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February 16, 2020

The Judas Test

Os Hillman • Adversity
What do you do when someone close to you betrays you? How did Jesus handle Judas's betrayal. How do we handle those in the marketplace who betray us. Discover the Graduate Level course of study God takes leaders through in this article.
Have you ever considered that Judas was on the management team? Have you considered that Judas was the instrument that was used to fulfill God's purposes? Now, I realize these two concepts bring up great theological questions about God's will, His permissive will and the role of evil in our lives.

The most challenging principle Jesus laid down for us through His personal example was his response to his enemies. Jesus not only forgave his enemies, He washed the feet of Judas, the one who would betray him. This one commandment by Jesus to bless our enemies separates the men from the boys and reveals who is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ. I call it the Judas Test: God's Graduate Level Test. Jesus, in the following verses explains it clearly.

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful"
(Luke 6:27-36).

So, does this mean that we are to become doormats for every person who wants to use and abuse us? Well, in a sense, it would appear that He is almost saying that. However, there are some major differences in these two concepts. There were times when Jesus confronted the Pharisees head-on and told them frankly what he thought. However, there were other times He sat silently listening to their accusations but refusing to answer. I believe Jesus understood when God's purposes were best served by His specific response to His accusers.

Every leader that has been used by God seems to have one consistent test that God brings into their life before He elevates them to greater responsibility in the Kingdom. It is the Judas Test. God allows an assault to be brought against a leader that almost seems cruel that appears as if it will destroy them. It brings the person to the very depths of their soul. The purpose of this assault is not to destroy the individual, but it is to destroy the flesh.

One of the major goals of the Christian life is death - death to self.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived during the Nazis movement in Germany. He recognized early the evil of Adolf Hitler before others did. As a result, he found himself unpopular in his country, even with other Christians. Bonhoeffer began to stand up against what he saw as injustices. Finding himself in danger, he fled to America, but he felt all the while that his place was with the believers in Germany. In the early 1940s he returned, only to be arrested and taken to the extermination camp at Flossenburg, where he was stripped and hanged at age thirty-nine.

Bonhoeffer had to make the ultimate sacrifice with inner tranquility and resignation because of his conviction that there are five different deaths every Christian should die:

1) Death to natural relationships. During the days of the Third Reich, many pastors said they would be willing to endure imprisonment or death, but they could not do so because of their families. It is one thing for a husband or father to be persecuted; it is quite another to see children suffer a similar fate. Hitler always used a man's family as an inducement for absolute obedience. Bonhoeffer answered that our commitment to Christ should be so all-consuming that all natural affection must come under its authority. (Matthew 10:37)

2) Death to success. Bonhoeffer said, "Success is a veneer that covers only the emptiness of the soul."

3) Death to the flesh. The Christian should have no fear of suffering, for he is already dead to self.

4) Death to the love of money.
5) Physical death for Christ, should a person be thus called.

A Sea Captain Experiences the Ultimate Love

Recently, a friend told me a true story about one of his closest friends who experienced great suffering for the soul of his persecutor. This man worked on a cargo ship. His boss was the captain. This friend was a committed Christian who shared his faith with others and was a good worker. One day the friend led the sea captain's girlfriend to Christ. The sea captain already hated and ridiculed the Christian worker because of his faith in Christ.

When his girlfriend came to Christ, she stopped sleeping with the captain. The captain blamed the Christian man for the change in his girlfriend. One day he entered the restaurant where the Christian man was having lunch. He walked over to his table and began hurling obscenities and began beating him. The Christian man simply tried to defend himself but did not fight back. The captain kept beating him until eventually the man lay on the floor bleeding.

Two men entered the restaurant and saw what was taking place. They jumped the sea captain and took him outside and began beating him. The sea captain was beaten so badly that he needed immediate medical attention. The Christian worker saw the condition of the sea captain, came to his aid, and began helping him. The sea captain was so moved that this man could do this after he had literally beaten him bloody that he began to weep, not understanding what could move a man to have such love in the face of being beaten. The sea captain accepted Jesus at that moment.

This is the kind of radical love that is required to love our enemies.

Click To EnlargeFor additional reading on this topic we suggest The Stronghold of God, by Frances Frangipane

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