Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/12/16 – 569 – Jesus Calls His First Disciples
Saturday I said that we don’t have specifics about Jesus calling the rest of the men we think of as the original 12 disciples, and that is true. However, there is one man whose name stands out among the others, and without his help, Jesus’ story on earth would not have been complete. So, we really have to take a look at him before we move on, I think. That man was called Judas Iscariat. Judas was the treasurer of the group, the money man. He carried the money box and made sure the bills were paid. But there was a problem, one which should make us sit up and really take notice, as too many of us are prone to fall into the same trap! That is, even though he was with Jesus 24/7 for 3 years it didn’t affect him spiritually. Not one lick.
Why? Because he wasn’t in it for the right reasons. He didn’t really want to change. Like James and John, he saw Jesus as a means to power. The Messiah the Jews were expecting never came. Instead of a conquering king on a huge white stallion, they got a suffering servant on a donkey colt. Another fairly obvious reason that Judas was in it was for the money. Oh, there wasn’t a lot during the earthly ministry, but he was certainly looking for the big pay-off at the end.
That’s why he was so upset when Lazarus’ sister Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with oil from her alabaster jar. He said he wanted to sell the perfume and give the money to the poor, but the truth was really that he just wanted to sell it and skim the profits for himself. When things got tough, he didn’t wait to be approached. He went to the chief priests and struck a deal, intending to salvage something for his 3-year investment – rather than walk away empty-handed or worse.
Why should Judas be so all-fired important to us? After all, we wouldn’t betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, would we? Or would we? How many of us have walked away from Him for a chance at overtime, soccer club for our kids or a new relationship? How many professed ‘Christians’ these days have become involved with unbelievers (couched nicely these days as ‘non-churchgoers’), and traded our relationship with God for the earthly one?
In fact, how many of us have walked away simply because things got rough, someone got sick, or times were bad? Jesus knows we will fail, but gives us a chance anyway. In John 6, there is talk about many of Jesus’ disciples leaving Him after He told them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to be a part of the kingdom.
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
So why would he allow this, knowing how it would end? I can think of 2 reasons. First, the prophesies in scripture had to be fulfilled.
Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.
“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.’
The second reason is one I cite fairly often. He always gives us as many chances as possible to repent and turn back to him. I know there are those that disagree, but here it is. If God’s grace knows no bounds, then even Judas could have been forgiven!
This is a wonderful thing for us though, isn’t it? Why? Because there really is so much of Judas in all of us! Jesus knows this, and chooses us anyway. He knows us, and gives us another chance anyway.
Never forget that at the heart of our sin nature lies self-centeredness. When we allow what we want to trump what Jesus wants for us, sin wins. It’s that simple. Our will versus His.
Whose will you allow to win today? How important are those 30 pieces of silver? Or that overtime? Or soccer? Or that new relationship? It’s up to you to decide. Do it before it’s too late, and make that decision your prayer today – along with a prayer of gratitude for giving you another chance to make it!