I talked with a guy yesterday morning for a while about Judas being hand-picked by Jesus. I am overwhelmed at the true meaning of sovereignty shown by Jesus. One of THE TWELVE is “a devil‚” and He doesn’t flee or try to take him out! He actually shows him a LOT of mercy.
[quote]He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
(Matt 10:1-4 NIV) [/quote]
Jesus gave JUDAS authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness!
What if we followed Jesus as His disciples, ones that imitate Him, and followed Him down this path?! He chooses men to follow Him, knowing full well that one of them will betray Him with a betrayal that results in His death. I can just imagine if Peter knew about it in advance.
“No Lord, he must not come with us. You’ll die!” says Peter
“Simon, Simon” Jesus replies, “don’t you know that it is written:
[quote]If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
Psalm 55:12-14 [/quote]
[quote]My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?”
Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad.
All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Psalm 41:5-9 [/quote]
So often it seems like we make decisions on the basis of our safety. Especially down here in our neighborhood. Too many times I think I make a decision on who to serve based on whether I can trust them or not, or whether they will be faithful and repay me for what I did for them, either in respect or kindness to my family or openness to Jesus.
But Jesus shows mercy completely free. He gave spiritual gifts to Judas so that the news of The Kingdom would go out, even though His messenger would betray Him to death! I think of giving a beggar some money out of fear of him coming back or guilt that he sees me in my house with all of my riches. Jesus would give to that beggar much more than my little $5 giftcard to McDonald’s, and know full well that the next day that beggar would be shouting for His execution.
The grace of God blows me away once again. I want that fearless, not-withholding grace power in my life!