A Chosen Betrayer
I would think that if I prayed all night, and then carefully chose those to join with me in a task, that I could count on God to make sure that I made the right choices. Now I might still make some mistakes, but certainly if Jesus was the one doing the all night praying, His choices would be spot on. Then why is Judas Iscariot included in the innermost circle chosen by Jesus?
“Now it happened in these days Jesus got away to the mountain to pray. He prayed to God through the night, and when it became day, He summoned His disciples. Then He chose from them twelve, the ones He named apostles:
Simon, who He named Peter, and Andrew, his brother, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, the one called Zealot, and Judas, son of James, and Judas, Iscariot, who became a traitor.“ Luke 6:12-16
Luke will present the early church following Jesus’ example as they pray (and sometimes fast) before important decisions are made (Acts 6:6, 13:2-3 and 14:23). As a pastor with the elders of our church, I followed this example. I expected God to lead us to the right decisions about people and choices. But Luke introduces a lot of tension in the story when he mentions that after praying all night, Jesus still chose Judas.
Let’s not jump too quickly to the resolution of the Story. At this point early in Jesus’ ministry Judas is included in the list of those who will become the foundational leaders of the church. Luke does signal that he will become one of the “bad guys” in the Story but in the inner circle they would have never guessed.
I need to realize that divine guidance doesn’t mean that the choices He leads me to make will all end up in close groups of perfect harmony and dependability. Jesus prayed and chose, but there was still a traitor in His inner circle.
LORD, if Jesus needed to pray to You all night about strategic decisions in His ministry, how much more I need to keep following His example. When I do this, help me not to second guess when it appears that some of the choices didn’t turn out too great. Help me to accept the reality that there is real tension and even betrayal in Your Story.
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