Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jesus Was Gracious to Judas

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He called him
And loved him
And taught him.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He trained him
And commissioned him
And sent him out to minister.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He honored him with the money bag
And with the morsel
And didn't embarrass him even as Judas left to betray him.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He warned him
And waited for him
And gave him every opportunity to repent.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot's son.
--John 13:26, HCSB

From the life of Judas Iscariot, we can conclude the following:
1. Even hearing the greatest teaching is not enough, without the new birth.
2. Even seeing the greatest miracles is not enough, without the new birth.
3. Even having the greatest example before us is not enough, without the new birth.
4. Even being active in Jesus' work is not enough, without the new birth.
5. The Lord knows from the beginning who are his, but just as the 11 did not suspect Judas, so we are imperfect in determining the spiritual condition of others.
6. When people are treacherous toward us, we must seek to be like Jesus: gracious, but speaking the truth.
7. The many, many people who must have been blessed through Judas--receiving good news, receiving healing, having demons cast out, having alms given--must have received a genuine blessing, even though the messenger was false. A wonderful ministry is no guarantee that the minister is really saved. Conversely, when a minister proves false, it is no indication that the blessings received through that minister were false.
8. Jesus' gracious treatment of Judas, even though he knew from the beginning that Judas would betray him, shows the glorious perfection of Jesus and the moral bankruptcy of Judas.

NOTE: For the basic idea behind this poem and for most of the eight points that follow, I'm indebted to my pastor, Richard C. Caldwell, Jr.


BunnyGirl said...

It's funny, I often felt sorry for Judas. Someone had to betray Jesus so he could go to the cross so someone was going to be out of favour with God and it was Judas. It's one of those topics I get very confused on. Thought-provoking post, Jim.

Travels With Uncle Sam said...

New here, hope it is ok if I comment. Just because God fore-knew that there would be a betrayer, doesn't mean that He caused Judas to betray. Jesus warned Judas (by announcing that the one who sopped bread with Him would betray Him), but Judas did not heed the warning. Judas had a God-given free will and could have chosen not to betray Him, just like he could have repented after the deed and obtained forgiveness.

Travels With Uncle Sam said...

Oops, forgot this thought: "having fore-knowledge" does not mean "to cause".

Jim Swindle said...

Welcome, "Travels." Thanks for your comments. I agree with most of what you said, though not quite all. The Bible doesn't explicitly say that man has free will, so I avoid saying it.

I believe it's beyond us to reconcile God's predestination with man's responsibility, but we experience both. I don't think it was necessary for the Father to cause Judas to betray Jesus. He merely didn't prevent it. All of us, if left to our sins, will betray Jesus in many ways. It's only the Lord's grace that causes any of us to turn from sin to Jesus in truth.

Do comment again, on this or on other posts here.

Travels With Uncle Sam said...

Yes, you are right that God didn't stop him. You are right, too, that God doesn't have to cause us to do wrong.