Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Fool's Betrayal

Well, tomorrow I'm off to my homeland. Yes, I'm going to Romania for a little while. My wife has been there for almost a month, and it will be good to spend some time with her. It may be awhile before I post, but I will do my best to keep it as regular a thing as possible. Thank you all for your understanding.
I’ve had discussions concerning this topic with many friends and fellow brothers in Christ. Did Judas betray Christ due to greed, or was it something foreordained? Was Judas just a misunderstood saint, or was he in reality a greedy man and a thief who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver?
We can assume, but we all know where assumptions can lead, plus the Word is very clear on the character of Judas, and who he really was. Judas liked the shekels. Judas liked to have the money box, he liked to be in control of the finances, and it was no accident that of the twelve, he ended up carrying the money.
Like any malignancy, the love of money did not spring up in Judas’s heart fully matured, but it grew slow and steady from the seed that had been planted there by the enemy at an unknown season in his life. The love of money began to influence Judas’s character, and from there overcame him to the point of betraying his Lord.
There is a very telling occurrence that takes place some six days before the Passover, as Jesus travels to Bethany, and dines with Lazarus and his sisters that reveals the true colors of Judas, a revelation that only an uncontrolled outburst can bring to light.
A man’s true character is not the image he projects on television, a man’s true character is not the image he projects behind the pulpit; a man’s true character is revealed in those unguarded moments, those moments when they don’t think anyone is watching or listening. We’ve all seen examples of this in some politicians, who seemed by any standard to be the salt of the earth, until not knowing that their microphones were still on proceeded to blurt out a list of expletives that would make even the most hardened of sailors blush.
Then of course there is always the mandatory retraction an apology, with their designated representative explaining with a straight face and a furrowed brow that ‘it’s not what he really meant; you know he doesn’t really feel this way; you misunderstood; or if they are marginally honest, ‘you weren’t supposed to hear that.”
Just for your information, that’s exactly what they meant, that’s exactly how they feel, and no, you did not misunderstand it.
Unguarded moments reveal the hearts of men, more readily and thoroughly than spending a year in their company.
Judas had one such moment, when Mary took a pound of very costly oil, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.
John 12:4-6, “Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.”
The only reason Judas feigned umbrage, was because he had done the calculations in his mind and realized he’d be out three hundred denarii. Taking into account that a denarius was one day’s wage in those days, the fragrant oil with which Mary anointed Jesus’ feet was worth almost a year’s worth of wages. It was not out of tenderness of sympathy for the poor, he was a thief, and because he had the money box, he also took what was put in it.
The love of money continued to eat away at the heart and conscience of Judas, until it was all he could desire, and all that he wanted to possess. Finally, he went to the chief priests and asked what they were willing to give him if he would deliver Jesus to them, and they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.
Matthew 26:16, “So from that time on he sought opportunity to betray Him.”
Surely thirty pieces of silver must have been worth allot back then. Surely Judas would not have betrayed Christ for anything less than a veritable fortune. Well, thirty pieces of silver was equal to about one hundred twenty denarii, which would have been a little over a third of what the oil in the alabaster box was worth. Thirty pieces of silver also happened to be the price one paid for a slave.
So for the price of a slave, Judas betrayed the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Would it astonish you if I were to tell you that today men are betraying Jesus for far less? Would it surprise you if I told you that men today are betraying Jesus for worthless, trivial, and temporal things?
Yes, today men betray Jesus just as readily as Judas did, and for far less!
There are four major things for which men have betrayed Jesus throughout the centuries, and still betray him to this day.
First, is the sin of Judas, the love of money. Yes, men betray Jesus for the love of money, and like a cancer eating away at the major organs, the love of money eats away at the vital and fundamental principles of a man’s constitution. When the rich young man came to Jesus, and expressed his desire to follow after Him, Jesus asked one thing, that he sell everything he had and give it to the poor. This, the young man could not do, for he loved his possessions more than Jesus, and as such sold his strength of character for the fleeting possessions of this earth.
The second thing men betray Jesus for, is company. Whether it is friends, family, a wife, a husband, or mere acquaintances, countless souls have set Christ aside to appease others. They allow human sentiment to stand as an immovable stumbling block between themselves and Christ, thereby betraying Him. This was Samson’s downfall, putting his relationship with Delilah above His relationship with his God. Any time we place anything above Jesus, we are betraying Him just as readily as Judas did, sealing our betrayal with a moist kiss.
The third thing that men betray Christ for are earthly pleasures. This can be a long list, but for the sake of brevity, earthly pleasures include everything that causes us to compromise our standard, to reject the fundamental truth that although we are in the world, we ought not to be of the world.
The fourth and final thing that men betray Christ for is their reputations. This has tragically become more popular in our present age than ever before. What we refuse to acknowledge, if only to ourselves, is that we can never popularize the true Jesus. Jesus was hated by the world; Jesus was mocked by the world; Jesus was misunderstood by the world; Jesus was rejected by the world yet those who claim to be His followers readily betray Him in order to be embraced and love by the selfsame world that hated their Master. Today many who name the name of Christ, are ashamed of Him, and so they attempt to homogenize and transform Him into an image they believe will be acceptable to the world.
“No man can go to the Father but by Jesus? That’s not what He really meant; what He meant was that if we try to be good people, and live our own convoluted spirituality, and set our own level of morality wherein we can do what we want, then not only will He welcome us into heaven, but give us lots of stuff here on earth.”
How horrible a thing it is to know the character of Christ, to know the nature of Christ, to know the divinity of Christ and still betray Him.
Many will weep bitter tears and echo the words of Judas, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
The enemy will then answer as did the chief priests and elders, “What is it to me? You see to it!” The enemy is neither merciful nor understanding. He will only court you, until you betray Jesus. Unlike Judas however, today you still have the opportunity to fall to your knees and repent, to reconcile your relationship with the One who gave His life for you, and love Him understanding just how truly priceless salvation is.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words and inspiration. Please keep us posted while you are in Romania, even if it is only a few sentences at a time. We are praying for you and your family. dj from tn

Kim S. said...

I pray God's blessing and protection on your travels and your stay in Romania.
I have to admit it always makes me nervous when you leave to go back to Romania.....I think oh no is this the time the U.S. is going to get it :) Oh well, it truly is in God's hands.
Thank you for your blogs...they are a blessing