Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee…He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. Luke 4:14-30
Even with our eyes wide open temptation has no beginning and no end in this world. Who among us has not wanted to give up, and surrender? The key is knowing to what you are giving up and surrendering. WWJD? Give up, the physical, and surrender to God. Captive, blind, and oppressed no more unless we choose to be. Boldly we must continue to chip away at the things which incarcerate our surroundings, cover our eyes and prevent us from moving in the direction God intends us to go. When Jesus left the wilderness, he went to the synagogue and claimed his purpose for the benefit of anyone who had ears to listen. To the glory of God, speak the Word and claim your purpose today. Don’t worry that some may want to “throw you off a cliff.” do your part and God will surely do his.
‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21
Like Christ, God most certainly has a purpose for us, a purpose, which in reality is a continuation of his plan the moment he sent his son Jesus Christ in to the world not to participate in the ways of the world but rather to help us become one with God and one with each other in order that we might believe and have eternal life, even as we struggle with the questions and doubts. Most assuredly today when we are called by God we are not destined to be lost in in Judas’ struggle, and in the same way that Peter who denied him and Thomas who doubted Christ’s resurrection, finally took their place among the believers, each of us must stand to take our place in order that the scripture be fulfilled in our own lives. There will be difficulties in our ministries including the struggles we have among one another. However, it is important to know that God plans for each of us to be a witness in our own way using the gifts he has given us. A witness is a person who testifies to what is seen, heard or known by personal presence or perception. In Judas, we understand that it is possible to witness something and still get it wrong because of our physical perception. As believers, our witness comes by our faith in God’s spiritual gift and our experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit, and not by what we physically perceive but rather by what we know to be true in Christ Jesus. Because of this we have every opportunity to get the relationship right.
Consider for a moment a time when you may have felt hurt or betrayed by someone and yet as you look back on life you find yourself in a better place because of that experience. There is no way of knowing with absolute certainty what Judas’ thoughts may have been, but we can not argue that he must have had some questions and struggles within him even into his death, which in my mind is a tragedy. We know that Judas questions the use of the oil used to anoint Jesus feet. Perhaps he also questions Christ’s tactics and motives and particularly through out these last days struggles with the perceived rise of Christ among common humanity. Judas finds himself in between his relationship with the world and the spiritual relationship with Christ. He is having a difficult time seeing beyond the vehicle that is the body of Christ. Remember Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Is not Judas portrayed to be in a place where we sometimes find our selves; unable to see beyond our present circumstances questioning God’s ways? The reality for us today is that when Judas died those questions, concerns and doubts did not die with him. Ultimately Judas had to make a decision and so do we. The scripture had to be fulfilled and Judas made the choice that led him to a sacrifice for death and yet leads us to the one sacrificed for life. Judas could be anyone of us or someone we know, but Judas’ dilemma doesn’t have to be our dilemma. The good news is that we have something that Judas did not have, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Are we using the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that the scripture can be fulfilled in our own lives?
Throughout this Easter season we spend a lot of time being encouraged to abide in God’s love and to love one another as Christ loved us. This emphasis on love requires that we be in relationship. Sometimes it’s very difficult as humans to love something in which we have no relationship. In fact I believe it’s perhaps even more difficult to love something with which we are not in right relationship. It is at this point where Judas’ relationship with Christ is given some attention. Just before Jesus is arrested, condemned and put to death, Jesus prays for his disciples saying; “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one… I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” Christ words help us to understand the significance of a right relationship with God and one another, something Judas was never able to comprehend. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just be taken out of this world? You know the world with all its pride and prejudice, greed and licentiousness. However, this world by itself is not evil and I have come to realize that just being taken out of the world doesn’t actually solve any problems. In this journey we are confronted with every temptation that is produced in the world, and no one new this better than Jesus. So what does Judas’ part in Jesus ministry really mean for us today?