"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" - Mathew 16:26 (NIV).
Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 disciples whom Jesus started out his ministry (Mark 3:19) but later betrayed him. He traveled around with Jesus along with other disciples, tasked as Treasurer ( John 12:6). As a disciple he withessed virtually all Jesus's miracles, and had no reason to doubt Jesus was the Messiah.
There is a certain flash of Judas character when Jesus's friend Mary took a large quantity of expensive perfume, poured it over Jesus’ feet, and wiped His feet with her hair as an act of worship. Judas objected. “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages” (John 12:5).
However, for all his protest, the Bible also reveals that Judas was using his position for his own personal gain. John 12:6 states, “he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
In any case Judas eventually aware of how the Jewish religious leaders were desperate to capture Jesus on false evidence, Mathew states, "Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”(Matthew 26:14-16).
Later Judas led a detachment of soldiers and officials to Jesus. Judas told the men, “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him” (Matthew 26:48). He then proceeded to approach Jesus and kiss him in greeting. After this, Jesus was arrested.
After Judas had betrayed Jesus, he got all the money he had craved after, only to find it didn't make him any happier. Instead he was filled with a certain emptiness. He was “seized with remorse” (Matthew 27:3) and returned the 30 coins to the chief priests and elders. When they disregarded him, he threw the money into the temple, left, and went away and hanged himself.
The Judas trap was of a man who loved money more than the truth, and decided to sell his soul to gain the world. But just as back then the Judas trap still haunts us, as when one is offered a choice between following and abiding by the teachings of Jesus or having wealth in exchange. And just as then many unfortunately fall under this trap!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that you keep my eyes fully open not to fall into the trap of Judas who was swayed by wealth to betray you only to discover how futile all that was, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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23/02/2024 - 24/02/2024 All day
“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” – (Deuteronomy 28:2).
Every now and then one chances upon someone despising the importance of being enterprising. To some being enterprising can be equated to the love of money and it’s pitfalls (1 Tim 6:10). Others see it as being overtly worldly. Yet, far from it, being enterprising is clearly an avenue God has given believers to raise resources for their well-being and promotion of the rich Gospel.
The Bible is full of enterprising characters who were used mightily of God. Abraham was apparently a good rancher that he “become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Gen 13:2). Job was hated by Satan who sought to destroy him because “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was born and raised in the house of Joseph, the carpenter (Mathew 13:55). Carpenters do not create works of beauty to donate for free. To prosper they must run sustainable enterprises which pay taxes and make profit. The Apostle Paul would often rely on enterprising people to support him in his ministry. One of his worthy converts “was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God (Acts 16:14).
Though Paul was a law don once he went to the mission field, other than cling to his titles by burdening his hosts he often dabbled in tent making to support himself. In Corinth he teamed up with an amazing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, and “because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). This couple run a successful tent making business that enabled them support mission work.
And then of course, there is the noble woman of character, as told in Proverbs 31, who “selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings.. She sees that her trading is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (vv 13-25).
When the body of believers is filled with such enterprising people it generates resources important to sustain God’s work. Further, the work of God is then supported without being dependent on sources that might compromise the mission, as sometimes we see! Be enterprising!
Prayer for today: Lord father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you who has given us the gift of enterprise, today I pray to use this gift to take care of my needs and support the expansion of your kingdom on earth, this I pray in Jesus’ Name.