“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” — Ephesians 6:11
A conversation-starter: Ask a group of non-Believers to name 10 people in the Bible other than Jesus. It’s likely you’ll hear Judas more often and more positively than you expect.
Through venues as the rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and the 2006 book and documentary, “The Gospel of Judas,” Judas is viewed with sympathy as a duped victim to advance questionable religious dogma. This is an opposite view, of course, from the belief Judas was the catalyst to Jesus’ crucifixion.
Was Judas a bad man? A conniver? Did Judas — chosen by Jesus to follow him — become a disciple in anticipation of becoming treasurer of a multi-million dollar ministry from which he could embezzle? Should we feel sympathy for him?
Pastor and author Colin Smith brings more insight into this idea in his book, “Heaven, So Near – So Far: The Story of Judas Iscariot.” However, the question here — as it was when the post was originally written in 2007 — is the contemporary Judas. The potential one within Christ-followers of the millennium, who, it seems, continues emerging in headlines and social posts.
While Judas may have been the misunderstood, manipulated soul of revisionist history, a closer look at Scriptures notes the source of his manipulation. Luke 22:3 begins: “Then Satan entered Judas….”
This phrase implies Judas failed to do what many of us fail to do when tempted today: We underestimate the subtleties of the Evil One, don’t put on the full armor of God, and allow our temporary emotions to undermine our witness. It would be easy to point out celebrities and politicians whose Facebook and Twitter posts seem to express hypocritical Christianity. But what of us? How have we responded to such posts? What do our posts say about us?
And how do we respond at other times of the year. Do we uphold Holy Week, ignoring where we are wholly weak?
Do we betray God by not keeping fellowship with Him through prayer and bible study? When we are silent when Jesus’ name is smeared? When we do not act in Christ’s name against injustice — be it social or political? When we don’t call fellow Believers and leaders into account when their words or actions — no matter how well intended — misrepresent the work of God’s kingdom and the meaning of the cross?
How do we minimize our acts of betrayal? By making the tenets of Ephesians 6:10-18 an active part of our daily routine, and remembering how Jesus ended The Lord’s Prayer:
“Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
Without this protection, any of us can fall as Judas did. That is the scary reality of what occurred to Judas. Keeping this in mind is an ongoing commemoration of Good Friday.
(Originally published, March 13, 2007)