Wednesday 23 April 2014

"EVEN THE AUTHORITIES BELIEVED" Thoughts from Bible Readings for April 19th


            What is it to believe in Jesus?  Are there different kinds of belief?  There are verses in today’s 12th chapter of John that challenge and open up our understanding of this.  It is a question it is vital we ask ourselves.  We read, “many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they lovedthe glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” [v.42,43]
            So in what sense did many of the authorities believe?  Could yours or mine be similar? The first 8 verses in our chapter indicate the belief that Judas Iscariot had – and think of all the many and different miracles Judas must have witnessed!  Judas was one of the 12 and when Jesus sent them out he would have performed healings, &c see Matt. 10 v.5-8.
            We read today that at Bethany, 6 days before the Passover  (v.1) when Jesus was there, “Mary … took a pound of expensive ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” [v.3]  Judas Iscariot reacted by asking, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii (300 days pay for a .labourer) and given to the poor, he said this … because … having charge of the money bag  he used to help himself to what was put into it”   [v.5,6]
            What kind of “heart” did Judas have as a result of all he had experienced?  No doubt there are similar hearts today who diligently read and know God’s word – but who try to serve both God and money, but Jesus bluntly warns of the impossibility of doing this, see Luke 16 v.13.   To “serve” God and His Son in this way – is not service at all.
            Our ultimate thought on Judas is that, as he witnessed Jesus escape on several previous occasions, for e.g. Luke 4 v.29,30 when the Nazarene’s in the “synagogue were filled with wrath … and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill … so they could throw him down the cliff.  But passing through their midst he went away”   so, when Judas was offered 30 pieces of silver he accepted agreeing to betray him in the darkness and quietness of the night, but he fully expected Jesus would escape again.  Such illustrates ways in which the minds of those work who believe, “even as the authorities believed” but, for whom there is no depth to their belief, it has no genuine foundation!  Make sure yours has!  
            Finally, note and deeply meditate on v.48 in today’s chapter,  “the word that I have spoken” said Jesus, “will judge him (us) on the last day”  We must more and more take the fullness of his word into our hearts and let it guide our thoughts and actions.

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