On April 30 on morning service in “Philadelphia” church in Izhevsk the congregation congratulated young family of Denis and Dina Anisimovs on birth of their daughter, and on the afternoon service the church had a chance to bless the family of Maxim and Alina Akhmetovs on birth of their daughter.

Senior pastor Pavel Zhelnovakov offered to think about the person of Judas Iscariot. Who was he? Was his betrayal of Jesus Christ predetermined by his destiny, or was it his conscious act? The pastor offered to sort those difficult questions out by carefully studying Bible texts. Betrayal has penetrated all spheres of our life, including state, business, family, friendship and unfortunately relationship with God, as we see in the example with Judas. It is important to understand how Judas became a betrayer and what formed that decision in him to think whether we stand on that dangerous path ourselves. Basing on Bible texts the pastor mentioned main reasons in Judas’s heart for betrayal: refusal to trust Christ and His mission (Luke 4:16-22), refusal from prayer and sober mind and heart (Mathew 26:41), neglect of conscience and principles of faith (1 Timothy 1:18-20), seduction (1 Timothy 4:1). Although Judas was one of Jesus’s disciples who saw His miracles and to whom Jesus gave the power over evil spirits (Mathew 10:1-3), it was difficult for him to understand Christ who asked to trust Him (Mathew 10:9-10). Judas could not understand the woman who broke the vessel with precious oil and who poured it on Christ's feet (John 12:3-8). From the gospels we find out that Judas was a thief and he took money from the offerings (John 12:6), that is why he wanted to sell the oil and to have something from it in his pocket. From Jesus’s reaction we see that He noticed the act of the woman and said nothing against it. Judas realized that there was no benefit to be with Jesus, which finalized apostasy and betrayal in him.

In our times devil is doing everything to make betrayal a part of every sphere of life so that we can look around and realize that everybody lives like that. In conclusion the pastor made a point that Judas did not want to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow Him” (Mark 8:34) but he loved money more but the Scripture states clearly that ”the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil» (1 Timothy 6:10). Today our actions can be dictated by our wish for better life, but which decision will we take when we realize that they are in conflict with God’s will?

Alisa Zorkina


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