Who Was Judas Iscariot?

Today I’m sharing from Overview Bible.

Who Was Judas Iscariot?
The Beginner’s Guide

By

Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus Christ. He infamously betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, which lead to his death on the cross. Today, “Judas” is virtually synonymous for “traitor.”

Among the disciples, Judas was the official treasurer, and he was apparently pretty shady even before he made his big debut as the worst person in history. (He stole money.) Despite that, Judas was a fairly conflicted person. He tried to return the 30 pieces of silver, and according to the Gospel of Matthew, he hanged himself not long after betraying Jesus.

Judas appears in several New Testament stories, and while the Gospel writers are in unanimous agreement that he betrayed Jesus, they present various takes on his motives and the circumstances surrounding his death.

So what else do we really know about Judas? For starters, here are the quick facts.

Read the rest here.

Our Suffering Savior: A Physician’s Perspective

Today I’m sharing from Answers in Genesis

Our Suffering Savior

A Physician’s Perspective

During the Easter season, we usually hear again the stories of the Passion Week and the Crucifixion—Jesus’s betrayal by Judas, His unfair trial, the road to Calvary, Jesus’s last words. We also sing about the Old Rugged Cross. But few look beyond these stories to consider what our Lord Jesus Christ actually endured during those hours on the cross. Unlike first-century Christians, for whom crucifixion was a familiar reality, most of us have a sanitized view of our Lord’s suffering.

The physical suffering that Jesus willingly endured was beyond horrific. To better understand the extent of His suffering is to get a glimpse of His love for us.

In the Garden

The suffering began soon after the Last Supper when Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Knowing that the time of His death was near, Jesus prayed intently. According to Luke 22:44, “Being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Medical literature documents that bloody sweat, known as hematidrosis, does occur. This condition is seen in rare instances of extreme emotional stress. The resulting blood loss is not severe, but it does cause the skin to be exquisitely tender, making what was to come even more painful.

During His Trials

After these hours of emotional distress in the garden, Jesus was betrayed and arrested. His captors mocked and beat Him after He faced the Sanhedrin and the Roman authorities. He was ultimately sentenced to crucifixion on a cross.

Before sentencing Jesus to death, Pilate attempted to appease the Jews by having Him beaten. John 19:1 notes, “So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.” However, this brief description does not communicate the brutal nature of what was to follow.

Scourging was a particularly vicious form of punishment. The victim was stripped of his clothes, and his hands were raised above his head and tied to a post. Then one or two soldiers would repeatedly beat the victim with a whip, usually made of several leather strips with jagged pieces of iron or sheep bone tied onto them.

One blow after another was delivered across the shoulders, back, and buttocks. Initial blows ripped gashes into His already tender skin, and those that followed dug deeper into our Savior’s tissues, tearing muscles and blood vessels. The subsequent blood loss further weakened Him. Torn and exposed nerves on the back caused indescribable pain.

This brutal scourging was only the beginning of Jesus’s suffering. After being untied from the blood-stained scourging post, the soldiers placed a scarlet robe on Him. Each breath, each movement of His body, caused the robe to rub against His torn flesh. Then a crown of thorns was placed on His head. As the trained Roman soldiers beat Him, these thorns drove deeper into His head, causing profuse bleeding and intense pain. Later, the scarlet robe was torn from His back, reopening the deep wounds.

How horrible was Jesus’s suffering at this point? Isaiah 52:14 says, “Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” Jesus had been so severely beaten, He no longer looked like a human being.

Read the rest here.

Red Stained Purity

I have not taken the time recently to thank Patricia Knight for contributing so well to my blog. Her devotionals are very well written and I love her insights. I especially appreciate the way she weaves Old Testament with New Testament passages together to tell her stories. 

Thank you so much, Pat, for blessing us with the gift of your writing!

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What embodies more potential for beautiful memories, reflects a significant investment, and is absolutely dazzling in pure white?

A wedding gown.  Brides-to-be typically spend many hours shopping for their unique gown, the one dress they’ve dreamed about for years. Prior to the wedding, the bride protects her gown from prying eyes and from damage.

Imagine the reactions of horror when red wine splashes on the front of the pure white gown the afternoon before a candlelight ceremony. Red, indelible stains on pure white; a shocking contrast.

There’s no way to effectively remove dark stains on white satin and lace. The gown is ruined. Panic erupts throughout the wedding party. Every bride seeks perfection for her wedding day. And yet, her gown of choice must be sacrificed until an appropriate substitute is found a few hours before the wedding.

Jesus left His glory and His throne in heaven where He was one with His heavenly Father, both of whom participated in every aspect of creation, to be incarnated a man on earth. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the purest person who ever lived. He is God. He is radiant and unblemished, flawless and undefiled.

Wherever He taught on earth, Jesus lived the way He preached. Motives for His actions were holy. His heart was pure from lack of sin. As pure white as new-fallen snow, Jesus  glistens as a pearl inside an oyster shell; as unblemished as a newborn baby’s skin, as brilliant as bolts of lightning flashing against an ebony sky. There is nothing on earth with which to compare Jesus’ purity, for He is heaven-sent.

In the Old Testament, God’s temple laws required specific unblemished animals to be sacrificially offered regularly for individual sins. Spilled blood was God’s requirement to atone for sin. The animal must be perfect, neither spotted in color or physically defective. For centuries the covenant of sacrificing animals was performed by priests to redeem the people’s sin. Though it wasn’t the optimum system, it was God’s approved method until the promised Messiah, His only Son, was born on earth as the ultimate sacrifice for man’s sin, a permanent solution for the ages.

As long ago as 600 B.C., the prophet Isaiah foretold Jesus’ impending sacrifice.

As the Messiah Jesus would shed His blood to forgive our sins.

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Isaiah provided a figurative account of the consequence of forgiveness: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). The offer of forgiveness is conditioned upon belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, necessitating a change of heart and lifestyle to conform to our Savior’s humble, loving ways.

Death by Roman crucifixion was agonizing and atrocious, but no one has ever suffered on the cross as Jesus did.  In addition to the horrific physical torture and pain, Jesus bore the sins of all people from the past, present, and future generations of the world. A perfect sacrifice for our sins, Jesus was pristine, pure, and sinless.

His life for ours, for people of all time;
Jesus, the guiltless one for the guilty,

the sinless one for the sinner.
 

As Jesus bled and died, He did so that we may live a spiritually victorious life. Three days later Jesus arose from the grave, conquering sin forever. 

To man, sin may seem inconsequential, but God hates all sin. Sin creates a great and awful chasm between God and man. During crucifixion, blood streaming down Jesus’ perfect body was a vivid contrast to His innocent life, staining His unblemished body, and redeeming the sins of believers forever.  Our sin cost God His very best, His own Son. Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice required by the justice of God if man was to be saved from his sins.

We are so precious to God, He offered the ultimate sacrifice—His only Son—to redeem our sins. Our Savior’s blood gushed from His wounds to stain a perfect, lily-white life without sins, to save the multitudes. Beyond the physical torture, Jesus assumed our burden of guilt bearing down on His already tormented body. The Roman officers dishonored our Lord’s innocence by striking and spitting in His face, verbally taunting Him, pulling his beard, and grinding a wreath of thorns down over His forehead. His back was flogged, shredding the skin that was pressed against the rough timber of the cross. By the time He reached the top of Golgotha hill, Jesus could barely walk. His body was weakened, dehydrated, bleeding, and mangled, already suffering greatly before He was nailed to the cross.

Jesus’ glory will never fade; His power will never deplete. But His love will become ever more endearing. Jesus commanded us, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6: 20-21). Jesus commands us to consider our priorities on earth in view of life after death.

Like wedding vows, Jesus represents purity, a major investment for the future, and a decision that will change the course of a persons’ life. There the similarities end.  Christ is our living Savior, Lord, and King, who loves us, died and rose again to redeem us from our sins, providing the only means to secure life eternal in heaven.  What is your individual response to such a love-saturated, free gift that entitles each believer to fellowship with our Savior in heaven for an eternity?

Some brides pay exorbitant amounts for a perfect wedding gown. However, one drop of our Savior’s blood is more magnificent than the most exquisite gown intricately embellished with glittering diamonds.

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God Loves You This Much

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GOOD Friday?

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Have you ever wondered why the day Jesus Christ died such a horrible death is called GOOD Friday? Doesn’t it seem as if this should be the blackest day in history? What can possibly be GOOD about it?

Beloved, Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be put to death so that we might live with Him for eternity! This is why this day is commemorated as a GOOD day. We are all born as sinners and there is no way we can get to heaven apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ’s death on that cross at Calvary. That one death paid the price for us to have the opportunity to be in heaven when we die.

All you need to do is:

  • ADMIT that you are a sinner (we ALL are!)
  • BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died to pay for our sin penalty
  • CONFESS and repent of your sins and fully acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of your life.

Yes, we should mourn the death of Jesus Christ because He endured so much on our behalf. But even more, we should celebrate this day as the beginning of mankind’s chance to share in the intimate fellowship with Jesus forever!

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You can read more about how to ask Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of your life on my A…B…C page. Or, if you’d rather, please contact me at annap at annapopescu dot com. I would love to share this Good News with you and walk with you through the A-B-C’s.

AnnaSmile