Treefarmer's Log

I Judas Iscariot part 3

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I was a man who had a spiritual cancer growing inside. Let me illustrate. Back before the apocalypse, we had creatures called butterflies. They were glorious winged creatures that came from caterpillars. Not all caterpillars became butterflies. Scientists said that a certain type of fly would lay an egg under the skin of a caterpillar. When the egg would hatch, the larvae would feed on the developing butterfly. The caterpillar felt no pain and went right on living the life of a caterpillar with the worm eating him out inside.

The wings never appeared. The grub destroyed his capacity to advance, and the beautiful winged creature that might have been was gone.
The trouble with me was that there was a grub inside of me keeping me from being the man I might have been. What was it that kept me from being what I might have been?

I’ll tell you. It was worldly ambition. I had been associated with patriotism, power and freedom. I was an ardent enthusiast for Jewish independence. When I first observed Jesus I saw a man who was fearless. He had qualities of a good leader. Really, considering everything, He was the answer to my dreams and I was ready to follow Him to victory. I was ready to fight by His side. I wanted to get to the top of His new government. Imagine Jesus, soon to be the King of Israel! I was overjoyed. I would be His most trusted and closest counselor. I would oversee the treasury and would make sure that no one undermined Him.

One day Jesus announced secretly to us disciples that He was in fact the Messiah. Read it in Matthew 16:15-17, 20.

Jesus asked us disciples a question. “But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven…’ Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”

Well, it was obvious all along that He was the Messiah. I knew that, but Jesus was not making a lot of public statements about this fact. He was doing things that only the Messiah could do. But every time I would suggest that maybe it was time to start setting up the national temporal kingdom He would change the subject. That upset me. I wanted to move forward and it seemed that Jesus missed every opportunity.

When I joined Christ, I did not know that I would have to give up my cherished hopes for a worldly kingdom. To Jesus, being the Messiah meant one thing, but to us disciples, it meant another. To Jesus, being the Messiah meant the cross. To us, it meant a sword and an earthly crown. Eventually the others came around to His viewpoint, but not I. If His kingdom did not include glory, power, riches and honor, His cause was not for me! But I kept hoping that what I was really seeing was His humility. I could not believe Him when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. I brushed it off because of my preconceived ideas. I kept hoping, almost to the end that everything would work out according to our long-held interpretations of prophecy. I could not imagine or fathom any other alternative. Hadn’t God promised that the Messiah would restore the kingdom to power and glory? Little did I realize that instead of the present, Jesus was talking about a future, heavenly kingdom, the new earth and the New Jerusalem that you see right over there.

But everything always seemed to go wrong. Take John the Baptist, for instance. I had it all worked out. When Jesus would proclaim Himself king, He would deliver John from Prison. After all, John had been so loyal and had been the one to baptize Him.

But alas, John was beheaded. What a tragedy! Jesus missed a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate His power. He let John languish in prison. Even John was discouraged and sent His disciples to ask if Jesus was the promised Messiah, or should they look for another.

I wanted aggressive warfare. And as I watched the increasing enmity of the Jewish leaders and saw their demand for a sign unheeded, I wondered why Jesus was so discouraging of pursuing any temporal advantages. Why did He predict trials and persecution? Why did He insist on humility when He could be king? The truth is I personally never did make an irrevocable decision that Jesus was the Son of God. I just kept on watching.

Several events led me to question whether Jesus would ever assert His Messiahship. Do you remember the time when we fed 5,000 men plus women and children? What a king He would have made! The whole multitude knew that He was the Messiah. The conviction had been growing all day. Look, He could supply every need. Food would be no problem. He could “make Judea an earthly paradise, a land flowing with milk and honey. He [could] satisfy every desire. He [could] break the power of the hated Romans. He [could] deliver Judah and Jerusalem. He [could] heal the soldiers who were wounded in battle. He [could] supply whole armies with food. He [could] conquer the nations, and give to Israel the long-sought dominion.”

The people were enthusiastic and wanted to crown Him king. I was the one who led out in this. I had been advancing the idea that Christ would reign as king in Jerusalem. I even helped the other disciples pass out the food. I helped them bring the sick to Jesus and I witnessed their happy relief and joy. I felt the satisfaction that always comes in the service of Christ. I might have comprehended Christ’s mission, but I willfully clung to my own. I cherished selfish desires. So I set on foot the movement to take Him by force and make Him king. My hopes were high and my disappointment was bitter when Christ sent us away and disbursed the crowd in the very act of taking Him.

But the turning point was Christ’s discourse in the synagogue about the bread of life. You can read about it in John 6:53. When I heard the words, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” I saw for the first time that Christ was offering spiritual goods instead of temporal treasures. I regarded myself as farsighted, and I could see that Jesus would have no honor, and that He could bestow no high position upon His followers. I determined not to unite myself so closely to Christ but that I could draw away. I would watch, secretly hoping that this would be the true Son of David, a leader like David for Israel.

I began to express doubts to the other disciples that confused them. I introduced controversies and misleading sentiments, repeating the arguments of the scribes and Pharisees against the claims of Christ. I exaggerated the difficulties and hindrances we endured and made them appear as evidences against the truthfulness of the Gospel. I tried to make all my statements appear that I was conscientious and was working in the best interests of Jesus and His mission. I was continually leading them imperceptibly to distrust Jesus. And in distrusting Jesus, they also distrusted each other.

I was able to get them into disagreements over which one of them would be the greatest in the new kingdom. It was I who encouraged them to be ambitious for preferential treatment.

When Jesus told the rich young ruler the conditions of discipleship, I was greatly displeased. Here was a great mistake. Jesus should have recognized how helpful this young man could be to the cause. I thought I was wiser than Christ and that all this self-denial was not the way to go. I saw something to disagree in everything Jesus taught.

My hopes brightened enormously at the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem. I can still hear the children shouting “hosanna.” I can still see the palm branches waving in their hands. I saw something important when Jesus took the initiative to cleanse the temple single-handedly. The moneychangers fled in terror. Now things were beginning to move. It was as if Jesus was now exerting Himself as the authority that He was. Here was the Messiah I wanted; one who would rule by the rod of iron. But then Jesus didn’t follow up with it. He let the opportunity slip away.
Then came the feast at the home of Simon the Leper. It was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” We were all sitting there following the meal when that woman came in.

You can read about it in Mark 14:3. “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard, very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.”

You remember that anointing was very significant to the Kings in Old Testament times. If this grand and lavish gesture was a step toward the kingdom you wouldn’t know it. Little did I realize that she was anointing Jesus as king of her heart.
I was shamed by what she did. It was so lavish, so extravagant. I would never have done such a thing. I was even convicted of my own selfishness. She respected Christ and loved Him much more than I did. I was very displeased. My greed sprang up. I needed a few more shekels for my own personal use.

But I had to disguise my feelings, so I quietly said to the other disciples near me, “Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor.” I also wanted the others to think that Jesus had done the wrong thing by letting her do this to Him.
But then Jesus made a remark that quickly dashed my hopes and all my fantasies of the future. “Let her alone; why trouble ye her?” He said. “She has wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could. She has come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.”

To be continued...

Updated 12-14-11 at 01:32 AM by Treefarmer

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