Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
WHY DID JESUS CHOOSE JUDAS?
“Dr. Lovett, my husband and I were studying the 6th chapter of John together and it seemed very clear that Jesus knew from the beginning who was going to betray Him. Our question is: If Jesus knew this about Judas, why did He select him to be one of the twelve? We know the Lord always has good reasons for what He does, but this one baffles us. Can you shed any light on this?”
I love those who dig into the Word and come up with great questions. This husband and wife obviously spend time in the Word together and the Holy Spirit was pointing things out to them. I'll go the extra mile to encourage anyone who means business with God's Word. If I can get people excited about God's Word, I'm in preacher heaven. So I took time to write back an explanation. It's possible the same question about Judas has crossed your mind as well.
HERE'S THE SETTING
Jesus had fed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The crowds were thrilled to have a miracle-restaurant in their midst and were ready to seize Jesus and make Him King (John 6:15). How great it would be not to have to work for food any more. But Jesus knew their thoughts and deliberately offended them with a statement He knew they couldn't stomach: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves" (John 6:53).
Eating human flesh and drinking human blood was such an abomination to the Jews, the crowd immediately turned away from Him leaving Him alone with the Twelve. Then He asked the disciples if they too, wanted to leave.
“Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him” (John 6:68-71).
In replying that way to Peter, Jesus was saying in effect: “You have spoken well, my friend, but the simplicity of your heart doesn’t apply to all of you, for one of you is a tool of Satan, a traitor.”
WHAT DID THAT DO TO JUDAS?
If Judas’ eyes met Jesus’ eyes in that moment (which is likely), the hostile feelings inside surely turned bitter. Undoubtedly, he wanted more from Jesus than words about eternal life. He wanted Jesus to accept the kingship, thinking he’d end up with a high position in the Lord’s government. It must have been a moment of angry frustration for him when Jesus rejected the offer. This made him an easy victim and Satan got to him.
The other disciples didn't have a clue as to whom Jesus meant. Not until Judas showed up at Gethsemane leading an armed mob, was the betrayer clearly identified. But the question remains, if Jesus knew all this, why did he choose him?
No one has to tell you the Lord was a masterful teacher. He often employed unique teaching devices such as communion, water baptism, washing the disciple’s feet and the feeding of the 5000. Other times He used extreme ideas like, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24). This was the way He taught.
It was like that with His selection of Judas. It was an ingenious way to demonstrate how Satan uses men to deceive. The Lord frequently spoke of the devil's methods, but He wanted to drive home the truth of Satan's deceptive ways. So He deliberately chose one of the devil's agents to be one of twelve disciples. Of course, no one but Jesus knew his real identity. With this strategy, He would teach His disciples how subtly Satan works.
The lessons they learned:
1. CLOSENESS/INTIMACY. Judas was in on everything. He knew full well the Lord was innocent, yet he betrayed him. Just because people APPEAR to be close to Jesus is no guarantee they are genuine. Many are fooled today by the outward spirituality of certain leaders.
2. THEY SAW HIS MOTIVATION. It's obvious what the devil used to reach Judas — MONEY. Judas is a perfect example of how impossible it is to serve both “God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Imagine, betraying an innocent friend for money! But have we not seen what a little overtime pay can do to a Christian's commitment?
3. HE WAS DISGUISED. The apostle Paul speaks of Satan's servants in our midst disguised as “angels of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). In Judas we have a good example of how false believers can appear as genuine servants of God. Bear in mind that Judas was sent out with the Twelve to do miracles of healing and cast out demons. So just because someone is able to do miracles, is no guarantee he is from God. In our day, when so many are hungry to see miracles, this is a vital lesson. The end-time deceivers will be great miracle workers.
4. IMMUNE TO THE TRUTH. Picture Judas listening to the Lord every day for three years. See his face as he watches the Lord heal entire cities and raise the dead. There couldn't be the slightest doubt as to who Jesus really was. Yet, like so many raised in Christian homes, Judas was never saved. Being EXPOSED to truth is never enough. Until we’ve seen a person's faith tested, we ought never assume he is saved. And that applies to our friends and children. The most outstanding lesson with Judas is seeing HOW CLOSE people can come to the truth and still miss the boat.
A HAND-PICKED VISUAL AID
Jesus said much about phony Christians. The parable of the “wheat and tares" is a classic lesson (Matthew 13:28-30):
“And He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ’’
There must be countless counterfeit Christians among us today, all appearing to be as close to Christ as Judas. The Lord said as much:
“Many will say to Me In that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’ ” (Matthew 7:22,23).
THINK OF THAT—professing Christians operating in Jesus’ name, yet servants of the devil! We should be aware of them.
RECOGNIZING THE COUNTERFEIT
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and they follow Me...and a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers" (John 10:27, 5). That is our protection—knowing the voice of our shepherd. And there is only one place you can hear His voice so as to get used to it—the Word of God. Believers can become SENSITIVE to phony Christians. How? By becoming so familiar with the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, that things don't feel right when they encounter the SPIRIT OF ERROR (1 John 4:6).
And how does a person get accustomed to the SPIRIT OF TRUTH? Through listening for His voice as he reads the Word of God. A person can get so used to the SPIRIT'S VOICE, as he reads the Word, that he senses something is wrong when a phony Christian speaks. Familiarity with the voice of Jesus can make a true Christian sensitive to error. When he listens to a false teacher, there is something about his message that “doesn't ring true.”
THE DAY OF THE COUNTERFEIT
The hour of the “lawless one” is approaching. This man, “whose coming is after the working of Satan” will arrive with all power and signs and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2:9). However, in advance of his coming, his forerunners will be in our midst. False teachers will be everywhere. Some will sound like the real thing having miracles and good works to confirm their claims. But, they’ll be counterfeits, and will deceive many. How will you recognize them? You won’t—unless you have made yourself familiar with the voice of the Spirit!
Reading the Word of God is the best way to become familiar with the voice of the Spirit. I suggest you start with Gospel of John. It is packed with fantastic discourses by Jesus. As you move from one startling incident to another, the Spirit will rise. When that happens, you'll also realize there is no substitute for familiarity with . . .
THE HOLY SPIRIT!
C. S. Lovett
(EDITED BY MARJORIE LOVETT)
© 2018 Personal Christianity. All rights reserved.
HEROES OF THE FAITH—SARAH
“Sarah, too, had this kind of faith. For even though she was too old to have children, she believed God was faithful to His Word and would do for her as He had promised. As a result, she received the ability to conceive. Thus, it was that Abraham, even though his body was as good as dead, was able to become a father. And from him there sprang such a flood of descendants that it is impossible to count them, for they are as numerous as the stars of heaven and as numberless as the grains of sand on the seashore” (Heb. 11:11,12 Lovett’s Lights).
The promise could not have been fulfilled unless Sarah shared in the faith to appropriate it. And if she did, then she indeed belongs in the hall of fame. Now it’s true that she laughed. So did Abraham (Genesis 17:17). He roared at the thought of a 100-year old man fathering a child. Maybe he was simply enjoying God’s sense of humor, but it did seem incredulous to him at first. The laughter of both Abraham and Sarah was a natural reaction to the fantastic news God had laid on them. What is likely is that Abraham communicated his great faith to Sarah and her faith grew to the place where she became convinced that what seemed impossible to us was easily possible for God. God kept His Word. Isaac was born. And the whole Hebrew race issued from him. What’s more, hundreds of millions of Muslims trace their lineage to Abraham through Ishmael. Beyond that, think of the millions of Gentile Christians who have become “Abraham’s seed” through faith in Christ (Gal. 3:29). Abraham did indeed become a father and Sarah a mother. Both of them had to trust God for the miracle, for neither was capable of having children when God gave the promise. The birth of Isaac was a down payment on all the other promises, and as surely an evidence to Abraham as the Holy Spirit is to us (Eph. 1:13,14).
Excerpt taken from the book, Let Your Spirit Soar, Copyright © 1994 by C. S. Lovett. All rights reserved.
DR. C. S. LOVETT’S BOOK THE PREPARED LIFE IS AVAILABLE IN
PAPERBACK AND FOR KINDLE
This is a guide book for successful living in the power of the Holy Spirit. The prepared life is an abundant lifestyle. The power of Christ’s Spirit working through you is absolutely thrilling. This book teaches you who the Holy Spirit is and shows you how to access His power for daily living. No matter what stage you are in life, you can have the power to: (1) overcome the problems of today’s world, (2) be steadfast in all you do so you can fulfill your purpose in life, (3) be secure in your faith, (4) be able to withstand all the devil’s onslaughts, and (5) be totally prepared to meet the Lord. Other topics include: heaven, spiritual gifts, how to pray, witnessing, and salvation. This book is available on Amazon.com HERE. If you don’t have the internet, some Christian bookstores can order it for you.
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