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What Judas Taught Me About Life & Ministry

by Stan Rodda: Something really interesting jumped out at me as I was reading Matthew 10 the other day. The first four verses of that chapter stood out to me unlike ever before and God showed me something I need to think more about. He drew my attention to finishing well in life and ministry through one name, Judas Iscariot.

Summoning His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas an dMatthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. [Matthew 10:1-4 CSB]

This is super cool. The disciples were given authority and power, to cast out demons, to heal every affliction, sickness and disease. How powerful is that? What would it have been like to experience that? And those that were chosen to bear this authority and power, are listed by name. And the very last name listed struck me; Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Maybe I’ve never thought about this before. Maybe I’ve just forgotten. Judas was given the power and authority to cast out demons, cleanse lepers and heal the sick. He was a part of the miraculous alongside the other disciples and Jesus Himself. For years he walked in this circle. And I thought to myself, “How did it get to the place where he kills himself?” How does a guy like that with power and authority end up betraying Jesus and hanging himself in a field, dying alone.

The thought occurred to me that Judas simply didn’t finish well. Maybe it was the pride of a man that made him feel that he could never fall. Maybe there was more to it than that. But the reality is that Judas was a man, just like me. He was human, just like all of us. And it can be very easy to look down on him for what he did, but there is a certain reality to all of this.

Father, may I never become so prideful that I think I’m above Judas. That I’m above finishing well.

I’m no better than Judas. I have the same capacity of Judas to come up short in the end. To not show up when I should have. I have the same capacity to not end well in my parenting. I have the same capacity to not end well in my marriage if I don’t pay attention. I’m not above the sin of pride and not finishing my life and ministry well. I’m not above ending poorly in my finances.

Maybe you find yourself in a place like that right now.

1. Your Marriage

Maybe your marriage has been lifeless for decades. Finishing well is the humility to admit you need a counselor. That professional help may be the only thing that saves your marriage.

2. Your Parenting

Maybe you only have a couple months left with a Senior who is graduating soon. But this year you don’t get to finish the way you thought because graduation parties and prom are cancelled. Finishing well with them may look like confronting past mistakes before they leave the house and head to college. How do you finish well as a mom or dad in the last couple months before your child leaves the house.

3. Your Ministry

Maybe you are in a ministry that makes you feel like you’re drowning. I have been there and it’s not easy. Maybe God is beginning to release you from that place, but you still have to finish. Finishing well looks a lot like humility, to let pains and hurts go that need to be let go. Forgiving when it’s difficult. Your biggest call and act of obedience right now in ministry may simply be, “Finish well.”

May I encourage you as you strive to finish well in your season of life.

Pursue Humility Like Your Life Depended On It

Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death. [Philippians 2:5, 8 CSB]

Jesus, may I become more like you. Obedient to death. Finishing well. Have the humility to admit that I don’t have all the answers. I’m no better than Judas. I’m no better than Thomas who doubted. I’m no better than Peter who denied. I’m not above them. I have the same capacity to sin and for pride to keep me from finishing well as any other believer in history. Father, give me humility to realize I have the same capacity as these people.

The humility to admit I need counseling.

The humility to admit I need accountability.

The humility to admit I need coaching.

Pursue Jesus Like Your Life Depended On It

I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. [John 15:5 CSB]

Are you caring for your time with Christ? Are you daily connecting with Him in Scripture and prayer? Not the kind where you’re really trying to finish a sermon, training or class. Not that kind. The kind where you are completely open and truthful with King Jesus! Where you open yourself up to obedience and transformation. Jesus, what do you have for me in Scripture today? How may I obey you today?

King Jesus, draw near to me as I draw near to You! I am desperate without You. I can do NOTHING without you. You are my entire life!

If you’re struggling to finish well in a season of life and don’t have anyone to talk to, please reach out. We all need community and accountability to finish well in life. May God grant each of us the humility to finish well.

Let’s take Kingdom territory!

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