Thursday, September 29, 2011

Judas Iscariot: Much More Than Beelzebub?

The disciples of Jesus, after he washed their feet, didn't know what he had done to them when he asked, “Know ye what I have done to you?” Neither did they know when he told them that he had given them an example, that they should wash one another's feet. They couldn't have known; they didn't know about the uncleanness which Jesus addressed by way of the foot washing. Even when he described the trespass against him, “[he] hath lifted up his heel against me,” they still didn't know.

Jesus applied this figure of speech, found in Psalms 41:9, to the act of Judas, when Judas made a covenant to deliver him to the chief priests, after the devil put it into his heart. In this manner, Jesus associated the trespass with a part of the foot. This was the uncleanness which Jesus addressed when he washed their feet, but none of them could know it, but Judas.

By way of the foot washing, Jesus told Judas his fault and conveyed to him his message of forgiveness. The eleven didn't know what Jesus had done to them; Judas knew. Judas knew that Jesus had told him his fault and had forgiven him for it. That knowledge changed his heart. Judas no longer desired to deliver Jesus to the chief priests.

The will of God, however, was to deliver Jesus to the chief priests, and Jesus, knowing the will of his Father, was going to deliver himself. That is the bread which his Father gave him to eat. His bread was to do the will of him that sent him.

Jesus was not to eat that bread alone. That the scripture might be fulfilled, the one who had lifted up his heel against him should eat that bread with him.

Having forgiven Judas, Jesus forgot about the betrayal. Jesus handled the affair privately, and he never spoke about it to any other man. Later, Judas himself revealed the details of the betrayal to his fellow disciples for their edification. It was then that they learned what Jesus had done to them: He forgave the one among them who trespassed against him. If he then, their Lord and Master, forgave the one who trespassed against him, then they also ought to forgive one another's trespasses.

The adversary of God opposed (and now opposes) the things which Jesus said must happen at Jerusalem. When Jesus identified the one of the twelve to eat his bread with him, that is, when he identified his servant whom he would send to deliver him to the chief priests, the adversary of God entered into him whom he chose. Now, not only did he have no desire to deliver Jesus, he was opposed to the idea of delivering him.

To prepare Judas for this moment, Jesus had forewarned, “Woe to that man by whom the son of man is delivered. It had been good for that man if he had not been born.” Judas was being called upon to deny himself, and to take up his cross, and to follow Jesus. That is how Jesus put the matter previously, when he was faced by this same spirit of adversity, that is, this same attitude of opposition to the events which he said must happen at Jerusalem.

Jesus chose and sent his brother/servant Judas to deliver him to the chief priests.

He who receives him whom Jesus sent, receives Jesus, and he who receives Jesus receives him who sent Jesus.

But if they have called him much more than Beelzebub, what can be said?

Jesus came in his Father's name, and they did not receive him.

I offer these words only in my own name.

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