After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‚ÄúDo you want to go away as well?‚Äù 68 Simon Peter answered him, ‚ÄúLord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.‚Äù 70 Jesus answered them, ‚ÄúDid I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.‚Äù 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
This seems like a strange way for Jesus to answer them. ‚Äúwe have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God‚Äù
‚ÄúDid I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.‚Äù
Flip back a bit, and see Jesus earlier that day
John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
John 6:40 For my Father‚Äôs will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.‚Äù
Peter says, We all believe in you, we won‚Äôt leave, and Jesus says, ‚ÄúI called all of you, and my father is drawing all of you, so I knew you wouldn‚Äôt leave, but one of you will leave in the end.‚Äù
I don‚Äôt think it‚Äôs too much for Jesus to call Judas a devil. He was an adversary, an accuser, a meddler, and these are all things that the devil is called in different places.
At the same time, Jesus reaches out to and cares for Judas up to the very end. At the meal, Judas is there and already has a plan to betray Jesus.
John 13:2 ¬? The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
John 13:4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
Jesus goes on to wash all of their feet‚Äìeven Judas‚Äô!
When Jesus taught us how to deal with our enemies, he said to do good to them. That is such revolutionary genius! I have had a few times where someone was genuinely being evil to me (honestly more in Asia than in America, I‚Äôm afraid) and there were many witnesses. When I returned their evil with good, all of the witnesses declared the evil person was even more evil, and the judgment on them increased.
I know I‚Äôve written about this before, maybe on my blog, but intrinsic to our hope in the Ultimate Power of God is the knowledge that He Himself is Judge and Prosecutor. We don‚Äôt have to dole out the judgments and decide who is deserving of God‚Äôs blessings and who is not. Jesus let Judas in on the grace of God, and even gave him a couple chances to bail, all of which added up to either greater happiness and peace for Judas or greater judgment when he rejected it.
All of the most horrible judgment in the world has already been poured out on Jesus at the cross, and He rose up in victory over it. Now the time has come for Him to call on and link up that judgment and victory to others‚Äìeven the ones that will reject it. Since He is the only one that knows what that final call will be, let us treat everyone with the love of the saints. Not with a shallow love that glosses over evil and calls everything good, but a deep love that carries God‚Äôs mercy to all, and leave the wrath to God.
‚ÄúFor the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‚ÄúNo‚Äù to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope‚Äîthe glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.‚Äù
(Titus 2:11-3:2 NIV)