Friday 24 January 2014

TFTD - 24 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

24 January 2014

Genesis 39; 40
Psalms 44
Matthew 26


Entwined within the momentous story of the arrest and trial of our Lord is the tragic story of Judas Iscariot. "What will you give me if I hand him over to you?" [Matthew 26:15] What made him do this? He had witnessed the remarkable miracles of his Master. When a large number of those following Jesus had turned away from him grumbling about his hard sayings, "Jesus said to the twelve, 'Will you also go away as well?' [John 6:67] They, with Peter as their spokesman, said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed and come to know that you are the holy one of God" [John 6:68-69] Jesus then commented that one of them was a devil! Did Judas realize what he meant? We doubt it! On another occasion we are told that "he was a thief and having charge of the moneybag used to help himself to what was put into it" [John 12:6]

We wonder why Jesus did nothing to stop this, he must have known. Yet, we read in Matthew 27, that when he "saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver … saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood'" [Matthew 27:4] Why did it take him so long to realize it was a sin?

The explanation that occurs to us is that, having witnessed several occasions when Jesus eluded attempts to arrest him, he was sure he would do so again! He therefore saw a clever opportunity to get a large among of money out of the religious leaders and received a huge shock when Jesus was arrested.

The lesson for us is to see how blind apparently committed followers of Christ can be as to what is wrong behaviour. They can listen, and feel that they believe in the words of eternal life and follow Jesus - blind to the fact that following Jesus means they must become more and more like him. Jesus does not act to prevent our bad behaviour; followers of Jesus are allowed to experience tests to see whether they are really converted or not - because conversion also means changing our ways.
- DC

Thought for the Day

24 January 2014

"Do we ever give sufficient thought to the fact, taught so early in Scripture, "Cursed is the ground for your sake: Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you"? (Genesis 3:17-18) Not only did man have to bear the results of his rebellion, but Nature had to suffer as well. "Cursed is the ground for your sake." Yet how much beauty remains. All this could have been taken away from us, and justly too, but it wasn’t. As God "sends His rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45), so He has not left Himself without witness in Nature. The beauty is there in abundance, as a testimony to God’s goodness and as a little foretaste of the time when the curse will be removed."

- Howard Walker
Evening Meditations (1973)

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