~This is the second part of the series on John 13 by Donna Baker~
Last Thursday we read how Jesus spent His last hours fulfilling the will of His Father in teaching and serving others.
God’s plan was in place.
Jesus was in lockstep with His Father in spite of what He knew He was facing.
The focus switches now to Judas.
During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him… —John 13:2
All sin begins in the heart. Only when it is acted upon does it become sin.
We can read about this downward slide in chapter 1 of James:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. —James: 1:13-16
If you look up the verses in the Bible where Judas is mentioned, you learn he was covetous. We know this because it tells us he was a thief. He didn’t need the money, he simply wanted the money. He had been with Jesus for three years. Did he think Jesus didn’t know he was stealing?
Our hearts deceive us too. We think God doesn’t see our secret sins but He does, just as Jesus knew Judas’ heart.
One of the most startling things to consider about Judas is that earlier in time, Jesus had also sent Judas to heal, cast out demons, etc.:
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.
The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
—Matthew 10:1-8 (ESV)
Isn’t this astonishing? Judas was able to do all these things and saw these miracles and many more. He saw Lazarus and the others Jesus raised from the dead, and yet he still didn’t believe with his heart.
Sobering thoughts, aren’t they? Doesn’t it give this portion of Matthew 7 a whole new perspective to ponder?
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
We all have preconceived ideas of what we expect of Jesus in our lives even if we are not aware of it. It is very likely that Judas had some preconceived ideas too—how he thought Jesus should be or do—and it was not working out that way. From my point of view, this is probably part of why he was contemplating betraying Him.
Here is one of my thoughts [and remember, this is my opinion, not the Bible’s]: we know that two of the other disciples thought Jesus was going to set up His kingdom right away and free them from the Romans. We know this because their mother asked Jesus to give them the two highest political offices, on the right and the left of Him.
Maybe Judas expected, as they did, to have an important “cabinet” position such as Department of Treasury where he could have both prestige and siphon off a lot more money to help him grow rich and powerful.
Does that sound like some of today’s politicians?
When it became clear to Judas that Jesus had another plan, he was probably disillusioned and maybe even angry. He seemed to have forgotten all the miracles of the past.
Remember, it is only a few days before Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead! Judas was there!
How this applies to us.
Often when we pray, our preconceived or erroneous ideas expect God to answer in a specific way. Or maybe we wonder why He is sometimes silent. Perhaps there’s even some other way we are disappointed by the answer [or no answer] to our prayers.
We must guard our hearts so as not to let unbelief seep in and cause us to sin or to doubt that God always has our best interests at work in our lives.
Therefore, we must be like Jesus: keep focused on the mission.