I have recently been challenged with the gift of discernment, and sometimes you are aware of other’s entanglements, heart motives, or darkness they are allowing in their lives. The human instinct is to either expose them and condemn them or to self-protect by distancing. Jesus did neither of these with Judas.
This is what I’ve learned.
I don’t think God reveals other’s issues or defects for us to run from them. I have been challenged, “if I knew someone’s dirt, would I still hang around them and love them, as Jesus did to Judas?”
I’ve noticed in Jesus’ relationships with his disciples, he always assumed the best in others. He always gave the benefit of the doubt. He always trusted. Peter could be a blunderer and a stumbler, yet Jesus seemed to trust him anyway. When the Pharisees asked Peter if he and his master paid the temple tax, Peter had no idea what the answer to that question was – but he answered anyway, incorrectly. Jesus responded to the situation with grace that amazes me. And after this little incident, and a few other gaffes by Peter, Jesus continued to trust him, even giving him the responsibility to feed his sheep. (Matthew 17:24-27 and John 21:15-17). Even more amazing is how Jesus treated Judas. Even though Jesus knew all along that Judas would betray him.
Just for Biblical reference in Luke 6:12-13 ” In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve…”
Judas was in that bunch of disciples.
Do you think Jesus had put a wall between himself and Judas knowing his heart? Or did Jesus despite knowing Judas heart made himself vulnerable and allowed him to come closer to him? If yes why?
So genuine and complete was Jesus’ love for Judas that none of the disciples could tell which of them was Jesus’ betrayer. After washing Judas’s feet and the rest of his disciples’ feet, Jesus told them his betrayer was at the last supper, “. . . they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.”
None of the disciples could figure out who was going to betray Jesus at the last Supper. None suspected Judas, so I would imagine that Jesus was just as loving, caring, honoring and hoping for Judas as He was for all the other disciples. He didn’t hold back His love for Judas, even though He knew the coming betrayal of his friend.
And even in the very moment of the act of betrayal, Jesus calls Judas his friend. Sometimes I wonder what Judas was thinking and feeling toward Jesus in those days and weeks before he did what he did. But regardless of what Judas was thinking and feeling, we see that Jesus loved him, even to the very end. (Luke 22:23, Matthew 26:50)
What I find intriguing is the principle of Jesus’ love for Judas.
Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. Yet, for the extent of his three and a half years of ministry on earth, Jesus allowed Judas to participate in the gathering of the apostles.
And knowing that Judas would betray him, The Last Supper event would have offered a wonderful opportunity to ban Judas from among the disciples. What a perfect time it would have been to look Judas in the eye and say: “Why aren’t you following them?” But he didn’t.
In John 13, from a literary perspective, the ethos of the verses is love (see v. 1). There is mounting action as Jesus speaks of one who is about to betray him. There is almost stifling tension as we consider the reaction of the disciples to Jesus’ words (see v. 24; also Matt. 26:22). There is a moment of incredible shock when Jesus decides to reveal the traitor—not by pointing the finger at him and saying: “You are the man,” but by extending his hand with a piece of bread.
Christ never cast Judas out. From this perspective, it was not Christ who gave up on this disciple, it was this disciple who gave up on Christ. Never could Judas say, “Jesus gave up on me. Jesus loves his own (John 13:1); even when that means loving the one who was about to betray him. Judas’s future rejection and ultimate condemnation didn’t mean that Christ took “less” care of him or fed him more sparsely than the other disciples. No. Judas, based on his profession, received an equal portion.
John has often been called the “apostle of love.” And here in his Gospel, John reveals the love that Jesus had for Judas. It wasn’t a love that effected the salvation of Judas, but it was love. And it is a model of love that Christ calls his church on earth to have for those who are professing the name of Jesus. A love we ought to cultivate, even in the midst of other’s sins, for Jesus loved Judas.
We make a lot of assumptions about people. I am learning that if I want to be like Jesus, I don’t run away or give up on people whom God had placed in my path. Jesus was patient, over looking the disciples misgivings and understanding their different annoying habits. Because sometimes God calls us to lead and love and be in relationship very difficult people.
Loving people does not always mean acting in self-protection. If we are really going to love people it means risking that the end result is that they choose not to live or follow Jesus, kind of like Judas. It was not a personal failing of Jesus that Judas did not become what he was called to be. It is the same with us (and our pastors), we cannot take personal blame when we lead well and others make their own poor decisions. We are just called to love and lead those God asks us to.
Just like in Luke 6:12-13, spend a night in prayer and ask God what relationships should and should not be in your life like Jesus did. Jesus did not ask for volunteers to be disciples, He was in control of His life and who and when He poured out (obviously guided by the Spirit and the Father). If God leads me to be in someone’s life then I do it, no matter the outcome. If He leads me not to be in someone’s life, that is just as important. I am sure there were more than the 12 that wanted to be the 12.
Here is how to Love Like Jesus. In the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, we’re told, always love trusts. And we see how Jesus loved like that, even when he knew about Peter’s faults and mistakes, even when he knew about Judas’ bad intentions. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
So to love like Jesus, assume the best in people, give them the benefit of the doubt, trust them. I can’t tell you how much better off I would have been had I assumed the best in people.
When I love people, even people who are perhaps unworthy of trust, I’m the one who benefits the most.
If you’re a person who desires to love like Jesus, if you’re a person who desires to reflect the nature of Jesus, trust people, give them the benefit of the doubt, assume the best in them.
That’s how Jesus loved people.
That’s how you can love like Jesus.