why we were there the discussion turned to spiritual matters. One girl claimed boldly:

“Jesus never once claimed to be the Son of God”

A leader in our group then brought up Matthew 16. In that passage Jesus asks Peter “Who do you say I am?” Peter responds “You are the Messiah, Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) Jesus in turn responds to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven.”

I…

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Forgiveness: Answer Two – Yes

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3: 13

 

God sent his son to die for us, in order to provide forgiveness for us, while we were still sinful, before we even realised that we had done anything wrong. He forgave us, not because of any action on our part but because of his nature. If we are called to forgive as the Lord forgives then our forgiveness shouldn’t be based on the actions or inactions on the other person. Surely, if we truly forgive then we don’t need to require the other person to tell us how sorry they are, to ask for forgiveness. Surely, that is not forgiving but just trying to feel good about ourselves by making the other person feel guilty?

Forgiveness: Answer One: No

Matthew 18:15

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

 

How can you possibly forgive someone if they haven’t asked for forgiveness? If they haven’t even considered that they may have hurt you? Surely, in order to forgive, the person must be in need of forgiveness. How can you give someone  something they don’t think they need?

 

Why Not Believe?

The narrative below is based on Jesus’ words in Luke 18:9-14.

“Two men went into a church to pray, one a devout Christian and the other a homosexual.  The Christian stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this homosexual.  I have been baptized and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the homosexual stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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