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Emails to God – Venial and Mortal Sins (Matthew 26:47-56)

03 May

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Dear God, I looked up several translations and all of them used the word “friend” in verse 50, so I assume that that is a good word for whatever the original text reads—“friend”. It would have been one thing if Jesus had said, “Do what you came for, Judas.” He could have called him any other name, frankly, but “friend” would had to have made a huge impact on Judas as Jesus said the word. I can only imagine the pain in Jesus’ eyes and voice when he said it. I can only imagine how Judas must have felt at that moment.

I heard a story yesterday about a politician who committed a little sin (Catholics would call it a venial sin), but then as things began to unravel he ended up committing some major sins, including lying to the FBI during their investigation and getting others to lie for him (we’ll call this the mortal sin). When it was all over he spent a year in federal prison.

My problem with dilineating between the two types of sin and not saying they are of equal offense to you is that the little sin that we justify to ourselves can, and will, often lead to the much larger sin, and, before we know it, things are out of control. Jesus addressed this in the sermon on the mount. He addressed it by saying that the lustful eye is as good as committing adultery. He said that hate is as equal to murder. Allowing the little sin into our heart will simply give the sin a place to grow. In Judas’ case, he allowed his frustration with Jesus to grow into a hatred for Jesus. Then his hatred combined with his greed and he ended up selling his allegiance and betraying the God of the universe who had called him “friend”.

Father, help me to live a pure life. The last week or so I have been walking around with this little check in my spirit, and I can’t figure out where it is coming from. I keep examining my life to see if there is something I am doing, or not doing, that is bothering my conscience. I can’t think of what it is, but there is something there. Please reveal whatever is haunting me to my conscious self so that I might deal with it, repent of it, if necessary, and move on in a right relationship with you. I don’t want to allow anything to grow in me that isn’t of you.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Matthew

 

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