W. Randall Sexton
St. Joseph, Missouri
There is an incident that is recorded in the Gospels that I would like to notice with you; I think it reveals a point worthy of application today. The incident I am referring to is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. I am interested particularly in manner in which Judas approached Christ. This incident is recorded in Matt.26:47-50; Mk. 14:43-36; and Lk. 22:47-48.
The scene of these parallel passages, we find, is the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus had come to pray to His Father, shortly before His betrayal and arrest. Christ was ". 7 7 exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" according to Matt. 26: 38. From reading these passages we learn that on three different occasions Christ had gone off by Himself to pray, and upon returning found the disciples asleep. The third time that Jesus returned (with the disciples evidently still asleep) Judas came forth to betray Him. Judas approached Christ and kissed Him on the cheek. This, as arranged beforehand, was a signal for the soldiers to take Jesus. The manner used by Judas to betray Jesus seems to me to be a significant point from which we may draw a good lesson.
Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The kiss was a symbol of one's affection and love for another, but Judas used it to betray. He displayed his lack of love for Jesus. This kiss proved to be a hypocritical act in which Judas pretended to love Jesus when actually he despised Him, even to the point of receiving money for betraying Him. A similar scene exists today. There are many going about with the pretense of loving Christ who in their hearts do not love Him. We have some who try to cover up the true intents of the heart by an outward show. In doing this they became hypocrites. There are other examples in the Bible of this kind of action. Let us notice.
Other Biblical Examples
We find that, when Jesus was born, wise men from the East came to worship Him, "Saying, where is he that is born King of the, Jews?" When Herod heard this he was "troubled," so Matthew tells us. Herod was afraid Jesus would take over his throne. He did not realize that Jesus was not a earthly king. Herod then sent the wise men to Bethlehem to seek out Jesus for him, telling them, " bring me word again, that I may worship him also." Even as he said this he had in his mind to "seek the young child to destroy Him."
In Matt. 6: 1-8, 16-18 we read of yet some others who pretended to love Jesus in living righteously. They gave to the poor, they prayed, and they fasted. But their purpose in all of these was to be seen of men. In so doing they are become hypocrites. The original Greek word was used to describe an actor on stage that was not what he pretended. He wore masks and costumes to cover up his true self. So it was of these men. They tried to cover up what they really were by "showy performances."
Were the Scribes and Pharisees interested in living righteous lives? No, they were interested in being honored by men (Matt. 23: 5-6). They were more interested in their outward appearance than in the contents of their hearts. "And the Lord said unto him, now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness." (Lk. 11:39)
There was one who was not hypocritical in His actions. There was no pretense in His sacrifice. The love that He had for us was genuine and He showed it by shedding His blood for us. In Christ's gift to us there were no hidden motives.
Men today are observing things that in themselves are good and right. Some are doing things that are good for mankind and show forth love when done as God directs. It is good for men to take care of orphan children, to provide for the needy, to build homes for and help take care of the elderly. In all of these we show love not only for man but also for Christ in doing them. But when men start placing these responsibilities upon the church (in instances when it is not the Church's duty) and engaging it to support human institutions, they cease to show forth love for Christ. Rather, we have an instance similar to the one we mentioned at the very beginning of this article. We are using something that symbolizes love for Christ to betray Him. When we disobey His commandments we are betraying Him just as surely as did Judas.
There have been all kinds of things done in the name of religion. Simply because one claims to love Christ and to go to Him for authority does not mean that what he is doing is right in the sight of God. Many use the name of religion to further their own selfish, sinful desires. Yes, many today put on an outward show of "religion" and "Christianity" when in their hearts they seek Christ to destroy Him.
We know that there are those who are hypocritical in their actions, which pretend to love Christ when in actuality they do not. But just as surely we know that Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21). We also read:
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:28-29).
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 15, pp. 10-11
February 19, 1970