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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Judas Didn't Get It

Luke 6:12-16 (ESV)
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Jesus prayed all night. He needed His Father's word and wisdom in choosing His disciples. They would become the apostles who would carry the message to the world. Among the group is one named Judas the only non-Galilean.

It doesn't amaze me that Judas was chosen even after Jesus prayed all night. The scriptures must be fulfilled and Judas' crime had been predicted. Did Jesus know that Judas would betray Him when He called him? I don't know but there is no indication that Jesus treated Judas any different. Jesus even made him the treasurer. Wouldn't Matthew, the tax collector who had always handled money, have been a better choice?

Judas saw the miracles that the other disciples saw. He heard the teaching. He knew Jesus personally and still didn't get it. He still didn't know who Jesus was. He was unchanged by Jesus after three years of listening to His teaching. He didn't understand even though he had been sent out to heal and cast out demons just like the other disciples.

My church is embarking on a new journey starting this next week. From March 12 until Easter we will have a daily time with God reading the same scriptures each day. Some of the people think this is an exercise to see how many will make all forty days. I personally don't care if any of them make the forty days. I know that there will be some who will read each day's assigned scripture, follow through completely in writing what it means, reporting to each other than it has been done and, yet, not be changed by the whole experience. They have done this as a challenge to be a part of the whole church rather than the opportunity to see the Savior. They won't realize one spiritual change in their lives.

Of course, there will also be those who are radically and wonderfully changed. They will never be the same. They will crave their daily time with God. They will be consumed in their spirits with the change the Lord is making in them.

The truth is that those who get nothing out of this may actually look better at doing it. They may set a time to have their daily time. They may write better sentences in what the scripture means. They may make all forty days while the person who gets the most from this experience may miss a few days.

The goal is to create an atmosphere in which God can change the lives of His people. However, I know that some people never breathe this atmosphere. They are immune to its affect.

You see, some people will come to church, hear the same sermon as others and walk out unchanged. Others in the same service will never be the same. Some can walk in the presence of Jesus for years and not be changed. Others are changed instantly when they first meet Him.

Judas didn't get it. Lots of others don't get it either.


Anthony Chia said...

This is a good entry, which can add to our understanding of how to view and handle situations with apparent “defects” in them, when we are really having an ideal God. Of course, what is ideal is elusive. Yah! One of the 12 was a traitor. How strange, the way thing went! Does it therefore mean God was the Traitor behind the traitor?! Or was it a case of “God makes lemonade when things turn sour”? Or was it a case of God using what was there, to work out His purpose? Or was it a pre-destination of God?

Firstly, was God the Traitor behind the traitor? James 1:13-15 talked about how a person falls to temptation and sin.

James 1:12-15 - 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

So, through lens of this James text, God wasn’t the Traitor behind the traitor.

Secondly, was it a case of God making lemonade when things turn sour? In this particular case, my view is that it probably was NOT the case or a good example. One would argue it is such case if the original plan of God did NOT have this betrayal, and out of the blue, Judas wanted to betray Jesus, and God made use of the betrayal. But OT does have prophecy of the betrayal of Jesus by a close ally, although the name or identity of the person was NOT clear. Prophecy did NOT name Judas; nonetheless, the betrayal of Jesus was a fulfilment of prophecy. These are some of the prophetic text, some of them were of dual-context prophecies (there was a near context and a far context [or prophecy] referred to):

1. Ps 41:9 - Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

Comment: This is a Psalm of David. The near context was the close friend referred to, was Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor (2 Sam 15:12). The far context or prophecy was that of the one of the disciples of Jesus would betray Him.

2. Ps 55:12-14 - 12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.

Comment: Here again, David was referring to one close to him, harming him.

3. Zec 11:12-13 - 12 I told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it." So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"--the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.

Comment: Matt 27:9 specifically tells us the action done by Judas (NOT necessarily, the person) was fulfilment of OT prophecy. However, it was written like this (Matt 27:9-10): “Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.””

Now, Jeremiah was named specifically, NOT Zechariah! It is about Zec 11:12-13 (I cannot go into all of that here). And so, there was a prophecy of right down to the 30 pieces of silver. Again, the Zechariah text was a dual-context prophetic text.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

And so, from the prophetic texts, we could see there was a predestined action of betrayal that was to take place. But Judas was NOT named. Could it have been Judas was the one, when the prophecy was given, or could it have been someone else, like Matthew, for example, who was a tax collector who would handle money. The only thing clear was that one of them, a close ally of Jesus would betray Him, and 30 pieces of silver was the price. So, with this, it was NOT really, thing went sour, for God, and then God made lemon juice out of the situation; it was expected already, the betrayal and “fixed” to the extent that, that betrayal action would take place; only who was the one, perhaps, was NOT cast in stone.

Now, we fast-forward, a few hundred years, to the night of the blog entry text (Luke 6), where it was recorded Jesus went to the mountain to pray. Now, you and I are to understand that up to that point in time, there were many disciples with Him; meaning many were following after Jesus, and it was after that prayer that Jesus picked the apostle-disciples (The Twelve Disciples or Apostle-Disciples). Could it have been a case of God made use of what was there, to fulfil His purpose, as I have asked at the outset of this comment? Yes, perhaps. From the Gospels, we know somehow these 12 were asked by Jesus to follow Him, but it was on this night that they were called to apostleship. So, was the traitor already fixed at this point in time?

I picture it this way: God the Father “gazed into the crystal ball” and looked at the life of the 12 until Jesus was crucified, and one of the 12 betrayed Jesus. Was it Judas Iscariot? Perhaps; perhaps, NOT! Remember, there was still some 3 years before Jesus was betrayed to the Cross. Might have been, the Father told Jesus, “Take these 12; as it now stands, one of them will betray you!” Or it could have been, “Take these 12; as it now stands, Judas Iscariot who I have included, he is the one, who will betray you.” Whichever the case, I say, the Father might have added, “The prophecy must be fulfilled; one close to you will betray you, but you know well”, and then quoting James 1:14-15, He said, “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Meaning? Perhaps, the Father indicated who the one (traitor) was, if that person continued unchanged by Jesus’ discipling. In other words, a chance was given to the one.

Say, for a moment it was Judas, if he changed, it would NOT be him; had Matthew, for example, did NOT change, he could be the one, instead; or when all 12 were truly transformed, then, the Father might have Jesus have someone else “join” Him, and then, subsequently betrayed Him. I believe there is real-time tweaking by God even as certain things are fixed by God because He had them prophesied already. Now, this is possibly one reason why there was no written record of any “discrimination” of Jesus on any of His disciples, NOT even on Judas, but one thing is clear when the hour has come, at the Last Supper, the Lord Jesus, knew the fate of Judas Iscariot was sealed. John 13:18-19, 21, 26 -

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ [Ps 41:9] 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

Indeed, finally, Judas Iscariot did NOT get it.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions