Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

How Would A Person Have Known?

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. (Matthew 10:1-4 NKJV)


Who also Betrayed Him

It appears to me that the same power was given to Judas who betrayed the Lord as was given to the other disciples.  He apparently had power over unclean spirits and he apparently had power to heal.  I suppose people were led to trust in the Messiahship of the Lord through him.  And yet the Bible says he was a devil according to John in Chapter 6:  Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:70-71 NKJV)

Judas did not have a temporary lapse of judgment like Peter did when Peter denied knowing the Lord.  This matter of being a traitor or a devil or the son of perdition seems to have been his character from birth.  When the Lord prays for the apostles and for future believers, He says, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled (John 17:12 NKJV).”  The word son here does not mean that he was a child, it means that he is the offspring of perdition and has the character of his father. And yet, knowing all this the Lord chose him and commissioned him just like the other apostles. 

Why did the Lord Choose and Commission Judas?

The Lord chose and commissioned Judas to fulfill prophecy.  Peter confirms that in Acts 1:16-17 where he says, "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry."

I think He also did this to make us realize that it is very difficult to discern between those who are truly serving the Lord and those who are serving self and ultimately the devil.  We in the Western World want to be successful.  We want to plant big churches.  We want people to read our books.  We want large audiences and large collections in our churches. I am afraid most of us who say we serve the Lord have some problems with these issues.  To say that we do not seems to be saying that we should want to fail and that failing would make us more spiritual. Of course, it wouldn’t.

Who Should we Follow today?

The Bible says to follow or imitate those who prove they are good and not those who prove they are bad.  In the third epistle of John, the apostle cautioned Gaius to follow or imitate or support Demetrius who had a good report of all men and to not imitate or follow or support Diotrephes who wanted to be the boss controlling the church. John says he wasn’t even saved.  While Demetrius would be fairly easy to spot, a man like Judas might be more difficult to discern.

Frankly, I would never have picked Judas as a traitor.   The only clue might have been the fact that he wanted to handle the money and I suspect he wasn’t transparent regarding his records.  I know the Bible says we know prophets by their fruits and that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  I have no problem with knowing a good tasting apple tree from a sour crab apple tree.  But on every tree, there is some fruit that seems to have worms and may be rotten.  So, some problems in our lives do not make us a bad tree;  but being a crab apple tree should be obvious.  However, I don’t think it was obvious in Judas’ case.  The disciples didn’t seem to understand or complain about his actions until after he showed his true character.

My Concern

Obviously the only “good tree” that we should follow without question is the Lord Jesus.  That is why it is so necessary to read His Word and to come to a saving knowledge of Him.  Those that we follow and that mentor us should have the character of the Lord.  They should be humble.  They should be willing to die for us; they should not ask us to die for them.  We need to “lay hands suddenly” on no man, that is, don’t identify quickly with anyone who wants our loyalty.  Paul says, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure (1 Timothy 5:22 NKJV).“  Sometimes, we know something is wrong and we just won’t pray about it and face it.  Yet with all the admonitions in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, having to do with false teachers, false apostles, and false witnesses, we need to be praying that the Lord will give us discernment to be wise concerning those we follow.  We don’t want to question those with integrity, but we certainly don’t want to give license to those whose motives are wrong.

May the Lord give us grace and discernment regarding those whose material we read, those to whom we listen, and those that we support.  Sometimes we need to spend some time observing people who claim to be spiritual leaders before we follow them.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of January 12, 2019
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