Friday, July 08, 2011

Long Story, Short - July 8, 2011

you named your baby what?

A child arrived in the usual way the other day. What was unusual is that his parents accepted $15,000.00 for the naming rights to their son.

The name? GoldenPalace. com. Yes, that’s the boy’s first name.

Even more stupefying is that he’s not the first child to be named thusly. The online casino has been buying up odd things like naming rights to babies, tattoos on people’s bodies, and even paid $40,000.00 for a box of Justin Beiber’s hair.

You might scoff, as I did, but one thing’s for sure. The child’s future will definitely be influenced by his name, and in many ways in his destiny will be co-opted by the naming rights. You might even say he is predestined. Who names their kid “GoldenPalace. com?”

Or Judas. Who would name their kid that?

Judas was a righteous name

It’s likely that Judas Iscariot’s parents hoped to script for their son a glorious life, but the name became synonymous with “traitor” when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to the Jewish officials in exchange for 30 pieces of silver. Formerly the name Judas was a valiant, heroic one among the Jewish people. Now the word Judas evokes strong and violent images of betrayal, suicide, even the phrase “son of perdition.”

Despite the noble heritage of his name Judas played against the script, choosing to exert his will over Jesus, attempting to usurp the power of God, and manipulating the Jesus movement for his own causes and reasons. We know things didn’t work out so well for Judas, but a question remains stuck in my craw: Did Judas really have a choice? After all, the Gospel of John records in Jesus’ prayer a reference to Judas as “one destined to be lost.” (17.12).

the big question for this week

Did Judas betray Jesus of his own free will? Or did he do it because it was destined from the beginning of time? It’s a question you’ve asked and it’s a part of the sermon series for July based on questions you, the members of FBC Gaithersburg, have asked. I hope you’ll join us for worship this weekend to explore this tough question and ponder our own freedoms before God’s providences.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Gary

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