The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. (John 13:2)
In Hebrew, he was known as the “man from Kerioth,” Thus, the label “Iscariot” after the name “Judas.” He became famous as one of the 12 chosen Disciples of the Son of God on earth. Now, he is infamous. He turned traitor. We can speculate about the cause of the fall of Judas. We know that he lived a life of deception. He was respected and trusted as the holder of the Disciples’ treasury. But he was a thief.
What other deceptions did he live under? Had he only pretended to accept Jesus as leader and Savior all along? Or did the bright bloom of faith finally fade in the shadows of growing doubt? We can only guess. We are given one clue, however. We are told the devil was the one prompting him to commit both physical and spiritual suicide. That makes us nervous.
We are familiar with this devil. We know his record. We have seen the wrecks he has made of human lives. Judas is just one within a long list of his victims. But worst of all, we have detected his presence in our own lives. We are willing to submit to medical tests because we know that if a disease is detected early, there is a much better chance it will not kill us. Prompt treatment is critical. We will cut out cancer cells, or kill them off with radiation or chemicals. We will not tolerate their presence. If they return, we will attack them again.
Satan is a greater danger. We dare not allow his influence to grow within us. His alliance with our sinful nature is deadly. He must be stopped. How can we do this?
The Bible says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) As Jesus once said, we cannot serve two masters. Submitting to God enables us to resist Satan—and that causes him to run from us.
Judas should have remembered that. So should we. Our Christian Baptism stands as our special reminder. Some might recall the words memorized as youngsters: “Baptism means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily contrition and repentance…” Sorrow over sin. Turning away from sin to godliness. This stunts demonic growth. The threat to our soul demands repeated attention and ongoing spiritual treatment. At one’s Baptism the question is sometimes asked: “Do you renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways?”
There is only one answer for the child of God. “I do!”
We affirm our faith with the words of the hymn:
God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any. That brought me salvation free, lasting to eternity. Death you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized onto Christ! When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise! Though I lie in dust and ashes, faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military