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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



Jim Poage asks, "Did you hear about the new crossover artist who combines country music with rap?  His stage name is Hot Diggity Dogg" (Reader's Digest, 11/03, p 104). You won't get that joke unless you have heard of the famed (or infamous) rap singer Snoop Doggie Dog. "Crossover artist" is a term used to identify popular performers in one genre of music who "cross-over" or release recordings in another genre. Amy Grant, Faith Hill and Shania Twain have all been referred to as "crossover artists" because they had hit songs on the pop charts as well as having huge success in the gospel and country music fields Crossover artists are sometimes controversial. They are loved by those who enjoy their voices/music no matter what kind of songs they sing. But when they "crossover" they are sometimes accused of abandoning their roots and the fans who helped create their initial success.

Mark 14:10-11 describes what could be called the original crossover controversy: "Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they y heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him."  Judas Iscariot was a member of an elite group of people. To use Mark's phrase, he was "one of the twelve." For three years Judas walked, talked, and enjoyed a level of fellowship and intimacy with Jesus unknown to any other on earth except the eleven other original apostles. As if to emphasize the point, the Holy Spirit identifies Judas in the gospel accounts as "one of the twelve " at least seven times (Matthew 26:14, 47; Mark 14:10, 20, 43; Luke 22:47; John 6:71). But Judas crossed over. From the apostleship he crossed over to apostasy. From being in Jesus' most trusted circle, he crossed over and became a traitor. Judas will always be remembered as "Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him" (Mark 3:19).

Judas teaches us an important spiritual lesson to follow Jesus part of the way, or even most of the way, is not enough. Although Judas followed Jesus for three years, he crossed over to those who opposed the Lord only a few hours before the cross. Like Judas, there are people today who enjoy close proximity to Christ and His disciples. People who seem to be "insiders," people who apparently follow Christ, yet never completely and totally embrace the teachings, values, and priorities of Christ. There are still those who follow Jesus to a point, but then betray Him when the cross looms near. Will you follow Christ all the way to the cross, or cross over to those who find His cross too heavy to bear?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ