The Pain of Knowing

Then Jesus replied,  “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve?  Yet one of you is a devil!”  (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray Him.)  John 6:70, 71.

 It must have been weird to know the identity of the very person who would betray Him to death.  How did He cope with the knowledge without letting the cat out of the bag…and more importantly, why would He take on the very type of man who would sign His death warrant?  It speaks to both Jesus’ character and dedication to His mission that He kept His enemy close.

At the same time I wonder if He didn’t harbor some hope of rescuing Judas from his own choices.  Peter denied Jesus, which in essence was a betrayal, though may be not as bad as Judas’ selling Him for a slave’s price.    Still, Judas holds a special place in history as a very evil man.  I don’t doubt he was in some way evil, but he couldn’t have been all bad because Jesus took him on as one of the Twelve, he performed miracles when Jesus sent out the 72 and participated in some of the other great moments in Jesus’ ministry.

Or did you think that God wouldn’t heal through a Judas?

God works through any vessel willing to be used by Him.  He used heathen kings, humble idolaters and weak willed men throughout the history of Scripture, so Judas would have been no exception.  I believe had Judas come to Christ in repentance and asked forgiveness, he would have received it and a different story would have been written.  Yet if the nails and thorns Jesus wore were due to my sin, then I betrayed Jesus just as badly as Judas.  Jesus prayed about Judas later in this book, speaking of him as “the one doomed to perdition” and fulfilling Scripture.  However, this fact doesn’t mean Judas couldn’t have turned around and been welcomed back, rather it speaks more to his own choice than God’s desire for him.

For a long time whenever I read John’s constant reminders that Judas betrayed his Master, I took it to mean John resented the man and was rubbing salt in the wound.  As I’ve read and reread the gospel, however, I get another point all together:  John wanted to emphasize Christ’s foreknowledge as God incarnate by constantly reminding his readers of Jesus’ awareness about Judas’ role in His upcoming death and resurrection.  The reason I don’t think there is any malice in John’s reminders is that he doesn’t rail against him or try to put him down outside of the truth about him.  One thread all the Bible writers have in common is they don’t shy away from the distasteful truth surrounding human nature—John is no exception.

Judas was a thief and betrayer, yes, but he was also one of the Twelve who performed miracles and preached the message of Christ.

What does it say about who we should be?

In another gospel the author quotes Jesus telling His followers not to worry about the weeds that grow among us for they are God’s worry not ours.  There are people we need to discipline in the church and some who will need to be excluded from fellowship for a time because of blatant sin, but we are not to worry about those who deceive us about their intentions.  We are live intentionally ourselves while not delving into those of others, it’s not our business.

I have lived worried about the hearts of others for a long time.  I concern myself with the intent of the other person because motivation speaks to their character.  I know this knowledge is something only God can know, and if He chooses to not act against these people, as in the case of Judas, then who am I to counter His wishes.  What is the result of pulling up the weeds?  Losing some of the good grain along with them.  It is only in the harvest that the sorting process can take place, which is God’s job alone.

My goal now is to worry less about the intentions of others and concern myself with growing my own heart and of those hearts who come under my influence to be more like the Master’s.  In other words, I want the intent of my heart to be like His.  Though Jesus might know the intent of the heart as in the case of Judas, I can’t, therefore if He, knowing who would betray Him, didn’t uproot Judas, who am I to uproot those I suspect of hypocrisy?

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One Response to “The Pain of Knowing”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    It also speaks to his foreknowledge of our sins and yet he awaits our response. Imagine knowing our kids are about to fall off a cliff, so to speak, and knowing the lesson will be far more important than the cuts and bruises they’ll sustain and the pain it will cause us to see it. One thing we know for sure. God isn’t a helicopter parent.

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