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Matthew 26:14-16

The Works of Wickedness

14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.


Today we will resume our study of the book of Matthew, but not without thinking about the violent attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These attacks were the products of an elaborate and wicked plot. However, God can and does use such evil actions to accomplish that which is good. It may be years or decades before we know how He will do that, but we are assured that He is in control.

It is characteristic of wicked people to secretly plot against anything that is good and that poses a threat to their sinful way of living. Matthew emphasized their wickedness by contrasting the Sanhedrin's plot and Judas' betrayal with the story of the woman who worshipped by anointing Jesus with a precious ointment.

Judas, however, was more than just another person who plotted to destroy Jesus. He was a trusted disciple. Jesus had made him His ministry's treasurer, even though he was known to be a thief. He was privileged to all of the information concerning the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus shared with the other disciples and he knew the loving nature of the Lord. Judas even knew that Jesus was the Son of God, yet he was willing to betray Him for thirty pieces of silver.

How could this be? We know that Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, and that God had made him a part of His plan for our redemption. God used His wickedness, but God did not make him wicked. So, with all that Judas knew, how could he betray the Son of God?

Judas is proof that an intellectual understanding of God and His word are not sufficient. Neither is it sufficient to come before Him regularly in church or in private prayer. It is not sufficient to be the recipient of the many blessings that God gives to us nor to give back to Him in the form of our time and services as pastor, music director, pianist, choir member, guitarist, Sunday school teacher, or treasurer.

If we do not receive knowledge with the willingness to be changed by it, if we do not come to Him in prayer with the desire to be changed by Him, if we do not receive His blessings with responsive hearts, and if we do not do His works with hearts that have been molded in His righteousness, we are all like Judas. We will each seek opportunity to sin.

Our salvation is not based on knowledge nor on works, but on the special work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and to remake us in His image. We have to stop coming to Him in prayer for the purpose of manipulating Him into giving us what we want and we must start coming to Him in order to be transformed into new creatures. It is essential that we lay down our lives for Him and take up our cross daily. Failure to do that makes us Judas' brothers and sisters. We betray Christ by selling our souls to the devil for a few tidbits of whatever worldly pleasures we happen to desire at the time.

Before The Throne:

What happened on September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington should be a warning to every Christian in the world. It is a call to repentance. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14) Humble yourself before God with open confession of your sins. Seek His face so that you might be transformed by the experience. Ask Him to help you to repent and commit yourself to living a new life, sanctified and righteous. Feel His presence and worship Him with all of your being.

For Further Study:

(v.14)
** one. Mr 14:10; Lu 22:3-6; Joh 13:2, 30; ** Judas. Mt 10:4; Joh 6:70-71; 18:2;

(v.15)
** What. Ge 38:16; Jud 16:5; 17:10; 18:19-20; Isa 56:11; 1Ti 3:3; 6:9-10; 2Pe 2:3, 14-15; ** thirty Ge 37:26-28; Zec 11:12-13; Mt 27:3-5; Ac 1:18;

(v.16) ** he. Mr 14:11; Lu 22:6;

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