14 Simon was one of them. Jesus gave him the name Peter. There were also Simon's brother Andrew, James, John, Philip and Bartholomew. 15 And there were Matthew, Thomas, and James, son of Alphaeus. There were also Simon who was called the Zealot 16 and Judas, son of James. Judas Iscariot was one of them too. He was the one who would later hand Jesus over to his enemies. Luke 6:12-16 (New International Readers Version) Emphasis is mine.
I'm reading through the Bible in one year, as I do every year. I'm all the time finding something "new" in the Scriptures and it doesn't matter that I've read that particular passage time and again. Lamentations 3:23 says that God's faithfulness is "new every morning." I believe it.
Today I'm thinking about the twelve disciples Jesus chose early in His earthly ministry, particularly Judas Iscariot. As I read this passage from Luke something struck me. I looked through a variety of translations and versions to see how verse 16 was worded in each. The overwhelming majority worded the verse much like the New International Readers Version did.
I don't think that Judas was bad because God made him that way, was I've heard people explain his betrayal of the Lord.
Of course Jesus knew who would betray Him right from the start; He knows all things before, after, and while they happen.
The Amplified Bible says that Judas "became a traitor (a treacherous, basely faithless person)." That would mean that he wasn't always a traitor. Something made his heart grow cold, caused him to walk away. Again, I don't think it was God who made Judas turn away.
So, why did Judas betray Jesus? Was it for the money or for fame? Was it because he no longer believed in his Friend? Was it simply because he strayed, little by little, from the Master by letting the cares of this world crowd in around him and crowd out Jesus?
Our hearts can grow cold too. When we allow the cares of the world in which we live in today crowd out Jesus, we're in trouble. Every time we take our eyes off of Him we fix them upon something that cannot satisfy.
Judas was sorry after he gave Jesus up to those who would crucify Him. Rather than go to God in prayer, though, he killed himself in despair. Remember, he threw the money back and said it was blood money. Such a sad ending for Judas. It could have been so different had he remembered who Jesus was - the Savior of mankind. He could have placed his life in the Master's hands and allowed Him to make him into a great disciple - one like Peter or James or John became.
So much to think about.