Saturday, July 24, 2010

Diamonds In The Rough (2008) "Walk"

[Originally by Pantera]
As performed by A7X

Can't you see I'm easily bothered by persistence
One step from lashing out at you...
You want in to get under my skin
And call yourself a friend
I've got more friends like you
What do I do?

Is there no standard anymore?
What it takes, who I am, where I've been belong
You can't be something you're not
Be yourself, by yourself
Stay away from me
A lesson learned in life
Known from the dawn of time

Respect, walk
What did you say?
Respect, walk
Are you talking to me?

Are you talking to me?

Run your mouth when I'm not around
It's easy to achieve
You cry to weak friends that sympathize
Can you hear the violins playing your song?
Those same friends tell me your every word


[Chorus x2]

Are you talking to me?
No way, punk!

[Chorus x2]

Are you talking to me?
Walk on home, boy

One fan thinks "this song is about dealing with people who are fake they are pretending to be something they aren't Trying way to hard to make it look like they are your friend and then they turn around and say sh*t behind your back... and how they aren't going to take that persons crap!!!" Another fan thinks it's "about people who tell you how to live your life, but have no experience to back it up."

Betrayal seems to be a returning theme in A7X's work, whether in their own songs, or in this piece, originally by Pantera. A sense of being betrayed is possibly the worst of all human emotions; it's a wound that runs so deep that sometimes people can't seem to get over it. The jilted lover, the cuckolded spouse, the best friend's heel, when you thought someone had your back and then you find their knife sticking out of your back...Double crossers are pretty low, even among those who live low.

It's am awful thing to be betrayed. But what if you're the one who did the betraying? What if this song could have been written about you? What do you do about that? So you try to rationalize it? Justify it? Minimize it? Deny it? What does that do to you, inside?

The Bible gives an inside view of one betrayer's heart; Judas.

Judas Iscariot. His name always ends up at the end of the lists of disciples' names (Peter, Andrew, James and John always end up in the front).

The amazing thing about Judas is that he was one of the chosen twelve. In Luke’s gospel Jesus spent all night praying, then specially selected Judas along with the others. He loved Judas, taught him, gave him the same authority and privilege of all the rest of His disciples. When Jesus sent the other disciples out, He sent Judas out, too, with the same power to cast our demons and to heal the sick. Jesus even gave Judas the trusted position of treasurer, and Judas embezzled from their common bag on a regular basis.

Everyone thought Judas loved Jesus like they did. Not a single person suspected what was going on in Judas' heart, not even the day Mary, Martha's sister, poured a very expensive perfume on Jesus' head as an act of love for Him.

Judas, a man driven by greed, was not impressed with this scene, or the aroma filling the house. All he could think of was the enormous amount of money that had been lost, money he could have skimmed off a handsome sum from for himself. A loving heart gives while a darkened heart keeps for itself. Judas’ growing resentment, disrespect for Jesus and greed, all came bubbling up on that day as he yelled at Mary for being so wasteful with money that could have been spent on the poor.

He sounded so pious, didn’t he? It’s amazing how you and I can think up such good reasons to cover what are often selfish, self-centered motives. Why had Mary wasted this expensive item? Think of the poor families who could have benefitted, especially now, during Passover. The other disciples also criticized her. What was she thinking? How could God possibly approve of such thoughtlessness.

The other disciples admired Judas. They had no idea that he stole from them, or that he had been preparing to stab Jesus in the back. Until the very end, they thought Judas was a devoted follower of the Lord.

But Jesus knew Judas’ heart. He knew Judas didn’t respect Him, and was stealing regularly from Him. But He loved Judas to the end, a love Judas never responded to. This event was the trigger that sent Judas to the high priest Caiaphas to betray Jesus.

On the night Judas betrayed Jesus, we find out that these men were exhausted with sorrow, tired after a long and emotionally eventful day. They had just finished their last meal together, where Jesus had shocked them by stripping down and washing their feet. There was so much more He had to tell them, but it was almost more than they could bear, they were on overload.

As Jesus thought about what was to come, He was moved by an overflowing love for all of His disciples. In these next few hours He intended to show the full extent of His love for them.

He was aware of the invisible, spiritual forces of the kingdom of darkness at work all around them.] He knew that Satan was bringing about a crisis, and that his catalyst was going to be Judas, one the Lord’s own disciples. Judas had continued on a willful pattern of deception, greed and self-serving decisions. The devil had many inroads into Judas’ heart. That’s what sin does, if you and I allow it to take root in our hearts. We progressively give Satan footholds in our minds so that he can insert suggestions that will be welcomed; you and I can find ourselves betraying the very things we’ve told ourselves we believe in.

When He washed Hs disciples' feet, Jesus showed a progression to true joy: Humbleness, holiness then happiness. Humble to allow yourself to have your feet washed by your Lord, holiness in being made cleaned, happiness in living out Jesus’ example by washing the feet of others and allowing them to wash your feet too.

Not everyone was going to understand this path to joy, Jesus said, just the ones He had chosen. One of them was going to choose a different path. Judas did not have to be a traitor. Every step of the way, he was free to make a moral choice between good and evil. From the very beginning Jesus had chosen him along with the others to come be his student, and Judas had said yes. But even though Judas followed Jesus, and looked like the devoted disciple, he never believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

When you look back through the gospels, you can see all the teaching Judas heard about Satan, the father of lies, who is a murderer. Judas heard Jesus’ many interchanges with the Pharisees, warning them about hypocrisy, about refusing to believe, about dishonoring God by dishonoring Him. Judas went along with the other disciples to spread the gospel, heal people, raise the dead and cast out demons.

What did he think about all that? Jesus even trusted Judas with the community purse. Judas had a great reputation as a disciple of Jesus. He had done great things already, and even held a lot of responsibility among Jesus’ followers. But in Judas' heart, Jesus was not Lord.

Judas was not doomed to be a traitor. He chose to be one, and because God is sovereign, He prophesied that it would be so (through King David, in Psalm 13), and now, a thousand years later, instead of Judas’ undermining the other disciples’ faith, Jesus strengthened their faith by saying it’s okay. Even this is under God’s control.

After saying all this, Jesus was troubled in His spirit as Satan was there among the disciples, exerting his influence on Judas. The Lord openly stated what was about to happen.

The disciples were shocked, asking each other who it could be, maybe even themselves. Peter was so agitated, he leaned over the table to John to ask him to find out who it was, so John leaned against Jesus and asked. No one even suspected it would be Judas, and Jesus had never let on, never exposed him, until tonight when Jesus said "I will dip this piece of bread in the sauce and give it to the one I was talking about." Then Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As Jesus gave him the bread, Judas whispered, “Is it me?” And Jesus answered back, “Yes, it’s you.”

It was his last chance to turn back from his plan, but each little decision to steal their money, to resist Jesus’ teaching, to be critical and disappointed, to side with the religious rulers all led up to the one big decision, and Satan with all his darkness entered Judas. Satan can be resisted, but Judas didn’t resist. Satan can’t enter anyone who already is filled with the life of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, and protected by faith. But Judas had no faith.

Judas refused to admit to his ambition - this whole talk of humble service was repellant to Judas, the opposite of what he was looking for. He did not take the warning seriously that by loving his life he would lose it. It wasn’t until this point that Jesus gave up on Judas, but now He quickly sent Judas away so that the rest of Jesus’ time could be used well with those who loved Him.

He had called three of them, Peter, John and James, to move in close with Him as He prayed, and told them it would be for their own protection. Jesus explained that they would need to be fortified for the demands of what would soon happen. Events would unfold whether they were ready or not. As it turns out, the disciples did not pray, they fell asleep instead, and when events did unfold they weren’t ready.

Judas knew where to find the place because they’d often gone there. The Passover always fell on the full moon, so it was very light outside. Because the soldiers had torches on a night of the full moon indicates that they were preparing for a search.

Jesus had entered the garden with a heavy heart. He was so troubled and full of sorrow that it felt like dying on the inside. So He prayed, and kept praying, until He had prayed through all His anguish, received the Father’s strengthening and encouragement, and found that deep peace of surrender. Perfect timing, Jesus knew that Judas and the arresting officers had arrived, so He woke His disciples just as they entered the clearing.

The word John used for “band” actually means a cohort of soldiers, which numbered from 200 to 600 men. They came expecting a fight, because that’s how it often was for Pilate with the Jewish people, especially during the Passover. In fact, it was against the law to carry a weapon during the Passover time.

The chief priests had quickly thrown together a warrant, but they were concerned that Jesus, with all His power and His followers, would put up a big fight. During the Passover, Pilate would have been expected to be in Jerusalem to keep order. As governor of Judea, Pilate would have had soldiers stationed regularly in Caesarea and Jerusalem, such as the Antonia Fortress, and temporarily anywhere else that might require a military presence.

Since the main Roman fortress was right next to the temple, and since the Romans routinely stationed a cohort of soldiers there during the Passover, the chief priests may have included the Roman captain and some of his soldiers, along with the temple guard.

Judas' arrangement with the chief priests had been to find a workable time to seize Jesus – when He would be away from crowds of people to protect Him, out in the open, alone, instead of in a house or in town, where He could hide or escape. Judas' arrangement with the captain was to kiss the man the soldiers were supposed to arrest. This wasn't anything weird. To this day it is the Mediterranean custom for men to greet each other with a kiss to each cheek, and if they are close, to give each other three kisses or so.

The gospel of Matthew indicates that Judas first took the soldiers to the house where Jesus had been eating dinner with the disciples, the house Judas had left a couple of hours earlier. After speaking with Mark, who lived there, Judas then led the band of soldiers to Gethsemane.

They had been expecting a search and a fight, Jesus had many supporters, and Passover was already a tense time for Jewish-Roman relations. What they didn’t expect was Jesus to step forward and willingly, calmly present Himself. It so startled them that they stepped back and fell over each other.

John gives us a hint as to why Judas would have kissed Jesus anyway, even when He stepped forward. In his gospel he identified Thomas as “The Twin.” It’s possible that Thomas looked so much like Jesus that it was hard for people to tell them apart. With the disciples now crowded around the Lord, Judas may have chosen that moment to step forward and give the signal of his kiss.

The gospel accounts indicate that Judas gave Jesus lots of kisses, a warm and affectionate greeting. Maybe he was trying to make the disciples think he was still one of them. Maybe he was trying make Jesus think that he was actually coming to warn Him, or something. But Jesus looked straight into his soul and called him friend, asking him if he would you betray his Messiah with pretended devotion? Those words exposed the truth about Judas. His self-pretense had been stripped away, and all that was left was the truth. He was a hypocrite, a traitor to everything good and beautiful, he had cheapened Jesus’ love for him, he was a self-centered and hardened man.

Often you and I might try to hide the truth from ourselves, because we can't stand to think that we're really capable of something base and wrong. What have you been trying to hide from yourself? Cover your bases? Is there something that you've done, or said, or be secretly cherishing that you know is wrong, or that has been making you feel bad inside. Your relationship with Jesus is going to determine how you handle the realization of your own guilt.

Judas had sold Jesus for the price of a slave, then spent the night agonizing over what he had done. By early morning he had returned to the temple in time to see the official trial and sentencing of Jesus. As Matthew recorded it in his gosepl, once Judas realized that Jesus was condemned to die,

"He was sorry for what he had done. He returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and leaders and said, 'I have sinned by betraying a man who has never done anything wrong.'

"'So what? That's your problem,' they replied.

He had wanted to undo what he’d done. But the terrible thing about sin is you and I can’t turn the clock back. We can’t undo what we’ve said or done. You can only move forward, you can’t go back.

Judas discovered something else about sin. The very thing he thought he would gain from it now disgusted and revolted him. So often people sin because they think that if they can just get that forbidden thing, whatever it takes, whatever it is – a love affair, material things, money, power, influence, pleasure, a certain position at work, or in the community, it will make them happy. But sin poisons what it touches,
"Judas threw the money into the temple and then went out and hanged himself."

Judas had grown more and more disappointed in the kind of Messiah Jesus was turning out to be. He wanted to see Israel established as a world power, Jesus on his throne, and Judas right next to him with wealth and a crown. In his disappointment he had begun to embezzle from the disciples’ communal purse. Jesus’ rebuke had stung his pride, and the Bible says he fell under Satan’s influence.

What a terrible wrong he did. But pride kept him from repenting. His pride was so tightly fastened to his soul, and his lack of faith in Jesus, his lack of belief, and his lack of humility, that he would rather part with his life than ask forgiveness of his Savior.

Remorse may feel like repentance, and doing penance may feel like repentance, but it’s not. Repentance means you radically, profoundly change by turning way from the old and entering into the new. Remorse and penance are just attempts to pay for the sin, emotionally and materially, without in any way changing things, so that you will very likely do the same thing again in the future. Distress that drives us to God turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We should never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets.

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