THE DISMISSAL OF JUDAS: Part 1 (with Maclaren’s commentary)

Tuesday: April 7, 2020

John 13:27 And after Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

Normally, I do not spend a lot of time on commentaries, but for a very unusual reason, I was drawn to a commentary by Maclaren on a particular verse from today’s text and dear, I lost track of time. The exposition painted dimensions of a statement which while appearing simple, contained deep content, a couple of which I would like to share with you over the next posts:

1. “The true actor in a man’s deeds is the hidden man of the heart’.

Regardless of the instrument of execution, whether the mouth, hands or other organs, a thing is done when the man has resolved, with a fixed will to do it. The betrayal by Judas does not take place in a single moment, it was a process that had been nurtured till the point at the supper table. The process had not been interrupted or altered hence Jesus considered it ‘completed’. Therefore, ‘it is what we think in our hearts that we are and our fixed determinations and inclinations of will are more truly our doings than consequences of these’. A fixed and unbending resolve is nothing less than the deed itself.

2. There is a breaking point

Maclaren writes that ‘there is no man in this world so all round sold out to sin as the seeking love of God gives him up as irreclaimable. I do not believe there are any people concerning whom it is impossible for the grace of God to find some chunk and cranny in their souls through which it can enter and change them. There are no hopeless cases as long as men are here’.

However, he further presents that in our nature, there comes moments when each of us gets into positions with particular evil or something where we sink our teeth in and plant our feet at such an angle of resistance that God gives up dealing with us, and ‘leaves us’, placed in quotes for a reason. When we become so determined to ignore the pleadings and beseeching of divine love, the reins are let go and as we gallop into the sweat and weariness, we become more amenable to touch of this love afterwards.

At the supper, Judas was still offered a piece of bread by Jesus, a signal of friendship even at that exact moment when he had described who would betray Him. In effect, Judas knew that Jesus knew of what he intended to do. Nonetheless, he set his teeth against these two things: ‘the solemn conviction that Jesus knew his sin and the saving assurance that Jesus Christ still loved him’. He shut his heart against Christ and thus by rejecting Him, opened it up to the devil. And in truth, any person who resists both avenues as Judas did, leans perilously to the point where in pity, God says ‘I have called but you have refused. Now go do as you please and see how you like it.’ He watches on from a distance. That is the breaking point described.

To be continued:


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