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Jesus Accused Judas of Slander!

22 Sep

Slandering JesusOn the evening he was betrayed and immediately after the evening meal, Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he announced that they were spiritually clean, except for one of them (John 13:10-11). Judas was unclean, spiritually. What does this mean? For a few days now I have been looking at Judas’ heart. His loyalty to Jesus was divided by his commitment to a cause, presumably a political cause, so Judas was probably a Zealot or a member of a similar political group. 

More than any other Gospel narrative Luke writes about prayer. He begins and ends his Gospel in the Temple with someone praying. Jesus prayed in Luke 9:18, and immediately following that prayer, he asked the disciples who they thought he was. Peter immediately confessed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Luke 9:20). Peter’s statement was the direct result of Jesus’ prayer. Jesus said his Father always answered his prayers (John 11:41-42), so the fruit of Jesus’ prayer was the Father speaking his word to the disciples within their hearts (Matthew 16:17). So, Jesus must have been praying for evidence of this very matter. Jesus then told Peter he was listening to a “still small Voice” (cf. 1Kings 19:12) within him. He didn’t learn this from a man, but from God alone. This was a spiritual breakthrough for the disciples in their walk with Christ.

Notice, however, what happened almost immediately afterward. On the way back from Caesarea Philippi where Peter made his confession, Jesus began teaching the disciples that he would go to Jerusalem and suffer many things and finally be killed, but he would rise again (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:31). As they were walking, he spoke of his death, because, since they were listening to the “still small Voice” within, they should have been able to understand why he must die. Nevertheless, while Jesus was speaking and walking with them, Peter took him aside to rebuke him (Mark 8:32), believing the Messiah doesn’t die but leads the oppressed Jews out from under the yoke of bondage. Mark 8:33 says that Jesus immediately turned around to look at the disciples. It was as though Jesus paused here before rebuking Peter to look at the one who was speaking to them instead of his Father.

Judas and Peter probably had a chat about what Jesus began teaching them. The voice of Judas became a competitor of the “still small Voice” within the others. Judas was louder and convincing. Nevertheless, Jesus told Peter to get in step behind him, because Peter was listening to the voice of a man, an enemy, and not of God (Mark 8:33). Judas was living out the role of a slanderer (John 6:70),[1] telling the other disciples that Jesus really was mistaken about his role as Messiah. The Scriptures plainly teach that it was Judas who was mistaken and Jesus fulfilled his role very deliberately! Judas was spiritually unclean and worked against the spiritual breakthroughs of the other disciples.

Most likely, Judas, and not Peter, was the most outspoken of the apostles. Peter was groomed by Christ to listen to that “still small Voice” within (Luke 22:32; Matthew 16:15-17), but Judas was one who thought he already knew. Peter’s spiritual blindness was being healed through Christ, but Judas trusted in himself, in his own understanding. Judas thought he knew Jesus, and was unaware of his own spiritual blindness within (cf. John 9:39-41). Judas spoke out when he thought others were doing wrong (John 12:3-5), not so much for the sake of righteousness but for lost opportunity to advance his own cause. At other times, possibly because he felt he might be rebuked, he influenced the others to speak out against an assumed wrong (cf. Mark 14:3-6 & 10-11). He was a hindrance to the spiritual growth of the others, because he was spiritually unclean (John 13:10-11).

At times it is difficult to “see” or “hear” what the Lord wants to do or say today. I need to focus on him—shutting out the world around me, and let **him** speak to me. The world—religious, political or moral that often seems so correct—needs to be silenced, while I seek Jesus and him alone. I need to consider my heart and be assured Jesus is my Way, my Truth and my Life. The alternatives often seem good, wise and pleasing, but they are not eternal, and they are not what the Lord wants me to build my life around. I need to fill my heart with Jesus, and may the abundance of his love deposited there overflow to others in whatever I say here. I want to lift him up for all to see. Praise God!

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[1] The term devil (diabolos G1228) means accuser or slanderer (2Timothy 2:3, 11; Titus 2:3). The fact that it is nearly always translated “devil” often obscures its real meaning or the intent of the Scriptures.

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Posted by on September 22, 2009 in Gospel of Luke

 

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