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Judas Iscariot, the maligned one who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, has long been portrayed as the evil and wicked one.  Yet we forget that he was selected by Jesus for the work specifically.  He was the serpent whom Jesus had chosen, the one who would betray, and thanks to the betrayal, would initiate the chain of events that would see Jesus crucified and killed.

Imagine if Judas did what Peter, James and John did.  Imagine if Judas did not go to do what he had in mind to do when Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” [John 13.27]  What would have happened if Judas did not obey Jesus and did not do what he was about to do?  There would have been no betrayal, and worst of all, there would have been no crucifixion, and the whole plan of God for Christ to die to atone for our sins would have been delayed, even stopped.

Judas may have stolen money from the money bag, but he was at least dependable and reliable and did what he was chosen to do and told to do, which is more than can be said for the others.  Not only that, when he realised what he had done, he tried to make amends and give the money back to try to get Jesus released.  When that failed, we know that he went out and hung himself.  Yes, he committed suicide.  And so was bred a doctrine and practice that said if one committed suicide, one cannot go to Heaven, and in some denominations, you cannot be buried on church property.  Where did Jesus ever said that suicide is a sin?  In fact, He taught that we were to lose our lives for His sake, and to stand firm in our testimony even to the point of death is like a form of suicide.

There are translations that actually say Judas repented and then hung himself… the King James Version and the Aramaic translation.  He repented and then hung himself.  What does that show me?  It shows me that he was a man of conviction.  He may be the betrayer, but he was also a man who could see what he did was wrong, and when the time came, he sentenced himself, so as to spare God the distaste of sentencing him.  To some this is cowardice.  It would be if he did not try to right his wrong.  It would be if he did not repent.  And it would be if he had betrayed Jesus when he was called and chosen for other things.  But no, he was chosen to be the betrayer and he did not disappoint.  And he saw his wrong and tried to correct it and then repented and punished himself to save God the trouble.  Indeed, he had more honour than others who never fulfilled what they were chosen for.

Solomon was chosen from among the sons of David by the Lord to rule Israel so that the Lord would be glorified through Israel.  He was to keep the Israel faithful to the Lord, but instead he was the one who introduced all forms of pagan worship to Israel as he adopted the gods of his many wives and concubines.  Solomon could not even remain faithful enough to his calling to take only Israelite women as his wives and concubines.  It is not recorded that he ever repented, much less rid Israel of all the false gods he had introduced.

Just as Judas was chosen by Jesus to betray Him, the eleven were chosen by Jesus to be His witnesses.  They were witnesses to His ministry before the crucifixion alright, together with Judas.  However, only one of them, John, witnessed the actual crucifixion and the manner of His death.  But no one, not one, witnessed the moment of His rising and the manner that He was raised.  And certainly not one of the eleven witnessed what Jesus had in mind to show them on the road to Galilee on resurrection morning.  There are no records of repentance concerning them.

As witnesses of Jesus, they were to stand up and oppose false testimonies about Jesus.  When James introduced his recommendations that went contrary to Jesus’ teachings, Peter who was there did not stand up immediately and testify that Jesus had taught them to drink His blood and that he had done that.  Peter could not testify that the flesh of Jesus was strangled on a Roman cross for he was not there, but he could have testified that Jesus had taught that all foods are clean.  To stand up and oppose James in Acts 15 was what Peter was called and chosen for, but he did not do it.

So spare a thought for Judas.  At least he did what he was chosen for, and then tried to undo the evil he had done, repented and finally judged and punished himself.

How different Israel would have been had Solomon did what God chose him for?  How different the church would have been had the eleven did what they were chosen for, as effectively as Judas?  And consider the disaster we would have had if Judas was as unreliable as the eleven.

Jesus said, “…you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” [Matthew 19.28]  Judas was there, as was Peter.  So, who followed Jesus?  The one who did what he was chosen for, or the one who did not do what he was chosen for?  Perhaps, just perhaps, Judas will be on one of those thrones also judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And what qualifies Judas to judge Israel and even Solomon?   It is this:  At least Judas did what he was chosen for.  Israel, including Solomon, did not.

So, what can Judas say about us, elect, if we do not do that which we are elected for?

So, it is not bad to stand with Judas who did what he was chosen for, who was not ashamed to confess the evil of his action openly and tried to reverse it, and then repented and punished himself.  It is far better to do so than to stand with those who have not done what they are chosen for, and yet do not repent, but instead try to hide their disobedience with great feats of miracles and worship.

Whom would God favour:  the one who did what he was chosen for, or the one who did not do what he was chosen for?  For after all, it is God who calls, chooses and elects.

So, consider how you would stand if you had to face Judas Iscariot, the apostle who did what he was chosen for to the letter.

When you have considered this and understood its implication, you might just understand why the prostitute church is held responsible for all who have been killed on the Earth. [Revelation 18.24]  God does not hold the Romans responsible for the killing; He holds us responsible, for we were supposed to be able to stop the killing.  God does not hold the Mongols responsible for the killing; He holds the church responsible, for we were supposed to stop the killing.  And so on and so on.  Had we received the power and kept the power, the history of the world would have been very different.

So then, what should we do?  Repent and make every effort to undo the wrong and always remember Judas.  At least he did what he was chosen to do.  Are we doing what we have been elected to do?

Hr. Ed, manager of the Holy Spirit’s Workshop

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