Friday, March 20, 2009

How Do You Explain That?

Recently, I've been outlining the Gospel of John in preparationn to use the material in the near future (more on that in the weeks to come). During my studies, I came across this verse in John 6:70, where Jesus says to the disciples "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil." Notice that He doesn't say 'one of you has a devil', but rather 'one of you is a devil'. Yet, the beginning of the verse says that He chose them. So, how do explain that Jesus would choose a devil for one of his staff (and the treasurer nonetheless)?

One explanation, popular among some circles (though not mine), is that 'we simply can't understand God's mysterious ways'. But, I can't buy that; not because we can't understand Him (though there are times we can't, just because He is God), but because it's too easy to just pass it off. Perhaps I won't offer a definitive conclusion on the 'why', especially since the text doesn't tell us. But, there are principles we do know that we can apply in each situation.

First, God knows all things. This includes the death, disease and destruction that will wreck the world in the future. But, His foreknowledge does not equal His approval of such tragedy.

Second, Judas apparently did his job well, because we never see Jesus filing for bankruptcy. Judas was even a thief and the ministry showed no signs of struggling financially.

Third, God gives everyone the same chance. We all make mistakes, do sin and fall short of the glory of God. But the same grace is offerred freely to all of us if we'll repent and do the right things. Judas and Peter both sinned, but one chose to run to God in repentance and the other chose to run away from God and eventually took his own life.

So, I ask 'how do you explain that?'. You don't explain it. But you do recognize that if God chose people as wicked as Judas, he surely has a plan for someone he has made righteous by His blood, set apart by His Spirit, and called according to His purpose.