Vol. 4, No. 5
~ Page 11 ~
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve" (John 6:70-71). Yes, Jesus had a devil! He had twelve apostles and one of them was a devil! In what sense was Judas a devil? Obviously, it was in the sense that he gave in to what the devil desired him to do.
Some have said, "Judas was a devil from the beginning." The Bible does not say this. When Jesus chose Judas along with the other eleven apostles, they all had the potential of being loyal to the Lord. At some time, Judas allowed Satan to lead him to be deceptive and covetous and to be a traitor. Jesus knew he became like this even before he actually betrayed the Lord. One of the efforts of Satan to persuade Judas to do this bidding is in John 13:2, which says, "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him."
The devil put into the heart of Judas ideas and desires which caused him to betray the Lord. This cannot mean that the devil forced something into the heart (or mind) of Judas, because Judas was a person of freewill. Just like us, God gave him the power to make decisions. He could have decided not to do Satan's bidding. He exercised his power to make decisions and decided to let Satan's desires enter his heart.
It is true that according to Dr. Luke's account in Acts Chapter One, Peter said David prophesied that Judas would let Satan guide him. But, this does not mean Judas did not exercise his own freewill.
The Book of Acts is the greatest treatise on evangelism. The Holy Spirit guided Dr. Luke to put in the very first part of that book the horrible spectacle of Judas "falling headlong" from where he had hanged himself, and "he burst asunder and his bowels gushed out."
I can conceive that cynics, skeptics and other critics may have paused, held their noses to avoid the obnoxious odor and looked upon the gushed out bowels of one of the apostles of Jesus Christ and said, "He was one of that Jesus bunch, wasn't he?" Why did the Holy Spirit direct the beloved physician to write of that despicable scene of the fruits of transgression on the part of one of the Lord's apostles right in the front of the greatest book on evangelism? We may never know in this world the right answer or answers to this question. However, the answer might be that God is saying in Acts One that regardless of what happened, even if it was the transgression and awful end of an apostle of Jesus Christ, his Gospel would be spread! The seed would be sown! The Word would be proclaimed! Sinners would be brought to the Savior!
Compared to the world's population, there are very few preachers in the churches of Christ. Occasionally, one of them gives in to Satan, just as Judas did. Gospel preachers are people, too! Like all other humans, they have the power to make decisions. No one, not a woman, not another man, not even the devil, can make a preacher or anyone else do wrong if he does not want to!
When a Gospel preacher falls and betrays his Lord, that does not mean the Lord is wrong. That does not mean the Lord's church is wrong. That does not mean the Gospel is wrong. Right is right if everybody does wrong!
When a Gospel preacher falls away from the Lord, Christians should pray he will turn back to the Lord. Jesus had many disciples who "went back and walked no more with him" (John 6:66), but they could have gone back to the Master.
When a Gospel preacher gives in to Satan, that is no cause for the church to quit its work for the Lord. It is a time to do more than ever for the "King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:15). It is a time for faithful Gospel preachers and all other Christians to remember, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." It is a time to keep sowing the seed of the kingdom!