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Insider Trading

Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis used satire to give a comical portrayal of insider trading in the 1983 film Trading Places.  Four years later, Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen and Daryl Hannah starred in Wall Street, an Oliver Stone drama depicting the greed of a corporate executive, Gordon Gekko, seeking to gain wealth through insider trading.  Today, rumors of insider trading continue to swell as individuals put aside integrity for the temptation of striking it rich.

Such is the case of a first century man whose position and social status opened the door for compromise.  For Judas Iscariot, his career was promising, chosen to be one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, Matthew 10:4.  While not given the honor of being part of Jesus’ inner circle like Peter, James and John, Mark 9:2-9, Judas did receive special authority to preach and drive out demons, Mark 3:14-15.  John 12:4-6 reveals that Judas was also given the special responsibility of treasurer, overseeing the money given to Jesus’ ministry.  As the keeper of the money bag, Judas’ role likely included taking care of meals, traveling and any other expenses accrued during Jesus’ 3 year ministry on earth.

When you read Mark 14:10-11, there is much more beneath the surface to explain Judas’ betrayal, insider trading and subsequent suicide.  This is where you enter into uncharted territory, as the Bible is silent on this matter.  Thus, the only hope to reach a conclusion is to try to uncover the vast clues left behind by scripture.

Theories about Judas Iscariot’s Betrayal:

1) Jesus was hard on his disciples, verbalizing his disappointment due to their lack of faith, Mark 8:21.

2) Maybe Judas was sensitive, eventually becoming a disgruntled servant after the incident in John 12:4-6, thinking he wasn’t appreciated or paid enough to continue following Jesus.

3) It’s possible that Jesus tirade in Mark 12:17 was the last straw, likely embarrassing people Judas knew.

4) Jesus messages on being rich offended Judas, Matthew 6:19-24, especially Jesus’ words to the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-25.

5) Judas thought Jesus would be an earthly king, raising to power as a ruler over Jerusalem, likely the same reason Peter turns from a fighter in Matthew 26:51 into a wimp moments later, Matthew 26:75.

Although, one of these may not be the exact reason for Judas’ betrayal, there is one thing Judas lacked.  Instead of entering into a personal relationship with Jesus like Nicodemus does at the end of his life, John 20:39-40, Judas remained an outsider spiritually.  In the process of accumulating wealth, Judas forfeited his soul, Matthew 16:26.  As Easter Sunday 2013 quickly approaches, make room in your heart for Jesus, by letting God into your life, Revelation 3:19-20.

by Jay Mankus

Mere Images

The expression “you are what you eat” is nothing new.  Nor is practice what you preach.  However, the prophet Hosea brought me something fresh and poignant this morning.  According to Hosea 9:10, you become a mere image of that which you worship.

If you study time management theories, you will stumble across the Pyramid Theory, which attempts to break each day into 24 one hour time slots.  Since the average individual sleeps roughly 8 hours a day, every person has 16 hours to invest their time.  If work consumes another 8-10 hours per day, people may only have 6 hours for their own personal use.  Thus, how you treat these precious hours will reveal your character, interests and priorities.

Israel had wasted their free time indulging in self gratifying practices during the days of Hosea.  This decision caused most of the Jews to become like grapes rotting in the desert heat.  As a result, their hearts shifted toward corruption, radically transforming their lives.  Instead of dedicating their bodies to the God of Abraham, most desecrated their flesh to shameful idols.  Looking into a mirror, their witness became just as vile as the images they worshiped.

Today, golden calves have been replaced by the internet, television and twitter.  While Jesus calls people to go into the world to tell others what God has done for you, Mark 5:19, the real question is, are you living in this world or of the world?  When people look into your day planner, where are you investing your time?  Do people see Jesus living in you or in something else center stage?  May the month of March serve as a transition, a restoration project to erase sin from your life by allowing Abba Father, to mold and shape you into the precious image of Jesus his son, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

by Jay Mankus

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