Followers

Friday, April 19, 2019

CONTEMPLATING JUDAS



There are many things in scripture I don’t understand, and so, I skim over them, or I set them aside until I have a reason to dig. Today is a day for digging.

I love Moody Radio – WCRF – 103.3 or 90.5 on the FM dial. In the past few weeks, Pastor Colin Smith of Unlocking the Bible has been reading from his new book, Heaven, So Near – So Far. It’s the story of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.

These readings intrigued me because in January I thought quite a bit about Judas. Why? I was preparing the communion service for our Women in Ministry (WIM) Retreat, based on Luke 7:36-50. Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, at the home of Simon, the Pharisee, a woman, plagued by many sins, poured a fragrant and very expensive oil, Spikenard, on the feet of Jesus.

In my studies, I found John’s gospel confirms four times that Judas was the son of Simon.[1] Some have suggested the Pharisee in Luke was Simon Iscariot. Still, Scripture mentions another Simon, a healed leper, who was present when a second Spikenard anointing occurred.[2]

Now, if Judas’ father was a Pharisee, it might give us insight as to his motivation for betrayal. Nevertheless, Scripture is not clear whether Judas’ father was Simon, the Pharisee, or Simon, the Leper. Perhaps it was another Simon, even though some have suggested the two Simons mentioned are the same person.

Interesting things to consider, but they are not the reason I’m writing.

Pastor Colin made a statement in his characterization of Judas I needed to ponder. He proposed Judas had an opportunity to repent prior to betrayal. My question was, did he?

I searched the Scriptures, thought about our Triune God, His prophecy, and the Plan He established before He laid the foundation of the world.[3] I’m not sure I’ve come up with an answer, but maybe you’d like to mull it over while I present some evidence.

The first thing that came to mind was the prophecy stating a friend would betray Jesus.[4] Judas, of course, was one of the twelve. Second, Jesus, in His prayer to the Father, said He kept all His disciples and lost none, except the son of perdition, aka Judas. And why? That Scripture might be fulfilled.[5] Later, “…concerning Judas…” Peter said the same, “…Scripture had to be fulfilled…”[6]

On the one hand, we have Scripture that MUST be fulfilled, and on the other hand, the will of God that NONE should perish, but that all should come to repentance.[7] Such a dilemma!

The third thing I remembered was how the Lord handled Pharaoh in the book of Exodus. Before and after Moses went back to Egypt to lead the Israelites out, God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart.[8] However, other scriptures state Pharaoh hardened his own heart.[9]

Is this what happened in Judas’s case? Maybe. Still, Jesus knew when he chose Judas, he was a devil.[10] And He stated it would have been better if Judas had never been born.[11]

The truth is I don’t have an answer, at least not one I’m willing to verbalize because the answer I feel is correct is too difficult. So, I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusion.

For me, I’m not going to contemplate Judas anymore. I’m just going to thank Jesus profusely, for dying in my place, taking my sin upon His body, and for allowing me to repent and receive His Gift of eternal life. This, my friends, is the BEST thought to contemplate, not just this week, but every day of our lives.

Have a blessed Resurrection Day!



[1] John 6:71; John 12:4; John 13:2, 26
[2] Mark 14:3
[3] I Peter 1:18-20
[4] Psalm 41:9, Mark 14:18-21
[5] John 17:11-12
[6] Acts 1:16
[7] II Peter 3:9
[8] Exodus 4:21; Exodus 10:1; Exodus 11:10
[9] Exodus 8:15, 32; Exodus 9:34
[10] John 6:64-71
[11] Mark 14:21

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