Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Betrayal

Lk.22:47-48 - And while He yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Now no one believes Judas was a true believer. He is even called the "son of perdition" and after he committed suicide he wound up separated from God forever. What a tragic disgrace. Jesus had shown Judas amazing love and compassion. Judas had seen miracles and ridicule, and he had seen Jesus endure persecution without sin. He had heard deep and moving messages from God by God in the flesh. He had lived with the Son of God for almost three years and had felt His powerful love and His words of redemption, but in the end, Judas betrayed Jesus. Leading a mob he had led them to where Jesus prayed and had forever symbolically betrayed the Christ and sealed it with a kiss.
Betrayal is a deep wound of the heart. Many a person has known the emotional savagery that accompanies betrayal. A husband or wife. A son or daughter. A friend, a brother, a father, a mother, a preacher, a relative, someone that was trusted and even loved. It is one thing to feel the sting of someone's sin and even someone who we know and love. But betrayal is when someone sins directly against a person or persons who have loved and trusted them and most times they've sinned specifically with the treasure, whether emotional or material, that was given to them as a token of love and trust. What makes Judas' betrayal so striking is that he did it to the Lord Jesus Himself, delivering his shocking betrayal in person upon the stage of Christ's final prayer closet, and capturing its evil in an outward act of love, a kiss.
Let's remember, though, that Judas was never a true believer. His following of Jesus was based on a power trip mixed with a monetary self aggrandizement. To put it succinctly, Judas followed Jesus for what Jesus could do for him but he had never met Jesus Spiritually and in essence his whole life had been a betrayal.

But today there is an unfolding revelation of a monstrous betrayal that eclipses what Judas has done.

Judas never received eternal life. He never was filled with the precious Spirit of God; he never felt the infinite grace of God; he never had God's Holy Word in its totality; he never allowed God's redemptive love to gently capture him; he never was powerfully changed into a new creation; Judas never saw the cross as the complete sacrifice for his sins; Judas never experienced any of these, the most precious treasures of our Heavenly Father,...but we have.
We, the Bride of Jesus our Bridegroom, beautiful in His sight as He waits in heaven's glory for the Father's blessed direction to come and bring us to His eternal dwelling place, we are committing a monstrous betrayal. How could we? How could we walk away from our Beloved and go whoring after this wretched world? How can we have no time for Him and claim we're followers. Followers of what? Sports? TV? Careers? Houses? And here it comes, bow down in reverence, money - the Queen of earth. Give her our time, robe her with our joy, honor her with our thoughts, adorn her with our appetite, divorce in her absence, exalt her with our buildings, worship her in daycares, bless her with our worry, and now watch her as she regally strolls down the church aisle, ascends to the platform, and reigns from the pulpit in all her splendor. She knows exactly what her subjects want to hear and she doesn't disappoint their anxious ears. "God wants to bless you, it is why He exists", she begins. "So ask this rich jesus into your heart, clean out your baskets, and get ready for material blessings that will satisfy all your lusts". She continues as the congregation is riveted, "God wants all of you to be Abraham, not Paul. Joseph of Arimathea, not Stephen. Solomon, not Jesus. God wants to collect a small entrance fee and then all of you can have me and I will make you happy".
The evangelical church that lives in America is actively and openly betraying her wonderful Savior. Cults by the hundreds. Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science - birthed right here. But the monstrous betrayal that is unfolding before our eyes is the taking of the cross of Christ, and like ravenous vultures, picking what we want from His suffering frame and leaving the rest. We don't want sacrifice, we don't even want moderation. We don't want hours of agonizing prayer meetings as if someone was bound for hell. Throw about a half an hour of worship on Sunday at the Savior and shout, "Take it or leave it!". We have not just secretly and discreetly committed adultery against our Lord, no, we have brought our harlot into our Lord's house, dressed her in religious clothes, carried her into the bedroom, and told ourselves "This is what God wants, He gave me this cultural whore to enjoy! Praise His name!". And pimps by the thousands stand behind pulpits, take your money, and give you the whore of your choosing. You want success? Take her, she's yours. You want health? She is dying to meet your needs. You want self esteem? Go ahead, ravage her. You want purpose? Undress her where you stand. You want a makeover? She's ready when you are. You want financial blessing? Look no further than the cross. You've mistaken it for a place of sacrifice, but look a little further and see it's a Christmas tree ornamented with as many $100 bills as you can pick off, try to avoid the blood stained ones, they're a little tacky.
A little strong? You wait until we all stand before the absolute Holy glory of the Risen Lamb of God Almighty and at that first moment my words will seem tepid, and I myself will feel as if I was watering it down. I already know I'm not completely surrendered. We will immediately realize we had been playing games with our Lord and King for our own comfort and pleasure.
Revival, please Lord, revival. For your glory alone.


luvvom said...

I am so glad that you wrote this. I take it personally and will read it again and again! Thank you! God bless you for standing strong in the faith! sarah

Renee said...

Thank You Rick for this. This definitely struck a nerve. On my way from service today I flipped on the radio in the car and stopped at a gospel station (or so they calim). An emotional pelting was going on but all I remember from the words was the man kept repeating Lord send me blssings, Lord in abundance...over and over again. People in the background yelled Amens and Hallelulias but it was clear the words were talking about the American jesus, the one that wants you helathy, wealthy and materially well off. it was very sad ( and your missive reminded of this).

Like sarah, I will keep this bookmarked and read it over again.

Mike Ratliff said...

Ouch Rick,

If we don't carefully examine ourselves and our motives DAILY, we can fall into this whoremongering very easily. Praise the Lord that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us and cleans out the temple and purifies our worldly, fleshly hearts.

Great Post,

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

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