Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Betrayal of Jesus

Scripture:  Matthew 26 v 14 - 16: "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
 15  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
 16  And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him."

Matthew 26 v 21 - 25: "And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
 22  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
 23  And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
 24  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
 25  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said."

Sadly, Jesus knew all along who would betray Him.  Someone who was part of His trusted inner circle of disciples, who were given the power to heal and cast out demons and sent out two by two to bring healing to the town's of Israel.

John 12 v 4 - 6: "Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
 5  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
 6  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."

Jesus knew Judas was a thief but allowed him to be the group's treasurer.  How the Lord loves even those who seek to hurt Him.  

Luke 22 v 1 - 4: "Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
 2  And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
 3  Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
 4  And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them."

That act of betrayal led to the arrest, trial, judgment, whipping, mockery, agony and death of Jesus on the Cross.  At the time of His death there was a full eclipse of the Sun, and an earthquake in Jerusalem that damaged the Temple and split the 4" thick curtain that covered the Holy of Holies, from top to bottom.

The superstitious Romans, soldiers and executioners observing the three crucifixions, must have realised that all these signs in nature were centred on one dead man and said, Truly He was the Son of God!

Judas Iscariot had been deceived by the Pharisees who said they just wanted to talk to Jesus.  It had spiralled out of control and now Jesus was dead.  Judas flung his 30 pieces of silver at the Pharisees and went and hanged himself on a tree.

However, this conflict was between Jesus Christ and Satan, who had entered into Judas, and was manifesting through him.  Satan wanted Jesus dead, buried and forgotten.  He wanted revenge for all the many demons Jesus had sent back to Hell.  Not to mention the ability of the followers of Jesus to do likewise.  His evil kingdom would be in ruins if they kept this up.

Satan was very busy setting up lies, persecution, fear, arrests, misinformation, fake news, things which have continued till this very day.  He had been severely shocked by the most unexpected and unwelcome news that Jesus had risen from the dead.  Three days after His death, He was back.

Satan stirred up the Romans and Pharisees into a conspiracy of denial.  One of my favourite movies is "Risen" about a Roman centurion tasked with finding the body of Jesus by Pontius Pilate.  He had seen Jesus dead on the Cross so he had new graves opened to find where the disciples had hidden the body.

He interviewed people who had seen Him alive or heard His voice and was curious about this matter.  The day he saw Jesus alive in the Upper Room surrounded by His disciples was compelling.

1 Corinthians 2 v 7 - 8: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
 8  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

The "princes of this world" refer to spirits like Satan, the god of this world, and ruling demons called principalities and powers.  Before the world was formed God knew all this hidden wisdom and mystery of the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

None of the evil spirits knew anything about it because if they knew they would never have crucified Him.  My thoughts are higher than your thoughts says God.  And they never knew that those who believed and followed Jesus would have the same power and authority He had.

This world is dying, the Earth is polluted beyond human help.  The oceans are frightening in the amount of waste they contain.  Even space is used to store our junk.  Our planet is on life-support and we are faced with a changing climate, unprecedented weather-related calamities, increasing volcanic, earthquake, tsunami and tornado activities, so we now want to move to Mars.

The world has betrayed God from when Satan entered the Garden of Eden and turned Adam and Eve into his playthings.  They were ousted from Eden and the rest is history.

Jesus was God's plan to overturn the defeat of Eden and restore communication with the human race beyond just the Jews.  He reached out to the Gentiles, non-Jews, and many millions have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb.  However, the real betrayer of Jesus, is still free to deceive Christians and sinners alike and we must discern his tricks and games and beat him at it.

The Church and the world have allowed Satan to run rampant for hundreds of years.  To defeat him is going to take a radical return to the Christianity of the early church.  I mean RADICAL change.

The traditional main line churches have to dump every man-made religious traditional thing.  All legalism, rules, laws, rites, rigid adherence to dead leaders like Calvin, the Wesleys, Luther, et al, has to go.  They were great at starting the movement of Reformation and distance from the Roman Catholic Church, but they did not go far enough and the church has stalled in its growth and relevance, and with nothing further to offer the congregations have drifted away.

Jesus is coming back soon.  He is looking for those who are vibrant in faith, growing in the power of the Holy Spirit, praying continuously, feeding the sheep fresh food, healing the sick, expelling demons and generally turning this world upside down.

He said we would know the season of His soon return but never the day nor hour, which only the Father knows.  He gave us a list of these signs in Matthew 24 v 4 - 14: "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
 5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
 6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
 7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
 8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.
 9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
 10  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
 11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
 12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
 13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
 14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

If any of these signs have not occurred yet then it's still far off.  If all the boxes have been ticked its nearer than we think.  When we look at Venezuela, Syria, Mozambique, Brexit shambles, persecution and martyrdom of thousands of Christians, cults, hatred, racism, plagues, famine, we are already well into the beginning of sorrows.  There is no Better Life For All coming to a country near you.  There is Heaven or Hell facing every soul.

There are the promises of God to those who are faithful to Jesus Christ, and the warnings to those who betray Him.  On Judgment Day we will know the ones who make it and those who don't.  I am urged by Jesus Christ to keep sending out this SOS message.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am born again, baptized by immersion in water, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and His gifts are in use every day in my life.  I am aware of You every minute of the day and night and I am free of the doctrines of men and the demons of Satan. I serve You, Father, and obey Your instructions given fresh every morning, to love and help those around me to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.  Father, honour every one that agrees with this prayer and conforms to it, with Your abundant blessings.  In Jesus' name. Amen.