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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 164: John 6:60-71 & Psalm 22 - Why Would Jesus Choose "a Devil" to Be His Disciple?

Today's Reading: John 6:60-71 & Psalm 22

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Why Would Jesus Choose "a Devil" to Be His Disciple?

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) - John 6:70-71, ESV

John 6 is one of the most powerful and dramatic chapters in the Bible, containing one of the most controversial teachings of Jesus (see yesterday's post) and ending with a most unusual and harsh-sounding pronouncement. Jesus actually calls one of His twelve chosen disciples "a devil." Why would Jesus call one of His disciples such a harsh name, and if Judas was such a devil (as he proved himself to be), then why did Jesus choose him in the first place?

When we consider why Jesus would have chosen a devil to be His follower, we can weigh several possibilities:

1. Jesus didn't know what kind of man Judas was when He chose him. Even the most skilled leaders can be deceived and betrayed by some of their closest followers. But John has already told us in John 2:25 that Jesus "needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man."

2. Maybe Judas was a good man when Jesus called him, but he only became a devil over time as he followed Jesus. This seems more plausible, but then it would mean that Jesus could not see what was going to happen with Judas. Besides, how would a good and honest man be made corrupt by following Jesus? Further, if Jesus knew here in John 6 that Judas was a devil, why didn't He kick him out of the Twelve?

3. Jesus might have had good reason for wanting such a man among His closest followers. This is actually the right answer, it seems. Jesus often does things that make no sense to us, that challenge our most basic assumptions about life and leadership. Jesus selected a greedy, dishonest and disloyal man to be among His twelve disciples because even Judas served a useful role in the work of Christ. After all, the Messiah would have to be betrayed by someone. 

This is a helpful perspective for us to gain: Jesus always has good reasons for the things He allows, even for things which are painful and seemingly irrational. Who wants a thief and a traitor among their followers? Only the man who had come down from heaven in order to be betrayed and to lay down His life for His own people. Jesus had come to win our salvation for us, and that meant Judas must betray, even with a kiss. 

Never think that God is making mistakes in Your life. When things are allowed in contrary to your desires, Jesus is working out a better plan. The most unwelcome elements make perfect ingredients in God's recipe for salvation.

Prayer Based on Psalm 22:

Heavenly Father, Psalm 22 reminds me of the great price Your Son paid for my salvation on the cross. He was despised and rejected. He suffered deep physical pain and He suffered the agony of Your wrath that I deserve. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, mocked by His enemies and crushed by Your wrath that I deserve, for me and for my salvation. It was my sin that held Him there. It was my sin that cost Him His life. 

Lord, my heart's desire is to see Jesus receive the fruit of His sacrifice, the inheritance of the nations. So, Lord, send out Your church, Your missionaries, Your ambassadors, to carry the message and the ministry of the kingdom to all the nations, until that day when we see the Gospel permeate the nations and Jesus exalted in every language among every people on earth.

All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.      

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