The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Judas Left, Jesus Loved.

“So, when he had gone out. . . .” – John 13:31a

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35


What are you living for? What is your life purpose? Can you narrow it down to a single thing? Are you living aimlessly? Or do you have a target, an objective that drives and directs you each day? Is it the right objective? Are you accomplishing that objective? If you do reach your objective do you receive a sense of accomplishment when you do or is there emptiness? If you do feel a sense of accomplishment does it last?

What is your desired heritage? What do you want to leave behind? When you die and people are parading past your open casket what will you want them to think of you? When you’re eulogized what will you want people to remember most about you? What will your legacy be? Will it be something like the following?

  • “They were good at making money”  
  • “They could really make a sale”
  • “They built a company”
  • “They were a hard worker; faithful in attendance; trustworthy on the job”
  • “They were brilliant”
  • “They could really argue their point”
  • “They furthered their cause”
  • “They were the best in their field”
  • “They built a mega church” 
  • “They wrote books”
  • “They were a great preacher; a great teacher”
  • “They could really add those souls-saved-notches to their belt”
  • “They were faithful”
  • “They gave everything away to the poor”
  • “They died a martyr’s death”
  • “They built a family”
  • “They put their kids through college”
  • “They overcame so many trials in life”
  • “They fought to the end”

I could go on and on. People are remembered for a lot of things. At funerals even scoundrels are presented in a favorable light (usually). But what would Jesus have us be remembered for? What does He care most about? In the end, when we stand before Jesus, what will He be looking for most in us? That is what I would like to consider in this teaching.

The last night Jesus would share with His disciples before he went to the cross He shared His heart with them. The last words of a dying man are packed with meaning. Whether their words are few or many, they contain profound messages. Last words voice the most important points the dying wish to make. Last words are a punctuation and often an exclamation to the life of the departing. John gives us the most details about Jesus’ last words to His disciples.

So, when he had gone out, . . .” (John 13:31a). Final words are sacred. Final words are usually made to a chosen few. Not everyone is privileged to be present when final words are uttered. Final words are for those most valued, most loved. Sometimes people choose to disregard or remove themselves from the privileged position of hearing one’s last words. To do that is the highest of slights. It is a statement that the one uttering the final words is not worth listening to. It is the ultimate disrespect. That is what Judas chose to do.

Judas departed to betray the love of his Master Jesus. Judas acted in the most unloving way. Judas left in His mastered hour of greatest need. But Jesus stays and begins to explain His greatest message. Jesus could have left the disciples. He could have run from the scene. He could have fled the cross. He could have run away. He had every reason to leave a group of people who persistently didn’t get His message or understand His mission. But Jesus stayed and loved. This final night began with the comment, “having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). In thought, word and deed Jesus loved to the very end. Many times love is determined by whether or not we leave or stay. Love is quenched when a person leaves or betrays in some way. Judas left, Jesus loved, Judas betrayed, Jesus stayed.

“Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.” (John 13:31b-32).  While Judas embarks on his devilish work, Jesus declares the glory of God in all of it. Satan thinks he is defeating Jesus. But in truth Satan is serving God’s purposes and ultimately will be used by God to work His greatest victory. For Jesus, the most important thing was not that He was betrayed or even that He would die, but that God would be glorified. Is that our greatest ambition and concern; that God would be glorified? It should be. But how do we glorify God? Jesus “is glorified, and God is glorified in Him” as He teaches and ultimately demonstrates His love.  

 Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ so now I say to you.” (John 13:33). Jesus speaks to His disciples as spiritual children. There was an immaturity about them. They were missing something. They have reached their limit to follow Him as presently spiritually constituted. What were they missing? What were they lacking?

Jesus is going to the cross. The cross is the height of spiritual perfection. The cross of Christ is humanities’ basis for eternal life. The cross of Christ is the greatest demonstration and fulfillment of the love of God. And Jesus will now explain the purpose of what He is about to do at the cross. Jesus is going in a sense where no one else can go; the cross. But Jesus is also going in a sense where anyone who wants to experience His abundant life must go; the cross. But what is the cross all about? The disciples don’t yet get Jesus purpose. They need to understand the “why” of what Jesus is doing.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35). As Jesus prepares to go to the cross He expresses the motivation behind all that He is submitting Himself to go through. The pinnacle of Jesus last words to His disciples is “a new commandment I give you, that you love one another.” This new commandment is about love. But this wasn’t anything new. The Old Testament taught about love. Deuteronomy is an Old Testament book filled with exhortations to love God and love others (e.g. Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1, 13; 13:3; 19:9; 30:6, 16, and 20). The Old Testament provides Gods’ instruction to love our neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). Song of Solomon and Hosea are love stories about God and His people. So in what way is Jesus teaching on love a new commandment?

This is a new commandment from Jesus in “that you love one another; as I have loved you.” Jesus was not talking about a stone cold law. Jesus was not talking about a touchy feely secular worldly love. Jesus lived a life that exemplified a costly self-giving, self-sacrificing love. He calls His disciples to love and He does not leave the nature of such love up to speculation. Jesus says, “as I have loved you.” The love we are to show others is the love of Jesus. And if we aren’t loving or willing to love like Jesus then we can’t progress in our spiritual maturing. Whenever we don’t love we stall and stand still in our walk with the Lord. Lack of love is what makes us spiritually childish.

If we want to look at the nature and definition of the love with which we, as Jesus’ disciples, are to love, we have to look at Jesus. How do we love like Jesus? When we look at the Gospel of John we see the love of Jesus in the following summary:

  1. Jesus demonstrated His love by leaving everything to reach those He loved – John 1:1-18
  2. Jesus demonstrated His love by inviting people to be His disciples and learn from Him by being with Him – John 1:35-42
  3. Jesus demonstrated His love by taking time to explain things to them – John 1:43-51
  4. Jesus demonstrated His love by attending events like weddings with people  - John 2
  5. Jesus demonstrated His love by meeting privately with people and sharing the gospel with them – John 3
  6. Jesus demonstrated His love by making time for sinners and talking with outcasts – John 4
  7. Jesus demonstrated His love by taking time to heal people – John 4:46-54; 5:1-15; 9:1-41
  8. Jesus demonstrated His love by feeding people physically – John 6
  9. Jesus demonstrated His love by teaching truth at the risk of being rejected – John 6
  10. Jesus demonstrated His love by pressing on in ministry even though family members opposed Him – John 7:1-36
  11. Jesus demonstrated His love by offering them refreshing in the Holy Spirit – John 7:37-39
  12. Jesus demonstrated His love with grace for those caught red handed in sin – John 8
  13. Jesus demonstrated His love by being a Good Shepherd to people – John 10
  14. Jesus demonstrated His love by weeping for them – John 11 (11:35)
  15. Jesus demonstrated His love by His willingness to accept a mission that required He die for them – John 12:27-36
  16. Jesus demonstrated His love by serving people in the lowliest of ways – John 13
  17. Jesus demonstrated His love by patiently teaching and preparing His disciples for His departure (with details on the Holy Spirit’s ministry -  John 14-16
  18. Jesus demonstrated His love by praying for people – John 17
  19. Jesus demonstrated His love by submitting to injustices and going to the cross – John 18-19
  20. Jesus demonstrated His love by receiving back those who had forsaken and betrayed Him – John 20-21

Looking at Jesus is the best way to understand what true love is all about.

Love is a willingness to die for those you love. Jesus’ love is a willingness to die for the object of your love. How is such love practically experienced? We may not ever have to actually give our lives in love. But to love like Jesus loved we do need to die to pride, die to complaints, die to ambition, and die to selfishness. To love like Jesus loved is to love in full surrender to the will of the Father. To love like Jesus is to pick up your cross and follow Him. To love like Jesus is to take everything you see as having worth and profit and value and nailing it to the cross for the sake of Jesus; and do it in love. The cross is a place of total trust. The cross is the place where we learn true love. There’s a reason why love-hearts are portrayed in blood red.  To love is to go to the cross.

There is another portion of scripture valuable to understanding Christ-like love. The apostle Paul describes Christ-like love when he writes his first letter to the church in Corinth. The Corinthian church had a big problem with their selfishness (i.e. the flesh). They were very gifted but also very immature in their walk with the Lord. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal [i.e. fleshly; self-centered], as to babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1ff.).

The antidote to the flesh is the love the Spirit provides. When we look at the context of Paul’s great 1 Corinthian 13 chapter on love it is smack dab in the middle of his discussion of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12 and 14). The Corinthians were excited about spiritual gifts but they were missing the more important spiritual maturity depth and empowerment of the Spirit’s love. Therefore Paul addresses their immaturity. In chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians the Spirit directs him to write:

  • 1 Corinthians 13 (NKJV) - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.


Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.


11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.


13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

When we look at this definition of love we notice that it is defined by what it “does” or “does not” do; love is an action. The greatest expression of such love is found in the supreme act of Jesus going to the cross. Love is a moving picture of Jesus. 

[Jesus] suffers long and is kind; [Jesus] does not envy; [Jesus] does not parade [Himself], is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek [His] own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [Jesus]  never fails.

Those words are a fifth gospel, a living testimony and biography of Jesus and His love. We learn what love is by looking to Jesus. He suffered long to lift us out of sin. There wasn’t an envious bone in His body. He told people to not tell others about His miraculous works. He was humble and couldn’t be provoked to think evil thoughts even by His coarsest enemies. He never ever did or ever would rejoice in evil but only rejoiced in the truth of God’s word. He bore all our sins on the cross. He believed in the redemptive mission of His Father. He believed and preached hope in the cross. He endured false accusations, lies, slaps, beatings, scourging, a crown of thorns, mocking, spit, and a long walk with the cross to crucifixion. He did that in love for love. He succeeded in paying the penalty and just requirements of God’s law in love on the cross. His greatest expression of that love is on the cross. Look to the cross if you want to know what His love is all about (e.g. Romans 5:8).

Love is the value of everything. Love is the essential ingredient to give earthly efforts an eternal value and worth. If there is something you should be willing to live for and die for and spend your life mastering, it is love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love gives eternal worth to whatever it does. If you wash the floor with loveless resentment, the work loses all its potential eternal value. But if you wash the floor in love for the Lord and others, it takes on eternal worth. If you give your life in hate it’s meaningless. But if you give your life in love for the Lord and others, it is given eternal worth.  Love gives value to everything. Love is the value of everything.

Love patiently helps to bring others along. Christ-like love “suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4a). “Suffers long” (Greek makrothymeo) means literally to be long-spirited. And it is paired with the word “kind” (Greek christeuomai) which means to show oneself useful or act benevolently to help. To be “kind” is to be like “Christ.” In the word “kind” Paul is literally saying love is being like Jesus!

The conjunction “and” between “long suffering and kind” is inserted by translators. In the original Greek it reads literally suffers-long-kind. Love starts with a spirit or attitude that is committed for the long haul with people. That’s important because the lessons of love and growing in love take a long time. It takes a lifetime to learn Christ-like love. Therefore, this love begins with awareness that to love involves time. This love starts with a commitment that will involve patiently coming alongside others and helping them along.  Such love was an essential ingredient in Jesus discipleship of His followers. In love Jesus patiently waited for His disciples to grow in their faith and preparation to lead.

This first ingredient of love is a priority because it establishes love with staying power. It takes time for people to grow in their faith. The patient staying persistent continued ongoing love of Jesus is what keeps people together to grow in His love. When you love like Jesus you work through problems you don’t give up or run away from them. Remember, Judas left and betrayed, Jesus stayed and loved.

Love helps others along and waits for them to catch up. Love not only waits for others to catch up, it grabs hold of them and helps them along. Practically this love is what holds a marriage together as both spouses grow together. This love is the love that enables the parent to wait for the child to grow and learn their life lessons. This love is what enables pastors to disciple their congregations and help them along to spiritual maturity. This love is what enables teachers to tutor their students to learn their lessons. Love is why Jesus waits for us to grow in our faith. Thank God for His patient love.

When you love like Jesus you care enough to sacrifice and endure and work, really work to be one with others. There would be fewer divorces in our world if spouses really took their vows to heart and truly loved each other. There would be a lot fewer church splits and people leaving churches if the love of the Spirit was truly experienced and lived out. This suffer-long-kind patient loving kindness aspect of love is where love begins. You really can’t experience and build with what follows until by faith you commit to this first prime foundational part of love. Love starts with total commitment to “strengthen the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees,” to leave no person behind. Love begins with a spirit of love to, “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Hebrews 12:12; Gal. 6:2). This is the beginning of love. When was the last time you actually helped someone rather than simply criticize them?

Love is not materially oriented. Christ-like love doesn’t envy (1 Corinthians 13:4b). The person who loves like Jesus doesn’t look at others and wish it had what they have. When you love like Jesus you are satisfied with what God gives you. Christ-like love isn’t possession or materially oriented. It doesn’t measure love or communicate love with things but with relationship. When was the last time you complimented someone about a blessing they received?

Love is genuine. Christ-like love doesn’t parade itself or present a puffed up image of itself (1 Corinthians 13:4c). Love isn’t about presenting yourself to others in a way that draws attention to you. When you love like Jesus loves you don’t put on a show or see loving as merely acting a certain way. Christ-like love is something you are not only something you do. It’s genuine and flows from the heart; from inside. When was the last time you determined to do something in the background and not maneuver to be in the spotlight?

Love values others. Christ-like love isn’t rude (1 Corinthians 13:5a). Love respects others and speaks to them in a way that shows others are valued. Love doesn’t treat other people as tools to be used or a means to an end. When you love like Jesus you put your arm around people and join them to you and bring them along, you don’t step through them or push them out of the way to get where you want to go. When was the last time you caught and stopped yourself from making a sarcastic remark and instead interjected a word that built up someone? When was the last time you were purposefully polite? 

Love isn’t selfish, it’s selfless. Christ-like love doesn’t seek its own (1 Corinthians 13:5b). Love seeks the best for others even at the expense of its own desires. When you love like Jesus you don’t use people to get what you want. When you love like Jesus you sacrifice yourself so others can attain their best. Christ-like love is others oriented. Jesus went to the cross for you and for me. When was the last time you did something that benefited you in no way?

Love is humble enough to receive correction. Christ-like love isn’t provoked (1 Corinthians 13:5c). Love is humble and doesn’t proudly take criticism as a personal attack. When you love like Jesus you welcome correction and are teachable. Your top priority is identifying anything in you that may be a detriment to His love fully being in you. Therefore you welcome counsel and teaching and see it as a great benefit to helping you learn to love more. When was the last time you took criticism without defending yourself?

Love thinks healthy loving not rotten unloving thoughts.  Christ-like love doesn’t think in evil ways (1 Corinthians 13:5d). Love guards the mind from sinful thoughts that are contrary to the way Jesus would have you think. “Evil” (Greek kakos) means literally depraved, rotten, bad, harmful, ill, wicked. When you love like Jesus you don’t settle for doing things in unloving ways. When you love like Jesus you are spiritual healthy because your thought-life is governed by Jesus and His love. When was the last time you replaced a rotten unloving thought with a creative thought of how to express your love to someone?  

Love enjoys truth. Christ-like love doesn’t take joy in sin but takes joy in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). Love speaks and lives by truth (Ephesians 4:15). A person who loves you will love you enough to share the truth with you even if it may hurt you. But they will be grieved at your hurt. And if you truly love like Jesus you will receive loving correction. When you love like Jesus you don’t get your happiness (“rejoice” – Greek chairo a calm sense of well-being; cheerfulness; happiness) from sinful things but from things that are truthful according to God’s word (compare John 17:17). When was the last time you actually rejoiced in a truth of God’s word?

Love covers faults. Love is willing to overlook or patiently work through faults (their own faults or the faults of others). Christ-like love bears all things (1 Corinthians 13:7a). To “bear” (Greek stego) means to roof over, cover, endure patiently in silence. In other words, when you love like Jesus you aren’t preoccupied with pointing out every fault of every person. A friend who loves you will have your back even when you mess up. When you love like Jesus you are willing to put up with the faults of others as they grow in their faith. When was the last time you actually protected someone from an embarrassing misstep instead of self-righteously calling them on it?

It says bears “all things.” When you love like Jesus you aren’t a chronic complainer. Loving like Jesus silently bears hardship. That doesn’t mean you never address problems. It does mean you are more apt to silently entrust your circumstances to the Lord than always rise up to defend yourself. To love means you will put up with the trials of life for the sake of Christ. To love means you will press on even when injustices are inflicted on you. When you love like Jesus you press on even when you don’t understand why certain things are being allowed by God. Our love for Jesus and the love of Jesus gets us through the dark times, the times of unknowing, the wildernesses of life.

Love is faithful. Christ-like love believes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7b). When you love like Jesus you love in faith. When you love with Jesus’ love you trust every situation and every person to Him. When you love like Jesus with his love you give people the benefit of the doubt. Love doesn’t assume the worst it assumes the best about people. Love trusts that Jesus is working in people. When was the last time you believed in someone or something?

Love is hopeful. Christ-like love hopes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7c). Love is always hopeful that God is working out His plans and that it will come to pass. When you love like Jesus your focus is on His promises and you trust in Jesus to fulfill them. When was the last time you hoped in Jesus and His love in a situation?

Love is willing to take risks. Christ-like love endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7d). Living with a Christ-like love puts you in a vulnerable position. To love is risky. When you love this way the risk is that people will not love you back or they will take advantage of you. When you love selflessly like this there is a risk of being hurt or broken by others who abuse your love. People may look down on you because of your love, manipulate your love, or crucify you because of your love. But if you are seeking to love like Jesus you will love even when it involves risk. When was the last time your love took a risk?

Love is triumphant. Christ-like love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8a). This love is worth the risk. This love is our purpose in life. This love of Christ must compel us (2 Corinthians 5:14-16). This love is what Jesus wants for us. This love is what He uses the ingredients of our life to create in us. This love is what makes us ready for heaven. When was the last time you loved through to victory?

Love is the mark of success. This love transcends the worth of all other spiritual gifting (1 Corinthians 13:8b). Anything and everything we do in our lives for Jesus must be done with this kind of love. Whatever we do apart from His love will fail as far as He is concerned. We may build big churches and argue people into praying a prayer of salvation or agreeing with our doctrine, but if it isn’t according to the love of Christ it is worthless. If you were to measure who you are and what you do by love, how much of who you are or what you do would be of eternal worth?

Love is the measure of spiritual maturity. This love is the sign of spiritual maturity (1 Corinthians 13:9-12). Without Christ’s love we are incomplete Christians. Love is the essential “part” of who we are and what we do. Love is the measure of spiritual maturity; it perfects us. Love is the difference between a spiritual child and being a spiritual adult. It isn’t until we love that we see clearly. How spiritually mature are you based on the amount of love in your life?

This love is the greatest! (1 Corinthians 13:13). There’s nothing more important than love. Love is what Jesus wants us to learn above everything else. Love is the greatest quality. Love is the greatest commodity. Get love! It’s the greatest! Are you living your life for what is greatest in God’s eyes; love?

This love is from the Spirit. Jesus’ kind of love is not easy to live by. That kind of love will be opposed at every step by our flesh, the world and the devil. That is why Jesus follows this call to love like Him in John 13 with His primary teaching on the Holy Spirit in John 14, 15, and 16. The Holy Spirit pours God’s love into our heart (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit bears the fruit of Jesus’ love in us (Galatians 5:22-24). Therefore Jesus is really preparing and calling His disciples to an abundant life of love in the Spirit.

Love is the mark of Jesus. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Jesus doesn’t say you will be known as His disciples by the size of your bank account, the size of your house, the size of your family or the size of your church. The church is not a corporation it is a manifestation of His love. It is love, the particular love of Jesus that His disciples will be known by. If there is one thing, one message, one way of life, one memorial, one legacy to leave behind, if there is one thing to have people remember you by, it should be LOVE; the love of Christ. This should be our goal, our purpose, our reason for being and living. To be known as Jesus disciples by the love you show for one another is the ultimate goal of a disciple of Jesus. Truly “His banner over me” needs to be “love” (Song of Solomon 2:4). Are you known by Jesus’ mark of love? Is “love” the first thing people think of when they think of you?

Love people into the kingdom of God. We need to love people into the kingdom of God. We need to love sinners and saints. We have to stop kicking people to the curb and start picking them up and helping them along, We need to help people to Jesus in love. We need to help people see Jesus and have a deeper and more enduring walk with Jesus in love. Love must permeate everything we do and everything we are known by. Truly a disciple of Jesus should love like Jesus loved. The love of Jesus in a disciple should be a fragrant aroma, sensed by all, wherever they are. A disciple of Jesus who loves like Jesus is accessible like Jesus, tirelessly and selflessly serving like Jesus and willing to wash feet and go to the cross like Jesus. Look at Jesus in the gospels and love like that. Be known as Jesus disciple by the love of Jesus. When was the last time you loved someone into the kingdom of God?

I want to finish with a final word of caution and challenge. We can learn what something is by seeing the contrast of it. Judas is a contrast to Jesus. We need to see that. Too often there is a spirit of Judas in us. We need to identify and forsake that evil loveless spirit. Jesus taught his disciples about His new commandment of Christ-like love on the heels of Judas’ departure to betray Him. Jesus was fully aware of what Judas had left to do. When people examine Judas they sometimes see him in a sympathetic light. They speculate he was only trying to force Jesus’ hand to confront the Romans and Jewish leadership in order to defeat them and establish His kingdom. People look at Judas and assume his intentions were good; it was his method that was sinful. I contend that Judas willfully opened his heart to the devil. He is culpable for what he did. Judas left before Jesus’ teaching on His new commandment of love and the role of the Holy Spirit because he wasn’t interested in that teaching. Judas left, Jesus loved, Judas betrayed, Jesus stayed.

Judas betrayed Jesus because of pride. Why wasn’t Judas interested in Jesus’ teaching? Because at some point Judas came to thinking he knew better than Jesus. Pride was involved (and pride goes before destruction – Proverbs 16:18). At some point the student thought he knew more than the Teacher. Pride is presumptuous. Pride is always at the root of betrayal. Pride is especially at the root of betraying authority or leaders. But there is something more sinister, more devilish, and more demonic at the root of Judas’ betraying treacherous act.  

Judas stopped loving Jesus. Judas actions indicate a decision to reject Jesus’ love. We don’t know if Judas ever did love Jesus. But his actions betray the fact that Judas rejected Jesus love personally and in principle. Judas was unwilling to take up his cross. Judas wanted nothing to do with the cross of Christ. He didn’t think about patiently waiting for Jesus’ plan to pan out. Instead Judas was impatient about the plan and mission of Jesus (and that’s being generous). It’s likely Judas envied Jesus popularity just like the religious leaders did. Judas paraded and puffed up himself when he presented himself as knowing better than Jesus. He certainly did not value Jesus as a Person. He certainly sought his own profit in selling Jesus out for money. In his pride the mission plan of Jesus provoked him. To allow Satan to enter you is the height of thinking evil. His act was the height of sin and at some point he chose to rejoice in his decision not the truth of Jesus. He refused to bear what Jesus taught. He stopped believing in Jesus. He gave up hoping in Jesus. He wasn’t willing to endure and follow through on Jesus call and mission plan. His love failed. Judas’ never matured spiritually because he discarded the love Jesus offered. Judas refused to believe that the love of Jesus is the greatest (compare to 1 Corinthians 13). Judas left, Jesus loved, Judas betrayed, Jesus stayed. At the heart of Judas’ betrayal is lovelessness.

Beware a spirit of Judas. Whenever we act in unloving ways we are acting more like Judas than Jesus. Life is filled with choices about whether or not to love. Life if filled with forks in the road. We can take the path of Judas and leave and betray or we can take the path of Jesus and love and stay on His way. The choice is before you. What will you live for? What will you die for? What legacy will you leave behind? Judas left, Jesus loved. What will you do? Me? I’m opting for staying and loving. When I pass from this realm to the next, I want people to remember me for the love of Jesus. I hope and pray you too choose to live a life of love “as I have loved you.”  

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