Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh so close!

For those of you who have been following my quest to read through the Bible in a year, I am getting close. I have made it to the New Testament, I am currently reading the book of John. As I read Matthew, Mark and Luke I kept thinking about Judas. How could someone so close to Jesus not see who he was? He was one of the chosen twelve, he saw things most people never saw, he heard things many people never heard. He knew what Jesus liked to eat, he knew if Jesus was a morning person or a night owl. He knew things that we don't know like how long was Jesus' hair. Did Jesus really have a beard, Judas knew whether he did or not! There were times when Jesus spoke to the twelve about things that did not get recorded in the Bible. As John put it:

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. John 20:30

How could someone be that close to Jesus and still betray Him. How could he see Jesus raise people from the dead, cleanse the lepers, heal the lame and still not believe. I don't know but I believe it still happens today. I believe there are many people in the church who are really close to Jesus but do not truly know Him. There are people who know a lot about Jesus but they do not know Him in a personal way. We probably sit close to these people on Sunday mornings. We probably work with them during the week. We may even have them sitting at the dinner table with us at night.

I guess my question is this - How do you know if you are close to Jesus or if you have Him living in you? How do you know if you have a lot of facts about Jesus or if you really know Jesus intimately? There is a big difference! There are many people who are close to Jesus, who know a lot about Jesus but will spend eternity separated from Him.

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Matthew 7: 21-23

This is a sobering passage. These people honestly think they deserve to enter the kingdom of heaven, look at their justification, "did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" It appears that these people were pretty close to Jesus. These people did things that I have never done. I have never driven out a demon in the name of the Lord. I have never performed a miracle. So how do you know if you are close to Jesus or if you are truly a born again Christian?

The problem with the above passage is that these people tried to offer works as a means to justify their place in heaven. Nowhere did they mention the finished work of Christ at the cross. That and that alone is the answer God will accept if He even asks us the famous question "Why should I let you into my heaven?" The focus of our salvation is on Christ and not ourselves. Why should God let you into His heaven? Because Christ died in my place and your place on the cross. I have accepted what he did as payment for my sins. That is all I can offer as my answer. But what about Judas?

We have no written record of Judas confessing that Christ was God. Look at what some of the others who were close to Christ said.


When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." - Matthew 16: 13-16

How about doubting Thomas:

27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" - John 20: 27, 28

Look at Martha's response:

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." - John 11: 25-27
These people confessed that Jesus was God in the flesh, the Messiah. They said it in different ways but they said the same thing.

We do not have a verbal confession from all of the disciples but if you read the Gospels and the book of Acts you will see evidence of their conversion. They went on to do the will of the Father as it mentioned in Matthew 7: 21. There was no evidence of Judas' conversion, anywhere in Scripture. The only passage we have that gives any hope that Judas realized what he had done is Matthew 27: 3-5.

3When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." 5So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Many scholars do not believe this was a true conversion, we may never know.

Paul tells us in II Corinthians 13:5

5Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Have you examined yourself, is there evidence that Christ is in you. Notice that Paul does not say "Examine yourself to see how much you know about Christ." Examine yourselves, make sure the evidence is there to support your claim to be a true Believer. Don't wait until your life is over to realize you have failed the test.

No comments:

Post a Comment