September 29

Text: Matthew 26:50

And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.  (NASB)

Jesus greeted Judas as “friend.”  Think of how most of us would have reacted in a similar situation of betrayal.  Might we have said, “You ungrateful, unappreciative rascal who is motivated by your thoughts of yourself—how dare you treat me this way?  You will pay for your untrustworthiness and your selfishness!  God will give you what you have coming to you!”

This act of betrayal would cost Jesus enormous pain.  However, it also would achieve God’s purposes.  God would work through the evil to produce good.  That is one of the basic lessons Jesus teaches those who follow him—trust God to work through the best efforts of evil.  Had not Jesus done that throughout his ministry?  Because evil rages does not mean God cannot be at work.  Evil killed Jesus.  Yet, God made a universal Savior out of the dead Jesus.  Through the resurrected Jesus God could and did invite all to Him.  What Satan regarded as the ultimate victory quickly became the pinnacle of defeat.

It is argued that if Judas did God’s will that he did only what he had to do.  Thus, if there is fault to be assigned, it should be given to God, not Judas.

Judas was what he had always been—quite self-centered.  He was provided an incredible opportunity that very few ever had.  He had opportunity to witness Jesus’ compassion and deeds.  Judas was impressed, but not impressed enough to stop being the person he always had been. 

To envision Judas as a terrible, distasteful person misses the point.  Following Jesus involves a transformation.  Not everyone will pay that price.  For many a decision is let stand to be basically unchanged, to incorporate what is easily incorporated, to follow “the system” and fit in, and to hurt no one.  To be opportunistic is not considered a bad thing.  There is no choice to repent.  Status quo is the desire.  No change is the choice.  Sound familiar?  “We do not need to change—we are okay as we are.”

The problem: People are incredibly capable of producing unintended harm!

Suggestion for reflection:  Define the concept of repentance.  (Read Romans 2:1-13.)

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