December 2018 Pastors Corner

 

 

The Temple guard bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the Roman governor. When Judas, who had betrayed our Lord for money, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying righteous and innocent blood!” But they said to Judas, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Matthew 27:2-4

 

This month we conclude our year-long series on Jesus’ Twelve (original) Disciples, by looking at Judas Iscariot, the one who most actively betrayed Jesus, and helped hand him over to those who crucified him. You can reasonably ask: “Why talk about Judas, of all people, during the Advent-Christmas month of December? This is supposed to be a time of joy, of anticipation, of celebration!” It’s a good question.

 

Yet, we also need to remember: God came to us in Christ Jesus specifically for the purpose of dying for us and for the whole world. As that great Christmas carol “What Child Is This” puts it: “Nails, spear shall pierce him through; the cross be borne for me, for you.” So, in many ways, December is the best month to talk about Judas.

 

We don’t know a lot about this shadowy, twelfth disciple. The four Gospels and the Book of Acts each describe him somewhat differently. John’s Gospel calls him a thief. His other name “Iscariot” could refer to a place in Palestine, or it could have another meaning. There is at least some evidence that Judas, like Simon the Zealot, might have been an insurrectionist, hoping to overthrow Roman rule with military might. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all agree that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, as a way of identifying him to the arresting soldiers. In Matthew, Judas kills himself for the shame of betraying the Lord – an innocent man (see the verse above.) But, in the Book of Acts, Judas dies by a traumatic accident.

 

Such details are not necessarily that important. However, the verse at the top of this page does remind us of one crucial thing. ALL of Jesus’ disciples were human, and Judas was NOT the only one to betray our Lord. Even Simon Peter, the head disciple, denied knowing Jesus three times on the night of his arrest. So, the most significant difference between Judas and all the other disciples is that they turned back to Jesus and asked forgiveness (in so many words.) We have no evidence that Judas trusted in Christ’s love enough to ask forgiveness for his betrayal.

 

What are the greatest Christmas gifts of all? That God is willing to come to us in person – God Immanuel. That God was willing to die for each one of us – despite our being no better than Judas. That God is willing to live inside each of us, by the Holy Spirit, and to work the gifts of faith, hope, love, and peace in our hearts. That God the Father is eager to have us live forever with Him in heaven. Amen.

 

Blessed & Joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year!                 Pastor John


December 15, 2018

 

Special Upcoming

  Events!

  

 

Christmas Eve

Candlelight Worship

with Holy Communion

Tuesday, December 24th

at 5:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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