Your Enemies Have Purpose

While the women folk had their fellowship, We men went out to get a bite to eat! I was with two friends of mine in which they happen to be pastor. And like most of the tymes our conversations often return to what we’re a studying, what lessons we’re about to teaching or something that God gave us that made us go HMM! One night we had a quick discussion on the difference dealing with Peter & Judas & how they sinned Jesus. And I realized that I never really study much on Judas, with the exception of the basics at Easter tyme.

**Side note! And not really dealing with the blog. To be honest I had no idea there where 7 different Judas’s in the Bible:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1. An ancestor of Jesus in the line from Nathan through Mary. The son of Joseph and father of Symeon, Judas was the seventh generation from David’s son Nathan and so lived prior to the Babylonian exile. Lu 3:30, 31.
2. Judas the Galilean, referred to by Gamaliel in his address to the Sanhedrin. Ac 5:37 At the time of the registration identified with Quiriniusgovernor of Syria in 6 C.E., Judas led a Jewish uprising.
3. One of the 12 apostles, also called Thaddaeus and “Judas the son of James.” In the listings of the apostles in Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18, James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus are linked together. In the listings at Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 Thaddaeus is not included; instead we find “Judas the son of James,” leading to the conclusion that Thaddaeus is another name for the apostle Judas.
4. Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon and the infamous apostle who betrayed Jesus.
5. One of Jesus’ four half brothers. (Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3)
6. A man of Damascus who had a home on the street Straight. While blind immediately after his conversion, Saul (Paul) resided in Judas’ home, and it was there that Ananias was sent to lay his hands on Saul. (Ac 9:11, 17) The account does not say whether Judas was a disciple at the time, but this seems unlikely since Ananias and others who were disciples hesitated to approach Saul in view of his reputation as a persecutor, yet Judas accepted Saul into his home.—Ac 9:13, 1426.
7. Judas, also called Barsabbas, was one of the two disciples sent by the governing body in Jerusalem to accompany Paul and Barnabas when they delivered the letter about circumcision (c. 49 C.E.). Both Judas and his companion Silas were considered “leading men among the brothers.” (Ac 15:22)

This Thursday, I offer the following meditation on Jesus’ love for Judas. Going all the way back to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had taught his followers that they should love not only the people who are good to them but also those who hate them and do them harm. This was not a new teaching. Loving one’s enemies was taught in Exodus 23:5 and Proverbs 25:21. However, many leaders had interpreted Leviticus 19:18 (“love your neighbor as yourself”) to mean that we only need to love those who are with us, so to speak, in heart and spirit. They considered our neighbors to be those who love our God and fit in with his people. Jesus taught that such teaching went against the heart of God, who does good to those who love him and to those who do not love him.

We are to do the same Matt Matthew 5:43-48. There are many things about Jesus & Judas that intrigue me.  Jesus chose Judas to be an Apostle knowing he’d betray him (Omniscient).  Jesus put Judas in charge of their money knowing he was an embezzler Jn 12:6.  That Jesus sent him to preach the Gospel knowing Judas was a traitor from the beginning Jn6:64.  Jesus even gave Judas “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, & to heal every disease & every affliction” Mt 10:1-4.

Judas was present when Jesus feed thousands… healed the blind & lame… cast out demons… walked on water… & raised the dead.  For three years Judas heard Jesus Himself teach!  For three years Judas watched & heard Jesus pray.  Not only that, three times Judas had the Passover meal with Jesus! Jesus gave Judas every opportunity to believe.  Every chance to do the right thing.  Jesus trusted Judas… encouraged Judas… & cared for Judas.  But consider Jesus chose Judas precisely because of  and for what he would do… betray.  Jesus chose Judas on purpose Jn17:12.

It was during the meal that Judas left & went to the Pharisees to receive 30 pieces of silver to betray Christ with a kiss on the cheek.  I believe Judas will show up one more time… Matthew 7:21-23

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, & cast out demons in your name, & do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  (Judas will probably be leading this argument.) It was this evil despised individual that Jesus served… by washing his feet.  It was to this traitor that Jesus showed us how to love our enemies.  Let’s stop right here… right now… & think about our enemies.  People that don’t like us or have hurt us deeply!

If we’re to partake of the Lord’s Supper with the right attitude, then we’re to take seriously Jesus’ model!  Look at v 15!  Who has hurt you?  Caused you trouble?  Wounded you?  Made you grieve?  Was it a parent… sibling… friend… boss… co-worker… or someone else? If we’re believers… according to Jesus in v 15 how are we to treat our enemies?   If we refuse to follow Jesus’ example, what does that say about US?!  And what should we then do?

When he was finished washing their feet and explaining why he did that, Jesus sat down to eat with them, and announced, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me” (13:21). Now watch carefully what happens next. “His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which one of them he meant” (13:22). What does this detail tell us? Jesus loved Judas so warmly, so consistently, so devotedly, that no one could tell by Jesus’ behavior who the betrayer was. Think about this for a minute. If you were living day in and day out with eleven friends and one enemy who you knew would betray you to a horrible death, how difficult would it be to love your enemy so well that your treatment of him would be indistinguishable from your treatment of the others? Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart, but he had not tipped his hand by subtly mistreating Judas. That tells us a lot about Jesus. Jesus’ treatment of Judas is a volume of teachings all on its own.

Take a moment  to prayerfully reflect on Jesus’ love for Judas.

  • Is there a Judas in your life? How are you treating him or her? Ask God’s help to be like Jesus.
  • How have you been like Judas in the lives of others? Seek reconciliation quickly.
  • How have you been like Judas in your treatment of Jesus? Judas set into motion his own agenda against God’s desires. Humbly seek God’s forgiveness for the ways in which you have done this.
  • Worship at the feet of the one who washed others’ feet, including those of his enemy.
*Resources: David Beck, Ron Reflection

2 thoughts on “Your Enemies Have Purpose

  1. Pingback: Showing the love of Jesus | Transient Reflections

  2. Pingback: 5/20/2012 Join in Apostolic Witness | ForeWords

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