Friday, July 15, 2011

The Traitor's Heart

I've been contemplating betrayal recently. One who betrays is a traitor. It came to me last night that one of the people in history most branded as a traitor is Judas Iscariot, the man who ratted out Jesus to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver. Judas even led the enemies right to Jesus, and to further seal the deal actually went up to Jesus and kissed him (Not as a sign of affection so much as a typical Middle Eastern greeting).

It might be easy to write Judas off as a scrawny, slippery, conniving kind of guy who slinked through the shadows. I'm not so sure about that. Perhaps Judas presented quite differently. After all, he was the person among Jesus' main men trusted with the finances. In other words, he held the purse strings. Remember that Jesus chose Judas to be in that very select group in which He invested His greatest teaching and His quality time. These men were literally the first wave of the future for those who follow Christ, the Messiah.

Obviously Judas didn't know and love Jesus like the other disciples did. Certainly Judas didn't get it - that Jesus was so much more than just another Rabbi!

I once saw a picture of Judas (an artist rendering) that depicted him wrapped in a cloak and advancing stealthily on Jesus and His other main men. I'm not sure that's what Judas looked like or how he operated. I don't think he wore a brand across his forehead that said "traitor - beware!" Almost certainly Judas was religious doing his good Jewish thing of praying, going to temple, giving alms and "tipping his hat" to God in all the right (?) places and right (?) ways.

Judas' real master wasn't the King who came from heaven. Judas' real master was the same betrayer who dressed up in a snakeskin to fool Eve and lead Adam and Eve into fatal choices - the Devil himself. The Bible says the Devil masquerades as an "angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14) I interpret that to mean the Devil cleans up good, does religion well in appearance and presents attractively, even winsomely. Both the Devil and Judas could do all those "good" things and yet never experience the life-changing grace of the Gospel! If I'm right then Judas was the "perfect" choice for traitor. He was the traitorous destroyer from within the inner circle of Jesus' closest friends.

Judas' type is still alive and well today. These are the men and women who wear the mask of religion and piety while working subversively to destroy the church (not the building but the people of God) from within! These are they who make the deepest wounds because they present as friend while they work to deceive and destroy!

These Judas types like Judas himself wear the mask of religion and piety firmly in place. The reality is that their treacherous hearts have never really known Jesus. Those who really know Jesus are those who have been changed from the inside out by the power of the Gospel. Those who really know and love Jesus have allowed God to rip off their phony masks of religion and piety for a relationship with the ONLY Savior, the King of heaven!

There is an eternal difference between knowing about the Savior and knowing the Savior Himself! The traitor walks and waits inside the inner circle of the forever family of God but has never known the Gospel or experienced relationship with the Savior! He or she masquerades as a true son or daughter of the King but has never known the King. Only the grace and light of the Gospel can ever penetrate the traitor's heart! Only the Gospel can bring the traitor to his or her knees in repentance. For him or her there is restoration that follows that repentance but the process is painful.

Recently there was a picture in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of a man with the first full face transplant. That man is a parable of what HAS to happen for the Gospel to reach the traitor's heart. The mask of betrayal has to be ripped off and replaced by the Great Physician along with the required heart transplant!

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