Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose Judas Iscariot as one of his twelve disciples? After all, he did sell Him out for 30 pieces of silver, which in turn led to His death on the cross. I’m sure Christ lovingly hoped Judas would change. But in the end, he refused, and ended up accomplishing Gods plan anyhow. Christ, knowing all this in advance, still allowed Judas to be one of his twelve. So I have to wonder, could their be more of a purpose for Judas? I mean, he was one of those closest to him, he ate with him, sat with him, he was taught by him, allowed to see miracles and wonders first hand. He was even allowed to be one of the close friends of Jesus. Yet all along he was stealing from the treasuries, and Jesus knew it. Could it be that Christ was teaching his disciples some very important things through this Judas character? Things that he is even teaching us today?
I can’t help but wonder if Christ all along was teaching us to love those who betray and persecute us, from first hand experience. After all this was spoken of in many of Jesus’ messages to us.
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
This is exactly how Christ treated Judas, he loved him, no conditions attached. He cared for him, prayed for him, and treated him with respect, while all along knowing what he would eventually do. Image knowing in advance one of your closest friends was going to betray you in some major way. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut and chances are I wouldn’t have even ignited the relationship in the first place, I would just avoid them all together. Yet Christ, knowing all things, allowed Judas in his midst and loved him.
Shouldn’t we, like Christ, take on a similar attitude and love those who have or are betraying us? If there is someone today who has betrayed you in some way, think of what Jesus has done, forgive that person, and love them in spite of their mishap.
Maybe this isn’t the only lesson Jesus wanted to teach us through Judas. Maybe he wanted to also teach us how easy it was going to be for the church to be infiltrated by those who claim they are with us, yet are not. Just like Judas. He was one of the twelve, yet in heart, he was never a real follower of Jesus. But the shocking part is the disciples didn’t even realize Judas’ true heart. In fact, they were astonished when they found out it was him. For no one had suspected it. So too it is with the church today. Many do not recognized deceivers in their midst.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
The Bible tells us here that their are many wolves prancing around acting like sheep. Just as Judas did. I believe Jesus was sending us a message of just how easy it would be for such people to invade the church. If they were in the innermost circle of our Lord, then how much more should we be on the lookout for such people. People who outwardly act like Christians, but inwardly they are not.
In the generation we live in many people in leadership positions have done heinous sins, such as, money laundering, adultery, or homosexuality It’s a sad truth, but its all around us. Most Christians can name at least one, if not two, people in the church who have left to continue such things. Others in the church who are wolves, do things on a more quite level. Under the radar sort of thing. They speak ‘Christianize’ yet they party and encourage sins of gossip and slander, to name a few. The fact is it happens, but I’m here to tell you not to let such people lead you astray. Jesus, nor the disciples, were led astray by Judas betrayal. So please don’t let a ‘Judas’ change your view of what Christianity really is. Just because someone says they are a ‘Christian’ doesn’t mean they are.
One other thing we can draw from Judas is just how cunning and deceiving the enemy can be. If Satan was able to deceive one of those closest to Jesus, how much more than, can one of us be led astray?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Be prepared for the deception that is coming your way. Christ has warned you in advance that Satan and his minions would come, so prepare yourself. Read his Word, pray, worship, have a relationship with Him, and be on guard from the enemy. But here’s the great news. There were twelve disciples and I can assure you that Satan tried to get each of them to turn their backs on Jesus. In the end, eleven prevailed and only one was lead astray. Have faith, for if you are a true believer, then you have nothing to fear, for God is on your side.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
There are many lessons to be learned even from the vilest of people, Judas Iscariot. So today, lets love those who persecute us, be on guard for those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and be aware of the deceptive plans on the enemy.
Love you all!