Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.
Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who would betray Him.
“Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
But Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have come to believe You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot…
This passage of scripture from John 6:63-70 is intriguing to me. The first thing I realize is: no one has been rejected more than Jesus. And because of his natural feelings as a man, this must have been painful.
But then He turns to His original twelve and gives them a way out also. I love (let me repeat, I love) Peter’s response. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have come to believe You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Isn’t that the truth? Once you’ve received any amount of revelation of Jesus as the Son of the Living God, how can you leave? And where would you go? (Back to hell…?)
But it’s what Jesus said in response to Peter that used to stump me.
Instead of saying, “Good answer” or “True” or any other positive affirmation, Jesus said, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve, and one of you is a devil?” I used to read this and hear contempt in His voice–like He was agitated. But that didn’t make sense to me, so I asked the Holy Spirit to help me understand. And then I got it.
Not with contempt, or frustration, but with a smile on His face and relief in His voice, Jesus said, “Did I not choose you…?” In other words, He chose well–they all stayed. Even the betrayer.
Jesus knows the hearts of men. The Bible says He knew from the beginning who would believe, and who wouldn’t. The funny thing is, we can’t always discern our own heart.
Or can we?
As I put myself in this story, I thought what it must have felt like for Jesus to say, “…and one of you is a devil.” What a shocker that must have been! You’d think He would’ve called any one of the deserters a devil, but no, He said one who stayed and was still standing there was a devil.
Peter, John, Matthew, and all the others must’ve thought to themselves, “Oh God, let it not be me…”
But I imagine Judas also said in his heart, “Not me.”
And that’s the picture of deception. Humility will check itself, but pride will exonerate itself. Judas had no idea how deceived he was. But in reality, could he have really betrayed Jesus if he wasn’t?
My point is, listen to your heart. Be careful of justifying or exonerating yourself. God doesn’t want us to be deceived so He put a light in our heart to help us find the way. The devil has many tools of deception, but the last area to conquer is the heart. So listen to your response to righteous challenges. Always humble yourself before God, asking Him first before assuming you’re not guilty.
Many will fall away in the last days, but it doesn’t have to be you and me. May we regularly learn to say: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). I promise He’ll show you.