If You Know He’s Bad Why Choose Him?
Sometimes Jesus did the craziest things. He had the opportunity to choose his disciples (the ones he would train as his apprentices) and he had knowledge beyond ours, so how come he chose a dud?
Folks were having second thoughts about following him and were quitting in big numbers. Simon spoke some inspired words about having no one else worth following because he recognized the value of Jesus’ teaching and apparently the other eleven agreed with him so they stayed with Jesus.
When he heard this, Jesus said, “Haven’t I chosen all twelve of you? Yet one of you is a devil!”
If he knew one of his disciples was going to turn into a traitor who opposed him, why the heck did he waste any time or effort on that
disciple? It would be more efficient to replace him immediately and invest his time in teaching a disciple who didn’t have devil tendencies. We could have told him that if we’d been there. It seems as if Jesus made a deliberate choice to invest in a rotten egg. Why?
Enter the equal opportunity teacher. “Sow your seed early in the day and don’t stop as the day passes because you have no idea which seed will grow well – they might all do well,” says the writer in Ecclesiastes. He knew that the sowing season was limited and it was a busy time for the farmer. Seed was costly and countering the pressure to complete sowing in time was the desire to make sure the seed had the best possible chance for survival. Some farmers would worry about the weather and soil conditions, others just got tired and slacked off as the day grew longer. Both ended up wasting time and opportunity. The writer advised them, “Don’t keep second guessing your decisions and do keep on-task until it is finished.” Apparently Jesus took this approach in teaching his disciples.
Each of the disciples he had chosen had great potential and significant latent abilities. Each had the ability to have a major impact for good (or evil it seems.) That’s the thing with helping people develop into their potential, it’s impossible to guarantee that they will always choose the right path. In fact it’s possible to guarantee that at some point they will choose the wrong one. You just can’t tell how things will turn out. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be trained and developed.
He still does the same thing today – he calls us to follow him and learn his ways but there’s no guarantee we’ll always make the right decisions. We are all prone to get it wrong at times. We all struggle against relapse into our old habits and ways. Sadly, some end up choosing evil instead of good and it becomes a life choice.
Relax, life doesn’t always turn out like we expect!
Jesus chose Judas and Judas turned to the dark side of the force. Jesus gave him every opportunity to succeed and he blew it. He heard what Simon said and he agreed with it – he stayed on as a follower of Jesus. He heard what Jesus said and he was part of the exciting experiment of life on the higher plane as they learned the truth Jesus was sharing with them. Jesus didn’t hold back on sharing with Judas, he didn’t treat him as a second-rate citizen; he gave him the best along with the others!
It was up to Judas to decide what he would do with the training Jesus gave him.
It’s still like that today. We have the opportunity to learn life as Jesus teaches it. We can apply the truth he reveals and discover where it takes us. We can be thoroughly transformed. But we also have the ability to govern the transformation and to regulate the amount of life we experience. We do so by our choices on a choice by choice basis.
Following Jesus doesn’t make us perfect or infallible. The path of discipleship is a voluntary one. At some point Judas moved his focus from the life Jesus revealed and began to make other choices. Only a little bit a first but gradually it happened more and more until his focus became the opposite of what Jesus was showing him. He became an “opposer of life” and so an opponent of Jesus. He realized his mistake but it was too late and he took his own life to escape the consequences of his choice (of course he got a surprise to discover that where he went the consequences of his choices followed! There is no escape, our choices must be faced.)
So the question for us is what will we do with what he gives us? How far will we follow and what limits will we set? The twelve disciples weren’t saints by any means. They were head strong and dense at times; other times they were the smartest students he could hope to have. Their strength is that they devoted their time and energy to what was important – life – and they kept on doing the things they were shown. They got tired and they got discouraged but they kept on learning from Jesus. All except Judas! His example remains to remind us that we all receive the opportunity for life and the insights for transformation. What we do with it us our personal choice. Jesus chose Judas, he also chooses us. Jesus chose eleven others and he also chooses us. The difference isn’t what Jesus did, it’s what each individual did with the opportunity he was given.
The way of faith calls us to heed the warning of Judas and press on in pursuit of life.
- He Won’t Say What I Want to Hear! (citesimon.com)
- A Tough Fact of Leadership: Things Won’t Go Well (all the time) (christopherscottblog.typepad.com)
Posted on December 9, 2011, in Self-awareness and tagged choosing evil, Christianity, discipleship, Ecclesiastes, Jesus, Judas, life choices, Religion and Spirituality, Simon, words of life. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.