The spiritual condition of Judas is an age-old debate and not the one I mean to engage in today. I want to add a new wrinkle to the discussion; did Judas preach the Gospel? When the Apostles were sent out with the power to heal the sick and cast out demons (Matthew 10, Luke 9) did Judas do those things as well?
There is an old saying about Hindsight being 20/20. Thinking back on past events allows a clearer perspective than being in the midst of the present. It’s easy to imagine how we might have handled a particular situation, or to criticize others for what they they did wrong. It has to do with perspective. Being in the heat of the moment is not the same as looking at cold stats. Watching a game from the stands offers a different vantage point than being on the field. It also takes away pressure to perform, adrenaline rush and the intimidation factor of the opposing team. Your team always win when you coach from the recliner. The same is true when watching the game film. We’ve all heard people say “I wish I knew then what I know now.” Continue reading →
When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice. (Acts 5:33-39)
I don’t make a habit out of running repeats. Like leftovers in the refrigerator, some old posts keep better than others. This one is still good.
When Moses encounters the burning bush, he asks of God “Who am I, that I should speak to Pharaoh?” That’s a legitimate question. Who am I that I should preach the gospel? Who are any of us? We are those called by God into his service. He calls us, saves us, then equips us to do his work for the Kingdom. Moses was a herdsman, already wanted for murder. David was a shepherd when he was called, and only a child at that. Look at the disciples; blue collar workers at best, rejects and outcasts at their worst. But look at who God calls; every major character in the Bible was tragically flawed in some way. God takes the small, the broken and the unwanted and fixes them up. He then sends us into the world, a world that is fallen and broken. It may look great at times, but we live in a fallen world affected by the curse. God calls little children wrecked by sin into his service, to spread the gospel among all his other little sinwrecked children.
Click here for the original post Who Does God Call? (Sep. 14, 2008)
UPDATE: this entry is from 2009. A newer post, with much more information, is this one from 2010.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. The triumphal entry of Jesus was to be the last time he went up to Jerusalem. He and his desciples were coming into the city to celebrate Passover. Thousands of Jews from around Aisa Minor, Africa and Europe were doing the same. Throughout his ministry, some listeners (among them the Zealots) expected Jesus to claim his throne on earth. Their idea of Messiah was a military leader, and Jesus was on the scene at the right time if he was going to throw the Romans out of Israel. Many Jews could hear Messianic things in what Jesus said, and here he was riding into Jerusalem. The crowd shouted “Hosanna,” and spread palm branches and even their coats along the highway. Hosanna is sort of like our hallelujah, but literally means save now. Jesus seemed poised to ride ahead into his greatest victory.
As we move into Holy Week, try to imagine the horror of these first century observers as Jesus was arrested and tried. What many followers witnessed, including his own 12 apsoltles, was a dramatic turnaround from first to last place. Some of the same Jews who shouted “Hosanna” would be shouting “Crucify him” by the end of the week. This is that week.
Hindsight is 20/20 means that anything you look back on is easier to understand that it was at the time. We make decisions in the now, then sometimes realize later we acted too quickly, neglected certain facts, or else were simply uninformed. Hindsight being 20/20, we would have done things differently if we could just have seen the big picture. Continue reading →