I heard the sermon almost forty years ago but remember it like it was yesterday. It was certainly not original with the young Bible student who preached the message, but the main point has stuck with me all these years. As the Christmas season approaches, this just might be the right time to share this truth with you.
The title of that message comes from two New Testament verses. Jesus said these words in John 10:7: “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep” (NIV). By this, He was saying that He is the only path to heaven. There is no other route. John 14:6 couldn’t be clearer in expressing the same truth of this first verse in the sermon: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
The other verse in the sermon refers to a scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, the location where Judas betrayed Jesus. “Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him” (Matthew 26:49).
The main point of the message is straightforward. Though Judas was one of the original twelve disciples, he chose to betray the Lord. He literally kissed the door to heaven and yet missed eternity with God.
Many questions and a lot of “What ifs?” have been raised by Judas’ decision. How could Judas have followed Jesus for almost three years, heard His teaching, witnessed miracles, and observed Jesus up close—and then choose to betray the Lord? I don’t know. But I do know that the consequences of that final choice were eternal.
So, what’s the point? Why bring this up as Christmas draws near? I see a parallel between Judas’ attitude toward Jesus and much that surrounds the Christmas season in our nation. Christmas has become so commercialized that we’ve almost taken Christ out of Christmas. In the midst of all the shopping, the parades, the parties, the commercials, the songs, the food, and so many other trappings, it’s easy to miss the point—Christmas is a celebration of the day God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to save us from our sins.
Judas threw away his opportunity to be rescued from his sins and to spend eternity in heaven with his Savior. During three years at Jesus’ side, he came so close to the truth. But in the end, he missed heaven. We’re still talking about it today.
Here’s a question for you that is relevant every day of the year, but should come into sharper focus at Christmas—what decision have you made about Jesus? His invitation to you is unwavering.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Jesus is still seeking entrance into human hearts. Have you let him in?