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April 19, 2011

We Were Like Judas Once - Matthew 27:1-10

Just prior to Jesus’ last meal with His disciples, Judas had agreed to lead the chief priests to Jesus so they could arrest Him, for an amount of 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16).
The chief priests had corroborated a plan to finally catch Jesus, arrest Him and have him somehow done away with, so that He would no longer be a problem to them, or to the people in the city. 
Their mission in short time was a success and they did place Jesus under arrest. 
Judas however, returned to the priests realizing that he had made a huge mistake.  Jesus was innocent and his attempt to rid himself of the guilt and shame of his betrayal, he tried to return the money that had been given to him, by the chief priests. 
The chief priests would not accept money that they gave, for Jesus’ arrest because they said that it was unlawful to return it to the treasury because it had the price of blood on it.  This certainly was hypocritical of them to break the laws of justice and mercy and yet, firmly obey the ceremonial direction of the Law of Moses!
But we were like Judas at one time in our lives.
There are countless testimonies of people that once lived lives that were poisoned by prostitution, adultery, or drugs.  A price we once paid for the satisfaction of the flesh, instead of yielding to the cry of God to run to His arms and be rescued from the filth and darkness of sin.
We were like Judas in other ways too, where we have simply denied Him, as Peter did (Matthew 26:69-75).  How many people today, follow Jesus at a distance in their heart, yet they are known by friends and family as a church-going Christian?
No matter what it was, or what it may be now, we have all sold Jesus away at price that was far too great, whatever it was.
The guilt of Judas’ betrayal against his Lord is evident in his remorsefulness for what he had done.  Are you remorseful, as Judas was, concerning your sin against God?
Judas threw the money back at the chief priests, out of guilt and shame.  We may not be able to throw back what was used, to lure us away from Christ, but instead, have you cast yourself at the foot of the cross of Christ, humbly before the One who has atoned for your sin?
Judas is often remembered as a key figure in the story of the last days of Jesus’ life.  It is interesting to see that we were once, not too different from Judas, in the way we have treated Jesus. 
The weight of the guilt and shame of our sin is no longer upon us, but upon God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ.  And because of Him, it is my hope and prayer that you are striving to become more like Christ each day.
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During this season before Easter, First Assembly of God will be publishing devotional messages, in conjunction with the book 40 Days with Jesus, compiled by Randy Hurst.  Members of our team are contributing short devotionals based in the campaign daily readings. 

What IS 40 days with Jesus? Simply, a church-wide campaign to prepare our hearts and reach out to our friends at Easter 2011. From March 14th through Easter Sunday everyone at First Assembly is being challenged to read together through a series of daily Bible readings about the life of Jesus and the prophecies about Him from the Old Testament.  Then a couple of weeks before Easter we're asking everyone to give away a second book, "The Risen Savior", to a friend or family member with a personal invitation for them to come to church on Easter Sunday morning.

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