New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 39

      Chosen: Judas the Disciple “He [Judas] was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” (Acts 1:17) But as Jesus said, only one of His most trusted disciples would turn on Him. Only one would betray the confidence of the Son of Man. And yet, when Jesus revealed this harsh truth to His twelve closest students and friends, there came twelve desperate pleas asking “Lord, is it I?” Life as a disciple was not an easy undertaking. A person required more than mere desire to be a member of Jesus’ inner circle. In order to be a disciple of Jesus, one had to be accepted. For many, their introduction into discipleship was the Jesus’ simple call to “Follow me.” (Mark 2:14; Matthew 4:19, et al.) It is a very powerful experience to read the Gospel accounts of Jesus building His inner circle. Judas’ individual invitation to discipleship is missing from the Gospels. Did Judas come to Jesus, hoping to be accepted? Or did Jesus surprise Judas with an invitation? This remains a mystery. While some do come to Jesus and ask to be part of His work, it is a two-way agreement. Consider Jesus speaking of His intentional relationship with His disciples: You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. (John 15:14-17) Those who know the Gospel of John have probably already noted that Judas was not actually present when Jesus spoke the words above (he was busy preparing for Jesus’ capture), so it seems that Judas Iscariot is not one of Jesus’ chosen. However, reading this account from Luke clearly shows that Jesus intentionally chose Judas Iscariot. Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot [editorializing omitted]. (Luke 6:12-16) 105