september 23, 2008: Daniel 11-12, Luke 6
i was reading through todays devotions and was caught up many times at the words in my bible. the prophecies offered in the end of Daniel are shocking and irritating to my christianity. knowing the world will end suppresses my heart. i know it must happen. but the end of most things is disturbingly sad.
where i was really overwhelmed with thought and insight was in the words of the famous chapter Luke 6 in the calling of the 12 disciples and the sermon on the mount, better known as the beatitudes. ive read these same verses in Luke or other like books for years now. and it always amazes me that each time there is something new to be learned. something valuable. i like this about God. That while he never changes and is the same yesterday, today and forever, he keeps us on our toes. i like that God keeps me on my toes. a boring God would not be a fun God to serve. and our God is the greatest God to serve.
in the calling of the 12 disciples, they are listed as follows by Luke:
Simon, whom he names Peter
Andrew, his brother
James, the son of Alphaeus
Simon, who was called the Zealot
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
ive taken special notice today at the words that follow the name of Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. our names, indefinitely, carry a story, an image, a certain connotation, a reputation with them. like jesus. in the bible, jesus (his name) was known, even by the Pharisees, as healer and later as messiah. and all through jesus’ ministry, the name he was trying to make for himself was Son of God. eventually, after the crucifixion and resurrection, jesus would be known forever by his followers as the Son of the living God. but more about judas. im just thinking how awful it would be to have the rep as judas iscariot, who became a traitor. for 3 strong years, judas iscariot was a normal one of jesus’ disciples. he heard the parables. prayed the prayers. contributed to the great events like waking jesus to calm to the sea. so he had some confusing times in his discipleship… sometimes he wanted to keep the money for himself. and sometimes he questioned the words of jesus. so what! dont we all do that? or have done that? at the end of 3 solid years of ministry for jesus, judas iscariot became a traitor. he sold jesus’ to the chief priests who plotted his death. even that night in the garden, judas went to kiss jesus (i know i know that the whole kiss was part of judas’ plan to help point out which one jesus was).. but it was still a kiss. why not sell out jesus with a pointing of the finger, or a slap in the face? the point is that judas iscariot probably meant well. maybe his family was in trouble… he did afterall, leave them. maybe he needed the money. bottom line, we don’t know. all we know is that he became a traitor and is forever now known as traitor.
now im very overjoyed that when jesus rose again he brought all humanity forevermore forgiveness and mercy beyond fathoming. thank you jesus!!! but what about the sad story of judas iscariot who loved jesus and served him for 3 years. and lost it all in 1 night. later to hang himself in depression and regret. ??? how does a man of this background (hello? he was in the top 12!) lose his reputation in 1 night? if judas iscariot can drop his reputation of “disciple” in 1 night, how much more quickly can i lose my reputation as “christian?”
the wonderful thing about the Lord is that you can have a background as a drug addict, be given forgiveness and wake up the next morning with a clean slate. (this process might be harder for the world, but God’s kingdom rules work like this) so how can we actually protect our reputations as “lover of Jesus”? THIS i might have found an answer to. Right after the calling of the 12 disciples, Jesus says in the sermon on the mount: “why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what i tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like- he is like a man building a house, who dig deep and laid the foundation on the rock. and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” how many times have i called upon the Lord and not done what he says? our responsibility to call the Lord, Lord is to do what he has said and what is word says. judas iscariot betrayed the word of the Lord and forever lost his reputation. but when our lives are living for him and all aspects of our lives point to his glory, we cannot become the next judas iscariot.
my prayer is that the lord humbles and softens my heart and soul daily. that i may always reflect his word and his will. and should i stumble and fall, may he be forgiving and gracious upon my sins. thank you lord jesus that you are good and your name means wonderful, counselor, mighty god, everlasting father, prince of peace.