Saturday, November 17, 2012
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. (John 13:21-22 KJV)
Could you sit with someone you knew betrayed you? The question is in the past tense because we often sit with people who in the future will betray us. Jesus, on the other hand, knew that the man who shared His life for years as well as bread and wine at that last supper had betrayed Him. He knew Judas’ future just as He knew His own.
We don’t see Jesus correcting Judas as He did Peter, except perhaps in Mark 14. It was after the woman anointed His head with spikenard and there was a complaint about the cost, stating it could have been sold and given to the poor. Jesus defended her actions and the very next verse has Judas making the deal with the chief priests for Christ’s betrayal.
I can imagine, based on people’s actions today, that the perceived waste could be the precipitating action that moved Judas away from following Jesus to betraying a man Judas thought was betraying the message of helping the poor.
Judas did not pay attention to what Matthew (26:11), Mark (14:7) and John (12:8) heard Him say – that the poor will always exist, but Jesus was here for a very short time and had a very large message to share.
For all the good people would do, we cannot cure poverty. Christians, however, cannot ignore it either, given this parable:
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:37-40 KJV)
As His followers, God expects us to provide for the hungry and thirsty; to care for strangers; to provide clothing; to visit the sick and imprisoned. We need not be told more. We have the example laid before us and confirmation that by doing so, we have done it unto Him. Not to do it is a betrayal of what we’ve been taught and what we profess to believe.
If Christ knew Judas would betray Him, why keep him around? The betrayal was necessary:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7-8 KJV)
The betrayer had a choice. It did not have to be Judas. He faced the same choice we face – is Jesus the promised Messiah, or not.