Posted by: New in Every Way | March 6, 2013

How Could He?

This Saturday, it will be time in the United States to set our clocks forward to Daylight Saving Time. In Kentucky, I have already spotted lawn care crews at work. Spring must be around the corner.

And . . . Easter is only four weeks away. My blogs during these weeks will be about the tumultuous events preceding and following Jesus’ crucifixion. I say “my blogs,” but only two of these essays are mine–the other two were written by my father in a devotional book we co-authored in 2007. . . . This week I’m sharing one of my father’s.

Judas

Judas’ Defection

Read John 13:18-20.

“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (John 13:24).

Jesus’ final Passover with his apostles in the Upper Room was one of the most sublime experiences of his life on earth. Yet in the midst of his jubilation, he had to deal with at least two very trying problems. The worst of these was the defection of Judas.

Judas’ betrayal has always been puzzling to earnest Christians.  How could a man who had walked with Jesus and worked miracles in his name turn against him? Some have argued that he always planned to betray Jesus and joined his company to learn his habits so he could do so. Others feel that he was predestined for this purpose and could not help himself.

The most likely explanation is that there was a gradual deterioration in his relationship with Christ and the other apostles.  He seems to have been somewhat of an outsider, the only disciple from Judea among a group of Galileans—men from the hinterland—that he probably considered uneducated and unsophisticated. He became dishonest, appropriating money from the common purse for his own use. He became critical of Jesus and took offense when the Master chided him publicly for his condemnation of Mary when she anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. The final tragedy was that he allowed Satan to enter his heart.  It was then he sought occasion to betray his Lord.

But Jesus did not give up on him! Even as he prepared to partake of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus made one final appeal. “Don’t do it, Judas!  Better never to have been born than to commit this deed!” It was too late for Judas. Satan had already taken control.

Should we not pause to reflect on this tragedy? A traitor is not made in a moment. Most people who abandon their Lord do it little by little, almost unconsciously: a little neglect here, a slip there, wounded pride, spite, anger – they can build up until Satan finds a way to lead us astray. But still the Master pleads. Don’t ignore his love and his call.

Are you ever tempted by selfish ambition, pride or jealousy to forsake your Lord or put him to the test? Beware, lest Satan finds a way to enter your heart and destroy your faith.

–F. Burleigh Willard Sr. 

From Streams of Living Water: A Daily Guide to Devotional Meditation on God’s Word  by F. Burleigh Willard Sr. and Celia Willard Milslagle.

 

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