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From Mere Existence to New Life

I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise
Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22:8-9,17-20,23-24; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 22:14-23:56

Sermon Week Passion Sunday Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 23:43

The story is told of a man who dreamed that he saw Our Lord tied to a whipping post while a soldier scourged Him unmercifully. He saw the whip in the soldier ’s hand, its thick cords studded with pieces of lead which cut into the flesh with each blow. As the cruel whip came down on Jesus’ back, the horrified dreamer shuddered to see the bloody welts appear. Finally, the man could stand it no longer. As the soldier raised his arm and prepared to strike again, the dreamer rushed forward intending to grab the soldier from behind and restrain him. After which, the soldier turned around, and the dreamer recognized himself.

Have you ever wondered what kind of man Judas was? Have you ever wondered what he looked like, who his friends were, what his personality was like? He has been pictured, mostly as a wiry, beady-eyed, sinister-looking fellow -- distant from the other Apostles -- isolated. Did you ever wonder if the real Judas fit this familiar stereotype? The popular author, Max Lucado, has written a book -1 in which he wonders about all this. "That stereotype," he says, "I wonder if this is true"...

We have no evidence (except Judas's silence) that would suggest that he was isolated. At the Last Supper, when Jesus said that His betrayer sat at the table, we don't find the Apostles immediately turning to Judas as the logical traitor. Luke tells us that when Jesus told the Apostles that one of them would betray Him, "they began to ask one another which of them it could be who was to do this thing" (Lk 22:23).

Maybe we've got Judas pegged wrong. Instead of sly and wiry, perhaps he was robust and jovial. Instead of quiet and introverted, perhaps he was outgoing and well-meaning. We don't know, really. But for all the things we don't know about Judas, this we do know: he had seen Jesus, but he did not know Him. He had heard Jesus, but he did not understand Him. He had a religion but not a relationship.

As Satan [...]

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