December 28

Today's Bible Reading
     II Chronicles 33
     Revelation 19
     Malachi 1
     John 18
''They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, 'I am He.' And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them” (John 18:5)
All of us know that Jesus knew the future as well as He knew the present. That leads us to amazement that He would choose someone like Judas to be His disciple. Another pertinent question at this point is why did God allow the betrayal by Judas?  There are several important reasons to answer these questions that give us even greater confidence in the Word of God.
     1.    This was to fulfillprophecy. The Psalmist had told us, many years in advance that Jesus would be betrayed by a very good friend. ''Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against Me."  (Psalms 41:9)
     2.    This betrayal was also to demonstratedeity.  ''Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He." (John 13:19)
     3.    We are to be encouraged, as believers, by what happened in the betrayal. Many times Christians get discouraged because of hypocrites in the church. The fact that Judas was a disciple and betrayed Jesus is strong proof that the church will go on in its successful ministry in spite of hypocrites.
     4.    This tragic act on the part of Judas reveals the inadequacyof the socialgospel. Judas was one of those who believed that what was important was the money in the bank, and that whatJesus was about to do in going to the Cross was, indeed, foolish. He was an adherent of the social gospel. These folks believe that you can change a culture with bread, environment, and education.
     5.    This is a solemnwarningto lostchurchmembers. Judas had never really been saved. He was a believer who was in a backslidden condition; he was not a saved person who had lost his salvation. Judas belonged to Satan and went to his own place. You can belong to the most spiritual church where you live, yet without a life­ changing relationship with Jesus Christ, there is nothing ahead of you but tragic judgment.
     6.    This tragedy shows the damningpowerof sin. What a tragedy to see what happened to Judas, and we know what will happen to any person today who chooses to reject our Lord, and to allow sin to have its full impact on their lives. Again, God has used what seems bewildering to us to teach great truth!
Throughout the world, many believers are growing spiritually through Bible Correspondence courses. There are now more than 300 distribution centers for these critically needed lessons. Pray especially for workers who are involved in preparing materials, and pray for the personal follow-up by local churches to these who have signed up for this kind of training.
Every Christian is called in the hour of salvation to witness for Jesus Christ. Nothing in heaven or earth can excuse him from it. God gives no furloughs from this heaven-born obligation.
L.R. Scarborough