Friday, April 5, 2013

Night Walking

“So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night” (John 13:30).

As one reads John’s account of the gospel, the obvious is made clearer for us than if we were present at the time. Throughout the writing of John we can easily see Judas in the proper attire of his hypocrisy. But those who are with him do not have a clear line of sight into his intentions, except for Jesus. It is also true today as we can sometimes sit among hypocrites and never see their intentions until they reveal them in their actions. But Jesus knows our hearts and intentions.

Judas has just been identified as the betrayer after receiving a morsel of food dipped in the bowl of our Lord’s sauce. Once he has done this he has fulfilled the prophecy of Scripture (Psalm 41:9) as the one who will betray our Lord. It is at this time Jesus turns him over to Satan and tells him to carry out his act of betrayal without delay (John 13:27). As Judas realizes his cover has been blown, he exits the warmth of Jesus’ Light for the coldness of the world’s darkness. Many times we find ourselves at a critical time in our lives where we must decide whether we will continue in our discipleship and walk in the light or become like Judas and choose to leave Jesus for a walk in darkness. Let us learn from past experiences and make good decisions in the future.

Satan is described by God’s Spirit as the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) not because God wanted that but because man surrendered that power over to him in the Garden of Eden when he gave into Satan’s temptation. Satan still wanders this earth looking for souls to devour (James 5:8) and when we give into his evil deception of temptation we also choose to walk into his darkness. Please, do yourself a favor and remember that walking into darkness is always turning away from Christ: “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). God’s truth is the Light of Christ that is given to illuminate the path way to His eternal presence (Psalm 119:105). If we are going to remain on the right path we must keep our focus on the light of truth and not be lured away.

Through his grace and mercy God has called us to draw near to Him. The key here is that He has called us, not forced us, to make this choice. Whenever we set out to accomplish our own desires instead of the will of God, we have made the choice to leave the Light to walk in darkness: “But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's’” (Mark 8:33). Harsh words, it would seem, especially for a disciple who was just trying to defend His Lord. But sometimes harshness is the only way to get people to see the deceitfulness of Satan’s schemes. Peter needed a lesson that would sink deep into his heart so that change would be inevitable in his way of thinking.

One thing that we need to make sure we are extracting from both of these instances is the idea of free will. Both Judas and Peter were given the opportunity to repent. Jesus loved both of these men and gave each a chance to change their minds. Obviously, Peter made the right choice whereas Judas gave way to Satan’s deceit. Peter didn’t pay the price for sin but reaped the reward of repentance. He loved Jesus and listened to His word and allowed the truth to convict his heart. Judas on the other hand, did not listen and his heart was hardened by Jesus’ words. When Satan’s deceit is embraced it fogs our minds and causes us to make decisions that will cost us our relationship with Christ. But the good news is that Jesus will always give us a chance to repent and change the path in which we are walking. We must choose daily to walk with Him.

In His Grace,

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