Scripture Text: John 13:10c-11 and other passages  Title: Bad Pick?

Question of the Day: Would you purposely choose an enemy to serve beside you?

Suppose you were a pastor of a medium sized church or a leader of a Biblically based ministry and you were to be involved in picking a group of deacons (or elders) to serve with you, would you purposely pick one who you knew beforehand would everything he could to destroy what God had called you to do, would you pick that man to serve with you? Why not! Jesus did! This is the profound insight that Jesus had. Now we know that Jesus did it to fulfill Scripture, but there were other bumps in the road where Judas was involved in trying to stop or slow down what Jesus was doing. Still the question remains: why would He specifically chose Judas? What was to be gained by that?

Let’s look at several texts in the gospels that mentions Judas: Matthew 10:4 tells us that Jesus called the twelve to Himself and give them power over demonic spirits and power to heal sickness and disease and sent them out, and then names them and Matthew added last on the list, ‘Judas Iscariot, who also would betray Him.’ Mark 3:14-19 tells us that when the disciples were listed, Judas was always last. It also mentioned the fact that after they went into a house after the twelve had been called. Luke 6:12-16 tells us that before Jesus chose the twelve that He prayed all night to God before He made the choice.

But it was John who mentioned Judas the most: it seems to have bothered John the most that one of them, one of the twelve closest followers of Jesus would betray Him; in chapter 6:70-71, near the middle of Jesus’ ministry, John recorded a comment by Jesus that He knew that Judas was a devil and that he would eventually betray the Lord; in chapter 12:1-8 Judas is indignant that the precious costly perfume was “wasted” on Jesus, that he openly fussed about it, that he was the group’s treasurer and used to pilfer the money he was entrusted with, and that Jesus rebuked him for being so indignant; in chapter 13:2-30 John tells us that Judas had already made his decision to betray the Lord before the supper, that he was one of the disciples who had their feet washed by the Model Servant, that it bothered Jesus very deeply to have to identify the betrayer, that after he was given the piece of bread, Satan entered him and Jesus urged him to do quickly his dastardly deed, that when the bread was given, none of the disciples realized at that time what had just happened and they thought that he had been instructed to get something for the feast or give something to the poor, and that after he had received the bread, he immediately left the room and that it was at night when he left; and finally in chapter 18:1-5 Judas is mentioned in the garden because it was then that the disciples realized who the betrayer was.

Then at the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane we learn this about Judas: in Matthew 26:14-16 he initiated the contact with the chief priest and told them he could deliver Jesus to them, so what would they give him? They agreed on thirty pieces of silver and from then on he was looking for an opportunity to carry out the dastardly deed. Matthew also tells us that at the Passover meal that Judas asked the Lord, Master is it I? And the Lord replied, “You said it!” Then in Matthew 26:47—50 we are told that Judas came with a mob with a well armed mob and gave the signal: “…the one I walk up to and kiss, that is He, so arrest Him.” Then he walked up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Master, and he kissed Him,” and Jesus replied, “Friend, why are you the one to come?”, and then they arrested Him. Later on in Matthew 27:1-5 it is recorded that Judas felt remorse when he realized he was condemned and went out and hanged himself after casting the blood money in the temple. (Many of these same details are repeated in the other gospels.)

Mark doesn’t add any significant details, but Luke 22:3-6 tells us that Judas promised to betray Jesus to them when there wasn’t a crowd gathered (because the chief priests feared the crowd and their mob mentality). Later on in verses 21-24 Jesus gave a stern warning to Judas before he did his dastardly deed. (This is also corroborated by several other gospel writers.) Jesus was giving Judas a final chance to repent before it was too late and the dastardly deed was done.

What can we learn from the life of Judas and his relationship with Jesus? Jesus called him a “friend”, and yet even the closest of friends can turn on us. It reveals to us the wicked heart of man and how evil it is. Jesus was determined to fulfill Scripture—even though it cost Him His life. John and the rest of the disciples were stunned when it was Judas who returned with a well armed mob to arrest Jesus. We may be surprised like they were when Scripture is fulfilled right in front of our eyes, and that is why, if needed be, we could and would choose someone like Judas—even though we knew it would cost us.

Prayer: Lord, we know that Your number one purpose here on earth was to fulfill the Father’s will and to fulfill Scripture. Teach us the concentration on Your Word so fully that we are determined to fulfill the Father’s will for our lives and to be part of that great army of saints who are fulfilling Scripture. To that end we give ourselves fully. Amen!