The lost had been found! A man filled with hatred, ambition, selfishness, greed and contempt had met the One who could transform him from within. He had met the Messiah. He was sure of it! The transformation in his life seemed radical. He gave up his former life. He began following this new teacher wherever He went. He was soon accepted within the inner circle of this rabbi, even becoming His treasurer.
The young man reveled in his new life. Whenever he was called upon to give money to those in need, the attention he received caused him to puff up with pride. He could feel the eyes of the people, staring at him with astonishment and gratitude. And it wasn’t even HIS money he was giving away! Those who knew him from before began showing him respect. They even called him “righteous”! It felt so good to be appreciated; it feels so good to be in the lime light!
Then he, along with everyone else who followed this great rabbi, was bestowed with great power! He could now drive demons out of people! He could heal the sick and the lame! He was the envy of everyone he met! He really had it made! After all, wasn’t he a follower of the chosen One? Wasn’t he saved beyond any doubts? Hadn’t he said the sinner’s prayer and then devoted his life in following the Messiah?
But one day, the rabbi did something that shocked him. He was accosted by a woman with a horrible reputation; but rather than chasing her away, the rabbi greeted her with love, even letting her bathe his feet with perfume! Didn’t he know she was an adulteress? Didn’t he know that this sinner had spent a fortune purchasing this perfume? A fortune that, no doubt, came from her “profession”! A fortune that could have been given to Jesus-to him!
Yet not one word of reproach crossed the rabbi’s lips.
He tried to make his rabbi aware of what was going on. He even reminded the rabbi that the money spent on this perfume could have been better spent feeding the hungry. But his teacher wouldn’t listen. Instead, He seemed to put this sinful woman on a pedestal. How could He? Didn’t he deserve the attention the rabbi was giving this-this sinner???
Disgusted, he left the room. He had to do something! He had to . . . He didn’t know what he had to do, but he knew who would know. The religious authorities! His disgust was so intense that it led him to betray the one he had been following. He betrayed Him for thirty silver pieces.
Only when it was too late did he realize he had been wrong. Only after the inevitable had already happened and the Messiah had been condemned to death did he understand the atrocity of his actions. He tried in vain to persuade the religious authorities to release the young teacher, but he was greeted in mockery.
Too late he realized he had spent a life where the “I” reigned. Although he was a follower of the right person, he had never accepted him as Lord and Master of his life. He had been too ambitious, too selfish. He had made sure that it was he, himself, who had held onto the reins of his destiny . . . A destiny which he now realized led to . . . Death.
When he found Jesus, Judas Iscariot had a promising future. However his “I” led him to betrayal and eventually to suicide. Although lovingly warned by Jesus Himself, Judas followed through with his evil plans, and the feelings of utter emptiness that his actions left inside of him overcame him completely.
How could this be? Hadn’t he been a faithful follower of Jesus? Hadn’t he accepted Jesus into his life? Hadn’t his sins been forgiven?
How sad to follow after salvation all your life, and yet never claim it fully by making Jesus the Lord and Master of your life.
Although Judas had been following purity, he had been hanging onto his own sinful apparel all the time. God’s Word is clear on this. Once we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, we are a new creation in Christ. We need to get rid of our former filthiness. Just having said the sinner’s prayer will not save us. We must also give up our self and put Jesus on the throne of our heart!
“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything – and I do mean everything – connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. ” (Eph 4:22-24 The Message)
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. (Matt 16:24 The Message)
But didn’t Judas drive out demons and heal people in the name of Jesus (See Matthew 1-: 5 – 8)? Isn’t this proof enough that he was saved?
“Knowing the correct password – saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance – isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience – doing what my Father wills. I can see it now – at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.'” (Matt 7:21-23 The Message) (For Judas’ lot read Acts 1: 13-25)
Being religious, and even being actively involved in what seems a God-oriented ministry, isn’t proof that one is saved. One can only be saved by repenting, accepting Jesus into one’s heart and making Him Lord and Master of one’s life.
We are not guaranteed an easy life as a Christian, but Jesus promises to make a difference during our tribulations. He promises that He will always be there for us, and He sure is! “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20 NIV)
Knowing Jesus intimately is what makes a difference in our lives. It is only then that we will experience true life and the real fruit of following Jesus as our Lord and Master. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV); “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23 NIV)
Who is the real Lord and Master of your life?
(To access the entire “My Lord and Master” devotional series, please click here.)