"(Not) Being Judas"

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By: Katie Rath

John 13:21, “…Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.’” (NIV)


In the scope of intimacy in relationships, there are three main commitments. The first is the initial decision to be a couple. The second step, surprisingly, is marriage, while the third step is the commitment made by the spouses to remain together every day for the rest of their lives. If any one of these steps fails, the relationship fails.

Intimacy with Jesus follows the same three-step pattern as romantic relationships. “Dating” Jesus involves all of the excitement, confusion, struggles, and happiness that come with initially getting to know Jesus. Your “marriage” comes when you choose to commit your life to Him and are baptized. Your third step after saying “I do” to Jesus is your journey with Him for the rest of your Christian life.

John 13:21-30 gives us representations of these three steps of intimacy through the apostles Peter, John, and Judas. This scene is at the Last Supper, and Jesus declares that someone will betray Him. Peter is sitting far from Jesus, so he asks John to find out who He means. If we know anything about Peter from Scripture, we know he is passionate, although not always for the right reasons. (So passionate, in fact, that he later chops off a man’s ear.) This story illustrates that Peter is neither close enough to Jesus in proximity or in intimacy, making him the representation of Intimacy Picture #1. John acts on Peter’s behalf because John trusts his relationship with Jesus enough to ask the hard questions. John, the one Jesus loved, literally leans on Jesus to ask who will betray Him. There are few better pictures of a close relationship than this. John has a deep and meaningful closeness with Jesus, making him the ideal portrait of Intimacy Picture #3. Then here comes the hard one. Judas said “I do” to Jesus when he became an apostle, fulfilling step #2. But when he takes the bread in verse 30, he fails at continuing on to step 3 in our intimacy models. Judas walks away from, and effectively divorces, Jesus.

It’s hard to swallow that we all do this. Even if we are initially on fire for God, get baptized, and live for Him, we frequently make bad choices and sin. We, like Judas, are choosing to divorce Jesus, to separate ourselves from Him. Sometimes we go back, and sometimes in the most discouraging instances, we voluntarily never go back, and we leave for good. I imagine God has abandonment issues; all He wants to do is love us forever, but we would rather lie or gossip or cheat on a test or look at pornography than to be intimate with the one true God. We walk away from the greatest thing we could ever have, like Judas did. God wants so much more for us than the pain and confusion, and ultimately death, that comes with walking away from Him. What would it take for us to stop being Judas?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we come before You humbled by Your continued love for us. We are overwhelmed by our human sin nature and our desire to choose this material and temporary world over You. You are all we need in this life, and we know that You provide the rest. We pray now that we stop being like Judas, that we resist more strongly temptations to walk away from You. Help us to learn that nothing is better than living every day of our lives in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set-apart Young Woman, by Leslie Ludy

Authentic Beauty: Going Deeper Study Guide, by Leslie Ludy

Think About It:

Is my relationship with Jesus like Intimacy Picture #1 (Dating), 2 (Marriage), or 3 (Lifelong commitment & intimacy)?

What would it take for me to stop being Judas and continue on in step 3?

Live It:

One of the most likely reasons we sin is because we choose to do things our own ways instead of asking God the hard questions, like John. Try journaling or writing down prayers and be open and honest with God. Honesty is absolutely necessary in having a more intimate relationship with Jesus.

Power Verses:

Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (NIV)

Mark 12:30, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (NIV)



© 2009 by Katie Rath. All rights reserved.

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