Walking by Faith Alone

Posts Tagged ‘garden of gethsemane

Did Judas go to hell?

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I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about Judas, one of the chosen twelve disciples, and the betrayer of Jesus. Is there anyone as hated in the Christian faith? The man who sold our Savior for 30 pieces of silver, the price in that day of a slave. The man who turned Him over with a kiss on the cheek.

My interest in Judas came about when one of my Sunday School kids (I teach 3rd graders) declared one morning in the middle of a lesson about Jeremiah, “You know who is burning in Hell?”

Of course all attention left me and on this little boy. “Judas. He is burning in Hell right now,” he mumbled.

I quickly redirected the brains and attention of my class back to the prophet Jeremiah, but the thought intrigued me. Is Judas burning in Hell?

To summarized the story, Judas was chosen by Christ to be one of His disciples. Historically, it is recorded Judas was the only disciple from a region called Negev (present day Judea). On the night of the Last Supper, it is told  in John 13 that Jesus spoke to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

For thirty pieces of silver, a very small sum of money, Judas agreed to bring the Roman soldiers to Jesus. He would indicate who Jesus of Nazareth was by simply kissing Him on the cheek.  Judas called out to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Greetings Rabbi!” and Jesus responded, “Friend, do what you came for.”

When Jesus was taken into custody, Judas realized what he had done and repented, “I have sinned,” he said, “For I have betrayed innocent blood.” He threw the money into the temple and then left and hung himself.

Would God welcome such a betrayer into heaven?

In my prayers and research regarding this hated man Judas, I’ve come to realize several important things:

  • An evil man would have bartered for much more money. Jesus was a wanted commodity.
  • An evil man would not have repented
  • An evil man would not have been so desperate as to hang himself, but delight in his victory.

Judas had witnessed first hand the splendor and majesty of our Savior. He had seen Him do incredible feats, miracle after miracle. Is it possible Judas was simply forcing the hand of God? Prompting Him to demonstrate His power? Judas knew the soldiers were no match for Christ. What a victory it would be when Jesus defeated the Roman soldiers and declared Himself King of all kings!  How often do you and I attempt to force God to do that which we desire Him to do?

Those stripes on Jesus’ back? How many are yours? How many are mine? Do we not in some way betray our Savior on a daily basis? Do we not misrepresent Him when we gossip, judge, cheat, lie, and fail to defend Him? How many of us on a daily basis kiss the face of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver?

Could it be that any one of us are Judas at some point in our lives?

We live in a world surrounded by sin. Can we really judge Judas? Do we have a right to hate him?

When I was a little girl my Dad used to put his pocket change in a glass bear money bank which he kept in his sock drawer. As much as I try to remember, I can’t think what it was that I wanted to purchase but I took money from him – probably a dollar in nickels and dimes at the most. I couldn’t sleep because I was consumed with guilt. Finally, I went to my Dad and confessed that I had stolen money from him, and I returned what I had taken.

Later my Dad came and sat on the edge of my bed. He told me he loved me. I thought he would spank me or lecture me. I thought surely I’d be in trouble for days. Instead, he kissed my forehead and never mentioned it again. It was one of the greatest lessons of my life and I never took anything that didn’t belong to me again.

My Dad demonstrated the mercy of God. It is simple really but so many of us do not ‘get it’.

I cannot determine whether Judas is in Heaven or Hell – only God determines such – for He knows our hearts.  And although I would like to blame Judas for all that Jesus suffered on the cross, I know I cannot. For the nails which penetrated His hands and feet; the crown of thorns which gouged my Kings forehead; the words which mocked Him; the spit; the stripes on His back; all are just as much my fault as they are Judas’s.

I am careful where I place Judas. Did he not do the will of the Father? The harsh reality of Judas and his part in the Crucifixion leads me to ponder – realistically, shouldn’t I thank him?







I will pray for you…

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I find it difficult to imagine the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, sleeping while their Savior prayed. Did they not understand or observe the turmoil brewing within Him?

Mark 14:37-40, “And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer Him.”

I tend to be critical of them, considering the fact they had the opportunity to witness first hand the miracles of God; to speak and learn from the Master Himself. Had He ever been concerned to the point of requesting prayer from them? Had His behavior ever been such? Our Lord and Savior, knowing what was going to happen, was sweating blood, and Peter, James, and John were sleeping. How could they?

In life, I have found that when I make a judgement against someone, God usually teaches me to point my finger towards myself. In this instance, it is no different. While I do not understand how the disciples could sleep at such a time, I do the same to others. I have slept while people depended on me for prayer.

A few years ago, a friend confided in me of a situation in her life. She was conflicted and anxious, worrying that the outcome would be too difficult for her to live. Through her tears I promised to fast and pray with her and diligently did for several days. Life distracted me, I guess, if there is a justifiable reason for my stopping my fast and forgetting to pray. Maybe I was too wrapped up in myself and my own problems. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I didn’t realize the depth of her fears. Maybe I was the disciples under the tree in the Garden of Gethsemane.  A week passed and she called me, excited the situation had turned positive for her and hope existed. Instantaneously, I realized I was no different from Peter or James or John. It was as if I too had fallen asleep. God didn’t let my sweet friend down, but I did.

I heard a sermon recently by a man who travels throughout the world to minister to others. He told of a story in which a tragedy struck his friend’s household. The young daughter of this man had died, right at Christmas time. What do you do in such situations? He reminded us of the Christian response, “I will be praying for you…” and rolled his eyes whispering, “…and you take out your checkbook and write him a check for $500.00 to cover Christmas so he doesn’t have to worry about it.”

We often use prayer as a scapegoat – a way to gently remove ourselves from the pain of others. “Oh, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I will pray for you.” But how often do we actually do what we say we are going to do? We use the most powerful weapon God has given us against Satan as a phrase similar to a greeting. “How ya doing?” “I’ll be praying for ya!”

After the incident with my friend, I started a prayer journal and schedule. By putting people on particularly days, I would be able to keep up with who I had committed to pray for and maintain how he or she was doing. A day for my children, a day for my government, a day for my friend’s in need…I still fall short. I still let friends who I have told I will pray for slip through the cracks, but I try very hard not to do so.

Are you sleeping while others are counting on your prayers? Do you do what you say you are going to do when someone asks you to pray for them?

Not too long ago I received an email from a person I had asked several years ago to pray for me. I actually met her in a medical environment. We were struggling with similar issues and had spent the morning talking, while waiting to be tested for this and that. We had exchanged emails and had full intention of keeping touch. Her email was simple, “I continue to pray for you daily my friend. Let me know how you are.” My heart was filled with hope and the joy of knowing someone had been praying for me. She did not fall asleep but kept a watchful eye for me.

Prayer is a powerful weapon, so powerful that Jesus used it! The son of God used prayer daily. Imagine the enormity of that! If He needed prayer how much more do we?

Make a practice of praying daily. Keep your commitments to others.

Job 42:10, “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Prayer is quite an investment for the future, wouldn’t you agree?

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

January 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm