IS IT I, LORD
(Trussville, AL USA)
"I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord. (Zachariah 11:12-13)
In the Twenty-Sixth chapter of Matthew's Gospel, our Lord was celebrating the event known as the Last Supper, or The Passover meal in the Jewish culture. This Last Supper was the final meal in the Gospel accounts that Jesus shared with His Apostles in Jerusalem before His crucifixion.
It was at this time, while Christ and His disciples were observing this all-important Jewish holiday, that our Lord revealed the unpleasant truth that He would shortly be betrayed by one of them. (Matthew 26:20- 21) (Matthew 26:23-24)
This famous statement, in turn, sparked the urgent question of "Is it I, Lord?" What's so amazing here is that even though they all had spent the better part of three years with Christ, they each seemed to search their own heart. (Matthew 26:22)
While these dedicated followers of Christ were being polled in their own spirit, it came down to the real betrayer, Judas. In asking this same question, Judas alone failed to reverence Christ by personally asking "Is it I, Rabbi?" (Matthew 26:25)
When Christ answered in the affirmative, revealing the betrayer, the conversation concluded. (Matthew 26:25) I can only imagine how all the other disciples must have felt, at this point in their last supper with Christ. Given the circumstances of this occasion, I can't help but also feel that Judas was surely insincere, in his question as the betrayal deal had already been made. (Matthew 26:14-16) Afterward, Christ then gave His disturbing prediction that they would all fall away. (Matthew 26:31)
From a heavenly perspective, our Lord knew this conversation would end as it did. But from a human outlook, I can only visualize in my own mind's eye, how Christ must have felt, from a human standpoint, being betrayed by one of His most trusted followers. (Psalm 41:9)
Now for the all-important question; a question that has been grappled with down through the ages. We know that Judas confessed shortly before committing suicide, but was this confession genuine? (Matthew 27: 3-4)
And what about the Apostle John writing under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit? What did Christ mean when He stated that Judas perished “that the Scripture might be fulfilled”? (John 17:12)
So is Judas Iscariot in heaven? Is he forgiven? Only time will tell, as this is one of those (GOK) God only knows questions.
Now, fast-forward to the Twenty-First Century. In a converse parallel, how many times have we, as born-again believers, asked this same question when personally talking with our heavenly Father, "Is it I?" Not in the sense of betraying our Lord's earthly life, but possibly in betraying our own testimony, betraying the will of the Father for our lives.
What about us, living in this fast-paced society? When we betray the love of our heavenly Father by succumbing to sin's evil ways, does our heavenly Father not grieve? (Ephesians 4:30)
And much like His disciple Judas, who referred to Christ as "Rabbi," do we oftentimes also become insensitive to our Lords holiness? Yes, we may fail to place a personal touch in our conversations with our heavenly Father. You see, He wants to intimately talk with us, His children. (Psalm 27:8)
Thanks be unto God, when this does occur we have His promise of forgiveness. (I John 1:8-9)
Now don't get wrapped up in religious indignation. Don't pat yourself on the back just yet, for we may need to take that second look at our spirituality. Are we mimicking Judas? Are we holding on to that "holier than thou" mindset?
Do we shout and raise our holy hands on Sunday morning, then go out of our way not to speak to a fellow church member at the shopping mall? Do we fail to speak a word of witness to our neighbor, across the backyard fence, or fail to drop a few cents in that unfortunate street beggar's bucket? Wow, that certainly hits home, wouldn't you say? Yes, there could be a lot of Judas in all of us. God forbid!
This little synopsis of history in poetry summons it up.
THE JUDAS KISS
What's in a name, A betrayers fame
Silver was allowed, Thirty pieces vowed
Was foretold of old, A sign given bold
The gesture shown, At the super known
The garden revealed, As the night did yield
Anger was displayed, By the sword blade
The soldier felt harm, No need for alarm
Compassion won, By hand of the Son
Divine eternal plan, From sin to stand
To the cross to go, To the world to show
God's Grace is free, Was paid on the tree
By faith to accept, The gospel concept
Repenting from greed, Is what we need
To the traitor's name, Wherefore the blame
The Judas Kiss
So again, was Judas a saved man? Did he actually repent? Did God accept his confession?
Judas was one of the twelve original Apostles, and was the keeper of the purse. Either by becoming greedy or by divine direction, he is known by the infamous "kiss" in which Jesus was betrayed in the garden, just prior to His death.
I cannot imagine how one who lived so close to our Lord for three years could ever betray Him for a mere 30 pieces of silver. Yet I must understand that this act was apparently divinely designed from the beginning of time. From the fall of man in (Genesis 3:1-7), man needed a Savior to reunite mankind to God's Salvation plan. (Romans 5:12)
So Judas, being the treasurer of the group, was the ideal candidate to sell out our Lord, not realizing it was all a part of a divine plan. This led to the betrayal in the garden. This famous kiss was the start of God's full gospel plan which included the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. (I Cor 15:1-4)
Again, I'll leave that answer up to history, as to where Judas is now. You see, history is history, and as far as we are concerned, we need only worry about our own salvation. As followers of Christ, (Philippians 1:21) someday we will probably be able find out the answer to that, and many more age-old questions as we meet the saints of old in Glory Land. Amen!