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The ACTS Files – Fulfilling the scripture regarding Judas – Acts 1:15-20

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The ACTS Files – Fulfilling the scripture regarding Judas – Acts 1:15-20 – 12/07/2015

This is a series in the Book of Acts which looks to visit the text from the Book of Acts on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Acts, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Acts 1:15 (ESV) In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’

We see in the articles that are written regarding the Acts of the Apostles that they were very dynamic in what they did for the Lord and I believe that this is because they followed Christ’s instruction and went to where they were meant to be, they were told to go to Jerusalem and await the Spirit helper. It seems like such a simple instruction but when we ponder the bible we realize that man’s separation from God in the first place was the failure to follow a simple instruction in the Garden of Eden.

The disciples and brothers, all 120 of them had gathered and this was truly the beginning of people showing great spiritual growth and maturity and we read of the first one which was Peter. Peter that a few months earlier couldn’t even admit that he knew Jesus took a leadership role. Those of you who judge Peter harshly may scoff that this is hardly surprising as Peter spoke up often to Jesus and usually in a boastful or prideful manner, but this was different.

Peter was a transformed man, he knew that Jesus was the real deal; he had held the nail pierced hands, had seen the wounds on his body and was an eyewitness that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. He had matured more in that short period of time than he did in three years of intensive discipleship with Jesus. What he said showed the maturity that I speak of…

V16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”

Peter states that Judas did not get in the way of God’s plan for Jesus life, he helped fulfil it! That to me is mind blowing and this is before the disciples speak out at Pentecost so the religious leaders will be assuming that this whole “Jesus thing” is going to die down and that they can get back to being perceived as the holy ones, yes there is a damaging rumor going round that he rose again but that will die down in time, let’s get ready to celebrate Pentecost…

We will cover Pentecost if the Lord wills if I get as far as Acts 2, which was a public declaration of what I am typing about today Peter is standing up in from of fellow believers today but when the time is correct he will put himself in harm’s way and complete the transformation that was the dynamic apostle who was so pivotal in evangelizing the Jewish believing world.

Luke tells us in narrative what happened to Judas…

V18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

Now we know from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 27 the following scripture regarding Judas and what happened after Jesus was delivered to Pilate and Judas knew at that point he had condemned an innocent man to death…

Matthew 27:3 (ESV) Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

And Luke finishes this narrative in Acts that Judas did hang himself but his cause of death was when he fell headlong that his inside burst out and that is why the field was known as the field of blood. And Judas was condemned to be buried among the strangers, which was a big deal to the Jewish people of that day that they had in advance burial places.

Lastly Peter shows great maturity by quoting scripture to show why they had to replace Judas.

V20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’

Peter was not saying that they could not have done the mission with only 11, but that the scripture stated that he must have another take his office. This tells me that Peter was seeking what the Lord wanted as opposed to a personal preference and he did scripture to show that he was on the right track. When we align our will with God’s will according to correctly applied scripture then we will know that we are doing the will of God in our lives. Peter was certainly on the right track and if the Lord wills we will see who replaces Judas Iscariot in the next article in the book of Acts. In case you are interested he quoted Psalm 69:25 and 109:8.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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The ACTS Files – The beginning of the mission – The disciples look to replace Judas Iscariot

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The ACTS Files – The beginning of the mission – The disciples look to replace Judas Iscariot – Monday 11/23/2015

This is a series in the Book of Acts which looks to visit the text from the Book of Acts on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Acts, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Acts 1:12 (ESV) Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

When we last looked in on the disciples Jesus had just ascended into heaven and Luke spares no details to advise that the historical account picks up exactly when that finishes. We see this in the location that they returned from the mount and they travelled back to Jerusalem which was a short distance away as it is described as a “Sabbath day’s journey away” being still in the Jewish culture they would not be permitted to take certain elongated journeys that would involve a work like endurance.

You also have to remember that these guys are not rich guys and often times walked everywhere so that again would reduce the distance as they would not be on any mode of transportation and there is no boat mentioned so you would have to assume that they went by land and walked.

Obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ

We could learn something from the disciples obedience here because by doing so they followed Jesus words when he said in the last article…

Acts 1:8 (ESV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

And they went where the lord had told them to go (Jerusalem) as soon as he ascended to heaven. We also could learn something about their desire to get on mission right away, how often have you dear Christian procrastinated even although you knew the Lord was pointing you clearly to go in a certain direction. I know I have and I have lamented over my actions when I have thought about it. These disciples knew that Jesus was who he said he was, no longer were these men quiet followers but they were maturing into the trailblazers they were going to be.

They also knew that they had to be in Jerusalem because that is where the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them, and sometimes our obedience to God would be as simple as being ready, willing and available to be in the right place at the right time in order to be used by God.

They went together

Christianity is not meant to be a solo sport and often times God gives you people who are on the same mission as you to co-labor with and this is no different. The thing that strikes me about this passage is that they were all in this together. The common faith or common bond that they shared knowing that Jesus was in fact the Messiah united them and gave them a unity that pastors for years have tried to replicate.

The fact that they were in one accord and on the same mission allowed them to be mobilized in great numbers (we read in verse 15 in the next article we do in this series that the number was 120) and the God we serve is a big God, he can work in a small number or large, but we as humans do sometimes require validation that we are on the right path and as it states in Proverbs 27 that iron sharpens iron and I know the blessing and the benefit of having people who are on the same mission as me being able to mentor me and conversely I have had the benefit of being used in others’ lives to help them maintain a closeness in their relationship with Jesus.

For me this was like the “perfect church” a family of families that were on mission together and moved together as one to move the needle and show the love of Jesus to a world that thought they had crucified Jesus. Today we could learn so much from this in our churches today, I am not going to blast todays church but even myself as the most ardent defender of the church system we have today, we could do so much better to utilize people and have everyone involved using the gifts that God has given them.

They were ready for the Holy Spirit

These were not the disciples of when Jesus was alive, Peter had a hugely humbling experience of running his mouth saying he would die with the Lord and then being humbled a few hours later by denying him three times. There was no arguing or bickering over who was number one in the group and who should sit where in paradise.

What was different? Was Matthew any less the Roman collaborator? Was Simon any less of a Zealot? Was Peter any less a sufferer of “foot in mouth” disease? No, however they had seen the risen Lord, they had confirmation in their eyes and hearts as a personal living witness that Jesus had done what he said he was going to do and risen from the dead!

Again we could learn so much here about our assemblies today, I am sure there are people who meet with me on a Sunday that are more conservative theologically than I am, some could be replacement theologist, some could be Calvinist, some could be more Pentecostal than me but these are not what bind us as brothers and sisters, it is our common faith that Jesus is our Messiah.

They prepared in prayer

Like I said previously, they were in one accord and devoted themselves to prayer, they knew the climate outside, the Romans were still in charge, the Jewish leaders were not going to like their message and they tried to crucify Jesus for that message so what would they do to them?

They strengthened themselves in the same way that Christ did the night he was betrayed in Gethsemane, we read the following in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 26…

Matthew 26:36 (ESV) Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

What an example given directly from Jesus through his disciples to us and it is as relevant today as it was then. We will go through things that we will not be able to handle and challenges that we will have to tap into the fount of eternal wisdom, James chapter 1 tells us where we get wisdom from…

James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

If we require something to do the will of God he will supply it for us, we do however have to have faith. The disciples prayed in faith in the upper room that night and we read on in the next article of our Book of Acts series what happens next. I prefer to do it to the best of my ability and leave the results up to God.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Fourteen – December 14th

Thank you for reading our fourteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Yesterday we looked at the prophecy that the messianic was going to be betrayed,  from the scriptures that we read we discovered that the betrayer was one of Jesus hand picked disciples called Judas Iscariot. 

The prophecy spoke that the messiah would be betrayed, it also spoke of a potters field being bought for that same price, a slaves price of 30 pieces of silver. Let’s look again at the verse in Zechariah.

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Let’s catch up with Judas

Judas is a troubled soul at this point, he took the money and betrayed the messiah. Let’s look at the verses that conform the prophecy in the twenty seventh chapter if the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 27:3 (ESV)  Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Whatever you win, whatever you lose

Verse three reminds me of the song by the British rock band called “Status Quo” called “Whatever you want” which has the lyrics…

“Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice
Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose”

Remorse or repentance?

We read that when “Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders” he seems more concerned with the consequences of his actions than the actual sin itself. Some translations have the word as “remorseful” this tells it’s own story.

His heart was guilty on what he had done, that is remorse as opposed to repentance.  He acted next out if self guilt, this is where sin turns to tragedy.

Judas the nobody

Judas really was a nobody until Jesus selected him, he had three years of being in the Inner sanctum of the messiah’s teaching, saw many miracles and heard Godly teaching direct from God himself and he still missed the point.

Judas was also keen for the mission to be accepted by men and the times we hear him speaking up were on the ways Jesus was different to the other holy leaders.

Judas suffered from wanting to be associated with the Godly things but perhaps not be holy himself. He solicited the people he looked up to (for he religious leaders) and tried to find a way in by being useful to them.

He also did this at a price. Judas wanted to he his being regarded as a partner in this enterprise. I have no idea what Judas thought was going to happen but I bet he did not think it would escalate as quickly as it did.

Atonement or regret?

We could finish the article there and it would be sufficient. However we read that Judas tries to undo the wrong by paying the money back. Perhaps in atonement but mainly in regret.

I have been there,  been rescued from my bad decisions but still had consequences due to my sins, I am overweight due to previous bad good and health choices,  I have been poor due to bad lending decisions in the past and had to pay back instead of build wealth. I am sure we all can think of ways we have been delivered but still had consequences.

Holy reasoning

He used the holy law to try to return the money. He wanted to give the money back saying it was wrong for him to take it, obviously Jesus captors had no interest either way whether Judas profited from his crime or not, they already had what they wanted.

Judas, even after all this actually tells the truth about Jesus “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” this shows me two things.

1) His remorseful heart – Judas of a week ago would have turned this into profit by having his testimony bought.
2) The profound effect that Jesus must have had on him, that he could not slander him and declared that the charges against him (Jesus) were false.

Judas at no point accused Christ of anything, when he betrayed him his question was “what’s the price to deliver him?” Not at any point was there a discussion regarding the guilt of Christ. (That did not exist)

Obviously he panics when he realizes what has been put in motion cannot be stopped, he tosses the money on the floor and comes to a sad end.

Judas sad demise

Judas goes and do what desperate people do, come to a desperate end. Between here (verse 5) and Acts 1:16-19 we get exactly what happened to him, let’s read what Peter says in Acts 1:16-19.

Acts 1:16 (ESV) Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

So he hangs himself, eventually either by decomposition or gravity taking hold the hung body falls from the tree and bursts open. They were in a Jewish holy time so I doubt anyone would defile themselves by handling a dead body so he could have been up there in the baking sun for several days. 

The field of blood

Aptly named huh? Sin always has it’s end results and this is unlike any other. Judas is recorded as being remembered to this day and having property named after him. I bet that it was not what he wanted to be known or remembered for.

The compound interest of sin

Judas caught himself in sin, he chose not to repent and compounded sin upon sin. He never resolved the issue with God and became that anguished that he ended up taking his own life when he tried to reconcile a load that he was never designed to bear.

Sin is like a high interest loan from a loan shark. Once you cash out,  you may the balance and then much more. Often times sin compounds on sin and this is eloquently shown in this passage of scripture.

One of my first jobs as an adult was working in a bank and the idea of compund interest is that you earn interest on the interest on the borrowing, sin rarely pays back like for like.

Two deaths, two different outcomes

Two people in this section of scripture died this weekend, both had starkly different outcomes

1) Judas – died in his sins by his own hand with no peace with God.  Eternally he is separated from God.

Judas to me is an example that even if you are not following God,  he can still use you to fulfill the plan of God. The same could be said for the Pharisees and the Romans.

2) Jesus – died for the sins of the world a sinless, blameless man, at perfect peace with God. Rose again three days later and now eternally with God.

We all are going to end up either with or without God for eternity. Which outcome do you choose?

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Thirteen – December 13th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Thirteen – December 13th.

Thank you for reading our sixteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

This is a very hard article to write, the first twelve articles have been nice and easy to write as they have been about the birth and young life of the messiah, and now we will be look at his adult life, death and resurrection.

What makes this hard is that we know that Jesus hand-picked twelve men to disciple and feed into during his ministry time on earth. Today’s prophesy deals with the prediction that one of his trusted twelve will betray him. Let’s look at Psalm 41…

Psalm 41:9 (ESV) Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

This verse is quoted in the Gospel of John chapter thirteen:

John 13:18 (ESV) I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

We could close the article there and say “that proves it” but that has never been my style. I love that in the verse in Isaiah he speaks of his own circumstances before and after this verse and this small pearl of prophecy is hidden and spoken by our LORD to verify the validity of the prophecy. I think it is awesome and I am blown away by the inerrancy and infallibility of the bible.

In the passage in John, Jesus had just finished washing the disciple’s feet and had sat down to his final meal prior to the crucifixion that we now know as “The last supper”. Can you imagine the sorrow in his heart as he knows already that one of the twelve that he had chosen (v18) that he had washed his feet and that he was sharing a meal with had already taken money to send him to his death.

Don’t think for a second that Jesus was not tight with Judas, if you did a report card of the disciples Judas would score high. He said the right things, he looked after the money and he seemed like one of the most solid of them all. He had 3 years of training with the greatest biblical teacher the world has ever known and when it came down to it, Judas sold out his friend for a few silver coins.

Knowing Jesus, his troubled soul was not for himself, but compassion on his friend. The phrase “lifting up his heel” and “betray me” have similar meanings. He knew that the man sitting within touching distance was the one who was a fulfilled prophecy in the worst possible way. We read further prophecy in the book of Zechariah in chapter eleven…

Zechariah 11:12 (ESV) Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.

Interestingly in the book of Zechariah, we have the price of the transaction which was thirty pieces of silver. This was the price of a slave. I find it remarkable that Judas could have sold out someone who was his kin for at least three years for the price of someone who you would buy to work in your field or vineyard. Such a small price for such a large amount of sin.

Because that is the point of all this. Jesus knew he was coming to this world to sacrifice and be a ransom for many. He knew that he would be doing this for those who would accept and those who would reject him. Not everyone would take him up on his offer.

A wee parable if you will indulge me…

I am a book guy, biographies, history and theology is my preferred reading materials, and recently I was gifted over 150 books, I was blessed because I took that person up on their offer. Now having those books in my possession will not make me more historically or theologically aware unless I actually pick them up and read them.

That is what it is like with Christianity, simply knowing about Jesus love for us and knowing that he died for us is practically useless unless you make your own individual commitment. You have to open that book and learn to live the life that God intended for you.  Don’t take that silver and sell out your savior, let’s look at how this all happened in the twenty sixth chapter of the book of Matthew…

Matthew 26:14 (ESV) Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

This is heartbreaking but glorious at the same time. This guy was hand-picked by Jesus, he served with him, saw miracles, saw dead raised, lame healed and the blind saw in his presence. He saw more than we would in ten lifetimes.

God used him to betray Jesus. Judas made that decision all by himself, he used his free will to ask that question “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” and those who wanted rid of Jesus offered him a slaves wages and Judas accepted the price.

Judas was paid on the spot (verse 15) and he began looking for an opportunity to betray the LORD. A lot has been made of Judas repenting after the fact and throwing the money down in the temple. These verses share with us that there was a time elapse between Judas being paid and Judas betraying Jesus. He had opportunity before the money became “blood money” to return it but he chose financial gain over spiritual.

Tomorrow we will look further at Judas (LORD Willing) and what happened afterwards.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE