June 06, 2009

Jesus Picks His Betrayer

Mark 3:13-19

He appointed twelve … [including] Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Mark 3:14, 19


School children know what it means to pick team members before the start of a game. Teams are often formed when two captains call out the names of the players they want on their teams. The captains look for the ones with the right gifts and abilities: strength, speed, smarts, agility. They know that choosing the right players is crucial if they want to win.

So how did Judas get on Jesus’ team?

Mark’s gospel says that Jesus “called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.” Did Jesus make a mistake when he chose Judas to be his disciple?

We might wonder why, of all people, Judas was picked to spend the next two and a half years in close fellowship with Jesus. As a disciple, Judas would hear and see everything Jesus did. He would be sent out to preach the good news of the kingdom and even to cast out demons. On the surface, picking Judas seems to have been a mistake.

We may not understand why Jesus picked Judas, but we can be sure Jesus knew this man would betray him (see John 6:64). And a person who betrays someone cannot be a stranger; it has to be a person entrusted with friendship. The betrayal, however, was Judas’s choice. Perhaps all we can conclude is that this too was part of the suffering Jesus endured to save us from sin.

Lord, thank you for sending your Son to bear our sins, even our treachery, so that we never have to fear being apart from you. Forgive us and help us to follow you, we pray. Amen.

About the author — R. Scott Greenway

R. Scott Greenway was born in Mexico City in 1964, the fourth child of missionary parents. He graduated from Calvin College in 1986, Calvin Theological Seminary in 1991, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2002. He and his wife, Kelly, have four children. He pastored the Irving Park Christian Reformed Church in Midland Park, New Jersey, and currently serves as pastor of Caledonia Christian Reformed Church in Michigan. He enjoys a variety of outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing.

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