Would You Do It?

Yesterday was Good Friday, a day to remember Jesus’ death on the cross. I personally needed this reminder. As I lay in bed this morning, I thought about the significance of His death…

Imagine you were a criminal, a murderer; and you were tried, pronounced guilty, and sentenced to death. Now, imagine that a man you never met was in the courtroom when you were convicted. While you were in prison awaiting your execution, this man told the judge He would take your place and die for your crimes. And the judge allowed it! Although you didn’t personally know this man, He died for you. Then, someone came to your prison cell and told you what this man did for you. The only thing you needed to do before leaving the prison was to agree to accept this man’s death in exchange for your own. Then you would be free and, from that point on, viewed as innocent in the eyes of the judge.

Would you do it?

In essence, this is what Jesus did for you, and all humanity, on the cross. You and I are the criminal, Jesus is the man who died in our place, and God the Father is the just judge who allowed this substitution. Jesus didn’t die in an electric chair or by lethal injection. He was beaten and whipped, his beard was pulled out, he was spat upon, and cussed at. In this injured, weakened state, He was commanded to carry the cross He would die on. He didn’t have to agree to take our place and He could have changed His mind at any point along the way, but He didn’t. He died for our crimes against God, and God allowed it! The news gets better. Unlike the first man I mentioned, Jesus didn’t stay dead. Jesus was in a borrowed grave for three days and on the third day, God raised Him from the dead!

This Bible (2013) tells us how to accept this exchange,

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Holy Bible, New Living Translation. (2013). Tyndale House Publishers.
https://www.tyndale.com/ nlt/

I would like to say more about this, but I will never be able to effectively express in one blog post,what Jesus did for us. If you want to know more, I encourage you to read the Book of John. You can find it in the Bible in the New Testament.

Many Blessings for a beautiful Resurrection Day!


Never Beyond The Father’s Reach

This is Holy Week. Last night I was part of the Good Friday Service at our church. It was a beautiful, sacred time remembering our Lord’s sacrifice for us on the cross.

We watched scenes from the movie, Son of God. (2014 Film Directed by Christopher Spencer.) I always talk to God when I’m watching portrayals of the crucifixion… “I have no idea what you went through, Lord. I can’t wrap my mind around it. I will never fully understand it, Lord, but thank you.”

I’m not a big crier and even though the scenes were gruesome I kept it together until Simon of Cyrene was called out of the crowd. There was no holding back the tears, “Oh, Lord, to be the one who helped you carry the cross; to be the one who walked the path of suffering with you- what a privilege.”

Another part of the story that really struck me was the part where Judas ran up to the leading priests and threw the bag of silver, (30 pieces to be exact) back at them. I suppose all these years I have only considered that as one of the facts of the story and never really focused on its significance. Last night, however, the first thought that came to my mind was, “That was a repentant act.”

My reasoning was that he came out of agreement with what the high priests did, therefore he was repentant. Upon greater reflection and study, I found that, “to come out of agreement with something” is actually to renounce it. There’s no doubt that Judas did that.

Matthew 27:3-5 NLT When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”

Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the temple and went out and hanged himself.

Repentance: to feel pain, sorrow or regret for something done or spoken;

(American Dictionary of the English Language)

Let’s look at that verse again:

Matthew 27:3-5 NLT When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

By throwing the 30 pieces of silver, (one day’s wages) back to the leading priests and elders, Judas publicly renounced his actions; but he also was filled with remorse which means he was repentant.

So if Judas was repentant, why did he hang himself? If he would have only waited three days he would have seen Jesus, the one he betrayed, alive and risen from the dead. Wasn’t he listening when Jesus talked about his resurrection? (Mark 9:31)

The Holy Spirit nudged me to look up several verses that have the word repent in them. Here are a few:

Mark 1:15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe in the Good News!

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 3:19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Could it be that Judas was repentant but he didn’t take any of the next steps after repentance?

After his repentance, did he believe? Did he turn to God? There is no account in scripture of his baptism.

If he was repentant then his sorrow was godly and it would have led him to salvation but he couldn’t live with what he had done so he took his own life instead.

You see, if we don’t repent and turn to God, then we will repent and turn within- looking inside to try and make amends for what we’ve done. Instead of allowing Jesus to cleanse us, we allow the enemy to condemn us and accuse us of our past. When we repent we change our mind; but we need to allow God to change us!

The truth is, Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of men who wanted to take His life and when Jesus died they believed they had done just that. However, no one took Jesus’ life, He lovingly gave it as the final sacrifice for our sin.

To this day, Judas remains part of the redemption story. Jesus is the hero, but Judas is not the villain. The villain is satan- the enemy of our souls.

Judas the betrayer was a sinner, just like I was before I received Jesus. Judas and I were the ones Jesus died for and he died for you too. Judas was never beyond the reach of the loving, heavenly Father, who isn’t only loving but is love.

Not only was he never beyond the Father’s loving reach, but he may have been closer that day than he had ever been before.