A reader asks, "Why did the Lord choose Judas to be a disciple if his heart was not right with God?" Having already given three reasons, we now turn to a fourth and last reason: Christ chose a traitor (Judas) as one of His disciples to teach the visible church of the NT age about apostates in her ranks.
First, think of the great knowledge which Judas had! As well as being brought up in the Jewish church, Judas spent at least 3 years "with" Christ Himself in the flesh (Mark 3:14). Judas saw and heard things that "many prophets and righteous men" in OT days desired to see and hear (Matt. 13:17). He heard Christ’s parables, the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7), the Olivet discourse on the end of the world (Matt. 24-25) and Christ’s teaching on the water of life (John 4) and the bread of life (John 6), etc. He also saw Christ walk on water, heal the sick, raise several people from the dead, and feed both the 5,000 and the 4,000. He even helped gather the fragments left over (John 6:12-13)! Despite all this he lacked the saving knowledge of faith, and he perished in his sins. Many in the NT church have walked in the footsteps of knowledgeable Judas.
Second, think of the mighty works of Judas! Judas was a preacher of the kingdom of God and a miraculous healer (Luke 9:1-6, 10). He even drove out demons (Matt. 10:8), though he himself was a child of the devil (cf. John 8:44) and later Satan would enter into him (John 13:2, 27). Listen to these terrible words: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt. 7:22-23). Judas will not be alone in this regard; he will be joined by masses of "faith healers" and charismatics.
Third, think of the glorious office which Judas occupied! He was one of the twelve disciples, no less. His name appears in illustrious lists with Simon Peter, John the beloved disciple, Matthew the tax collector and gospel penman, and all the others (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16). Yet even in these lists the Spirit always places Judas last of the twelve and always refers to his treachery. How many pastors, elders, deacons, lay preachers, revivalists, televangelists, bishops, cardinals, popes and all the rest in the history of the NT church have not betrayed the cause of Jesus Christ, revealing themselves to be successors not of the apostles but of Judas!
Many church leaders have followed Judas as thieves. Think of treasurers and deacons pilfering from the church’s offerings, popes raping Western Europe to support their armies and adorn their palaces, and health and wealth teachers promising their donors that God will make them rich!
Many in the church have followed Judas as traitors. Consider those who under persecution betray their brethren to save their own skin, or those who compromise the faith to avoid the scorn and abuse of the world, or the pastors and theologians who prostitute the gospel of Christ for their own ends. Judas stands as a warning to the Christian church to the end of the age: trust not in your knowledge, works or church office but in Christ crucified alone. And be faithful unto death.
- Volume: 9
- Issue: 26
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851