MM00057 Thank God for Judas
Mentoring Manna: Thank God for Judas!
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
John 13:21 “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’” Have you ever had someone in your life that you felt was sent by the devil himself? You know---it’s the person who opposes you on every side, who tears you down, who spreads lies about you behind your back, and seeks to inflict untold misery upon your life. They are the one who wreck the family, steal the inheritance, or split the church. At one time they may have been your closest “friend” that you trusted. Surely you would be much better off without them in your life, right? Surely, they are the ones responsible for ruining God’s plan for your life, right? Or are they?
Jesus, the Son of God, chose twelve disciples. However, one of them would later betray Him: “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:70-71) According to John 13:27, Satan himself entered into Judas in order to betray Jesus! Yes, Jesus felt the pain of betrayal, but yet He completely fulfilled God’s plan for His life. As painful of an experience that it must have been, Judas played a key role in the unveiling of God’s plan for Jesus’ life.
Why does God allow evil people to enter our lives? The answer to this question can be found by looking at the life of Jesus. God used Judas to bring about Jesus’ sacrificial death as the Lamb of God. Without Judas’ betrayal, there would be no arrest, mock trial, or crucifixion. On the Day of Pentecost Peter declared the purpose of God for evil people in Jesus’ life: “Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death.” (Acts 2:23) Although his intentions were evil, Judas was a key instrument in bringing about God’s redemption plan. Thank God for Judas!
Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers. Although their intentions were evil, God used them to bring about the salvation of an entire generation from a seven-year drought. The apostle Paul was continually harassed by wicked men who followed him from city to city in order to undermine his efforts. He entreated the Lord to deliver him from these troublemakers. However, it was through these troublesome individuals that God’s grace and power was being perfected in Paul’s life. Paul may have felt that those who confined him in prison had thwarted God’s commission on his life to take the gospel to the Gentiles. But it was from the prison cell that Paul wrote much of the New Testament that has been preached throughout the centuries and around the world! Thank God for these troublemakers!
Rather than hindering God’s plan for our lives, our enemy may be the very instrument God uses to bring it to pass! The experience may be painful and take us by surprise, but the “Judas” in our life never surprises God. So the next time you are tempted to curse your enemy, remember that they may be a blessing in disguise. Yes, it is possible to thank God for Judas!
Application: God is bigger than the “Judas” in our life. The problem may seem completely out of our control, but it is not beyond God’s control. Rather than become Satan’s instrument for destruction, God takes pleasure in using our adversaries to build the character of Jesus in our lives. The distress of painful relationships forces us to seek God’s help. In our weakness, God becomes strong. In our enemy’s attempt to make the things of God look foolish, God will manifest His wisdom to reveal the foolishness of their so-called “wisdom.” Enduring troublesome people can seem like a great burden to bear. However, in the end we will be able to see the work of God that could never have happened without them in our life. Once we begin to understand how God can use wicked people to bring about good in our lives, then we can say emphatically, “Thank God for Judas!”
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank You for the plan you have for my life. Help me to see my adversaries as Your instruments of destiny in my life. Help me never to forget that You are in control of my life. I believe that none of my adversaries have taken You by surprise. I believe that if I look to You in my time of weakness, You will make me strong. Thank You for always causing me to triumph in Christ Jesus. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”