Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Place of Departure

Since there is not any pre-destinarian doctrine in my blood, it is impossible for me to believe that Jesus chose Judas Iscariot as a disciple so that he could betray Him.  It just goes against the grain of everything I believe about God to think that Judas had no choice in his decision to betray Jesus.  Is it not possible that Jesus saw in this man potential for the Kingdom just as He did the other eleven?  When Jesus called to Judas saying, "Follow me," were not the same possibilities for good in him that were in the rest?
As Luke tells the story of Judas' betrayal in Luke 22:47, he does something different from Matthew and Mark.  These two speak of Jesus receiving the kiss of the traitor, but Luke writes in such a way as to indicate that Jesus perceived Judas' intent to kiss him, but turned it aside.  The Word reads, "(Judas) approached Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus said to him..."  The "but" seems to point to Jesus not actually being kissed by the one who came to betray Him.  But, kiss or no kiss, Judas' heart was still bent on following the evil course.  And the heart is what Jesus always sees.  He did that dark night.
Of course, Judas was not the only one who betrayed Jesus in those hours.  Simon Peter did it, too.  The other disciples were no different.  Of them  both Matthew and Mark report, "all of them deserted Him and fled."  (Mark 14:50)  And so, as the journey is coming closer and closer to its final steps, Jesus is left alone in the hands of adversaries and antagonists.  Enemies.  All along the way from the Mt. of Transfiguration to Jerusalem, the disciples stayed close.  All along the way the curious and committed composed the crowd that walked with Him on the road.  But, finally, He is alone with no one to stand alongside.  Everyone is gone.  There is not one, no not one, left.  Not even you.  Not even me.  Alone now and on the way to the cross. 

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