WHAT I DISCOVERED READING MY BIBLE
This year we are taking a journey through the New Testament together as a church. Everyone has been encouraged to read five chapters of the Bible per week, journal what they discover in each chapter, and then share their reflections with one other person or with their small group. I’d like to share with you something that impacted me while I was doing this week’s reading.
The “wow” moment came from my reading of John 13. That chapter relates how Jesus identified Judas as His betrayer by handing him a piece of bread during His final supper with his disciples. John says darkly “As soon as Judas took the bread Satan entered into him.”
Even though I know this story well, its truth startled me all over again when I read it. I wondered, “How it is possible is that Judas could be at such a low place spiritually, that he could actually betray Christ?” Because we are familiar with the story, we can easily think that Judas’ badness was obvious to all—like he wore a name tag that said “the bad guy.” But this is not the case.
Consider: Judas had been chosen by Jesus to be among His select group of disciples! Judas had healed the sick! He had cast out demons! All the other believers saw him as a promising young leader. Jesus’ other apostles did not understand it when Jesus exposed Judas’ treachery. It went right over their heads because his betrayal of Jesus was simply outside the realm of possibility for them.
Judas had a perfect façade of spirituality, but inside his heart had become deeply corrupted. Certainly, it didn’t happen all at once. It must have come one choice at a time—one mental compromise here, one temptation indulged there—till greed and bitterness that settled into his heart, and he was capable of things that would shocked and dismay him.
This sobers me. How tempting it is to pursue outward spiritual activities while neglecting the inner fire. It is the “occupational hazard” of every Christian. And pastors! Too many pastors who once had powerful ministries have brought disgrace to God and the church because they failed to nurture an authentic relationship with God.
So, that is how God spoke to me this week. How is He speaking to you? I would love to know.
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