A Tragic Beginning, A Tragic End: Part 2 of 2
by John Lowe
Court is about to convene, the disciples are in the Upper Room and Judas Iscariot is sitting there. Jesus takes a towel and a basin of water and begins to wash the disciple’s feet. Can you imagine how Judas Iscariot felt when the Son of God began to wash his feet?"Now is the time, I ought to admit it. Now is the time, I need to settle this thing right now, time is running out. Calvary is just around the corner, and I know Jesus is about to die." Judas perhaps thought, "I ought to get up right now and swallow my pride, and admit that my heart is desperately wicked. But people will laugh at me; people will think I am a hypocrite because I have been quiet. I can’t do that. I have even cast out devils."
You see, the Bible says that one day there will be men who will stand before God and he will say, "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you." And they will say, "We cast out devils in your name" and he is going to say, "I never knew you." But Judas, who cast out devils, who was 1 of the 12 most respected men in Christianity at the time, a man that was trusted, could not do it. Judas I beg you, please Judas, break from your pride. Judas break from this spirit that won’t let you admit your sin. Break from your embarrassment, break from the shame. Break Judas, run to Jesus, run to Jesus. Time is running out Judas, run to Jesus.
Now the scene shifts, a few hours have passed. Jesus is giving Judas the sop, Judas has been pointed out as the betrayer. Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane where he agonizes in prayer. The Bible said great drops of blood came from Him. Everyone had forsaken Him, and He found his own disciples, minus Judas, asleep and He said, "Will you not tarry with me for 1 hour." This is the same question that Jesus has asked each of us, will you not tarry for 1 hour? Won’t you be willing to give a little time to spend with Jesus to tell Him you love Him?
All at once, out of the shadows of the garden, came the centurion with his spear, and a group of men with clubs and torches, shouting insults at the Son of God. There was a signal that Judas would give; he ran and kissed Jesus and identified that He was the one. It was the kiss of death; Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And today there are some who are selling him for far less. Selling out because they are ashamed to admit that they are not born again.
Don’t make the same foolish mistake Judas made. As Jesus was kissed on the cheek by Judas, no doubt Judas thought, "This is the Son of God, I should have trusted Him. I should have trusted him at the Jordan River. I should have trusted him on the mountainside. I should have trusted Him in the wilderness. I should have trusted him as my Savior when I became treasurer. I should have trusted Him as my Savior when Matthew gave his testimony and Zacchaeus got saved, and the woman at the well got converted and blind Bartimaeus was healed. I should have trusted Jesus Christ when I saw Him bless the little children and calm the mighty seas. I should have trusted Him, I should do it now. But I can’t, I am respected. What will men say?" The Bible says that the fear of men brings a snare. How many people have gone into eternity without God simply because they looked beside them, and they saw their friend kind of grin when the pastor gave the altar call? How many sweethearts sat there and rejected the invitation to be saved, because of the fear of what their sweetheart or that companion or that father or that mother might say?
Judas missed the chance of truly kissing the Savior with the kiss of faith, instead, kissing him with the kiss of betrayal. Oh yes, he went to the priest. And by the way, many people even today go to the priest, but there is no priest who can save you. You can confess your sins to every priest in the country, you can confess your sins to men, but listen, the priests have to go for forgiveness just like you and I. The priest cannot forgive sins for he too is a sinner that has to be saved by grace. The only one that can forgive sin is the one who overcame sin, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
What Judas wanted was religion. What Judas wanted was respect. He never wanted to admit, that he, a respectable man, was not really right with God. He took the money back to the temple, he cast it before the priest, and the Bible says he went out and hanged himself. He had a sad beginning and a sad ending. It usually works that way, for sin for a season seems joyful. At first it seems like a bright tomorrow, but in the end, it is like a sun that has gone down.
For 2,000 years Judas has been in hell, burning, in an eternal hell, where the fire quenches not, where there are worms that torment, where the cry is for water, water, where they cry, lost, lost, but God gave me justice. What a sad story. What a sad story that unfolds in churches around the world today, for Sunday schools to be taught by people not born again, for deacons to be voted in who are not saved. For pastors to serve themselves rather than the living Christ.
Let me ask you a question.
Do you know for sure your name is written in the Lambs Book of Life? Let me tell you how you can know for sure.
1. You have to know you are a sinner.
2. You have to know there is a price to pay for sin, the wages of sin is death, and the way of the transgressor is hard.
3. You have to know you are going to hell.
4. You have to rely on Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross when he paid the price for your sins and that if you confess your sins to Christ, He will forgive you and you will be born again, a new creation of His.
A pastor was preaching one night back in a coal mining town. He came to the invitation and there sat a man in the back of the building, a handsome young man. He walked back to him and said, “Young man, will you give your heart to Christ." He said, "No, I know I should, but I have got a lot of time." The preacher replied, "But tomorrow may never come, you have no assurance, you could die before tomorrow." He said to Preacher, "You know that makes sense." He came to the altar and was gloriously saved. The next day there was a terrible cave-in at the mines where he worked. He was pinned, and feverishly they worked to get his body out. The pastor was called, and they dug, and they dug. Finally, they found him; he was breathing his last breaths of life. Someone put their ear right next to his lips for he could barely whisper, but he kept whispering something over and over again. As they placed their ear right next to his lips, he said, "It is a good thing I settled it last night. It is a good thing I settled it last night."
Two twin girls were in church one night with their boyfriends, and the Spirit of God was moving greatly. One turned to the other and said, "Let’s get right with God." They were singing the song, Almost Persuaded. The sister curled her lip and said, "The boys that are with us tonight will laugh at us. Awe, let’s do it some other time." The girl wiped the tears from her eyes, and straightened up, just because of a curled lip and a remark. The service ended, and the girls went out. A year later the girl was in an automobile accident and wasn’t given long to live. The doctor told the family it was just a matter of hours. The parents went into the hospital room and asked their daughter, "Are you right with God?" She said, "I won’t answer that." The pastor came, and asked her, and she would not answer. Her sister came in and asked her to get right with God but she would not answer. She loved the old pastor and told him when he asked her to give some kind of finality for the family if she was right with God or not, that if he promised that they would not look until she died, that she had written down her answer on the back page of the Bible. A few hours later she died and they went home and looked in the Bible, the family gathered around as the pastor read the decision out loud, "Almost, but lost."
Perhaps you are not sure of the day you asked Jesus into your heart, you might have been raised in the church and just thought you were born Christian, well today, is a day to get it right, repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, and you can write it down in your Bible; saved and then today’s date. Perhaps you have never been born again; you have never asked Jesus into your heart. Don’t put it off; you have no assurance of tomorrow. Or perhaps you once knew God, but you have gotten cold, you are like Judas. Today is the day of salvation, now is the time to make it to the altar.