Acts 1:16 – 20 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. “For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE,
AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’; and,
‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
This is one of the most disturbing stories in the Bible. Every time I read it, I want to stand between Jesus and his betrayer. Then I feel somewhat satisfied that Judas got his comeuppance. His name has been equated with traitors ever since. What’s scary is I’ve been just like him.
In the first couple of years after I became a Christian, I was uncomfortable when my new friends would say “Praise God!” or “Praise the Lord!” They made me a bit squeamish; as I equated those phrases with people who were a little too zealous for Jesus. I observed the Jesus movement of the 1970s when I was in high school, and I certainly wasn’t going to be a “Jesus Freak!”
But in reality, I was a sellout. Outside of church services, I wasn’t willing to stand with my brothers and sisters and openly praise my King. I was content to be saved and leave it at that. The boldest thing I did in public was pray before a meal. Like Judas, I wanted it both ways: I enjoyed a relationship with Jesus when things were going well; but I sold out when things got rough.
Also like Judas, I was counted among the saved, and shared in ministry. If I had remained a lukewarm Christian, I might have continued along Judas’ path, as a guide on the broad way that leads to destruction. As I studied the scriptures, however, and started to grow in faith, I realized how praiseworthy my salvation was. When I really understood the holiness of God, I cried out with Isaiah: “Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a woman of unclean lips!” I asked God for forgiveness, and I vowed that I would never be ashamed to praise Him again. I would never betray Him again with a refusal to associate with Him in public.
Because of God’s great mercy, I received another chance to live a full, eyes-wide-open, and adventure-filled life with my savior, JESUS CHRIST! Now I’ve been accused of being too zealous when talking about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Praise the Lord!
Dear God, thank you for second chances. Thank you for hearing my cry and for always leading me in triumphal processions in Christ. I love you and right now, I lift my praise as an offering to you. I give you all the glory and thank you in the precious name of Jesus Christ.