Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don't Worry About Judas (M2W Devotional)

One of the worst feelings in the world is finding out that a person you consider a friend is behaving as though you're enemies. And even worse than that is having that person still come around you, laugh with you, and talk with you as though they haven't behaved that way....or as though you don't know that they have behaved that way. What I'm talking about here is pure, outright, blatant betrayal...a Judas-type betrayal. You completely opened your heart to them and they sold you out to the first person that was willing to buy. This is what Jesus went through with Judas. But Jesus handled his situation a lot different than we, typically, handle ours.

See, when we find out that a friend has betrayed us, one of the first things we do is cease to identify them as a friend. We make it known, usually, in a very pronounced way that this person is no longer considered a friend. But that's not what Jesus did at all. Think back to when Jesus was in Gethsemane with the Peter, John, and James just before the guards took him away. He knew that Judas was coming to betray him. He even said to Peter, John, and James, "Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand”(Matthew 26:46) just before Judas appeared with guards he led to Jesus. And yet, Jesus still addressed him as 'friend'.

"Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him." (Matthew 26:50)

How could Jesus call him 'friend'? A friend would have never betrayed him that way, right? Why didn't Jesus lay into him...flip out...tell him about himself...or SOMEthing? Well, there are a couple of things that Jesus understood from the very beginning.

1. Jesus understood the nature of Judas' character from the very beginning.

"Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve." (John 6:70)

Jesus was very much aware of the character flaws of the company he kept. He wasn't, at all, caught off guard. How much drama could we save ourselves if we just paid attention to the character traits of the company we keep BEFORE they do something hurtful to US? I know there are times when God allows things to happen, seemingly to us, out of the blue. But, generally speaking, we could discern the character of the people we surround ourselves with if we just took the time to ask God and then, pay attention. We don't do that though. We don't seek God about the company we keep and then, when we are betrayed, we immediately fall into the victim role. 'How could they do this to me? What did I do to them? God, why did you allow this to happen?' When the real question is...Why did YOU allow it to happen YOURSELF? Because had you prayed for discernment, you would have gotten it. Had you asked God if it was his will for this person to be in your life from the very beginning, you would have gotten an answer.

But back to Jesus and Judas...

So, Jesus already knew that Judas would betray him from the start. Why, then, did he even allow Judas in his circle to begin with?

2. Jesus understood divine purpose. He told us in John that no one takes his life, but he gives it freely:

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)

Jesus understood that Judas' betrayal of him would, in the grand scheme of things, not be the cause of his crucifixion. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was divine purpose. It would have happened with or without Judas. He was just playing a role. And his role, in this situation, happened to be that of a betrayer. Keep in mind though, that Jesus already knew this. Did he treat him any differently than the other disciples? No. Did he go and tell everybody that Judas was a devil? No. Sometimes God reveals things to us ab people, not so that we can separate ourselves Or expose them, but so that we won't be caught off guard when things happen. Some betrayers are in your life for a reason. They're a part of the divine purpose for your life. Know that they won't affect your outcome negatively. They're just playing they're role. And as hard as it is to know that they are your betrayer and not call them out, know that it would be a mistake to give that situation too much attention.

Don't worry about Judas. Judas is going to be Judas. Judas had already betrayed Jesus BEFORE the last supper. He had already agreed to give Jesus up. He was just waiting for the right time (Matthew 26: 14-16). And yet, when Jesus told the disciples, at the last supper that one of them would betray him, Judas had the nerve to ask if it would be him (Matthew 21-25). But notice that Jesus still didn't really call him out. He knew what was happening but he didn't give it too much attention. That's what some of us need to learn to do...not give negative situations so much attention. Stay focused on your purpose. Everything is not meant to be exposed. Some people will expose themselves if you just let it play out. So, don't worry about Judas. Judas is doing exactly what Judas is supposed to do. You just keep doing what you're supposed to do and keep praying for discernment so you'll know who's playing what role.

Be blessed =)

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