Thursday, November 17, 2011
The names of many characters recorded in the Old Testament often try God's saints, who fear lest they should prove apostates, and be found destitute of the Spirit and image of Christ. Abel had to contend with Cain and his false religion, Noah with Ham, Sarah with Hagar, and her son Ishmael, David was beset and pestered with Saul, and Ahithophel, and many others had similar trials to endure. In the New Testament also we find many characters spoken of who seemed to resemble the real saints, and yet bore not the true image of Christ, and had not the secret of the Lord which is with them that fear him.
The foolish virgins were with the wise, and were not detected until the cry was made, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him."
The primitive church, in the midst of prosperity and joy, was suddenly troubled when it was revealed that Ananias and Sapphira his wife, who had so recently joined them, had not the secret of God in their souls, and were struck dead for deception, and lying against the Holy Ghost: "And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things." (Acts 5:11).
All the above-named characters were found amongst the servants and saints of God, who were liable to err in judgment through not being able to search the heart and read the real state of hypocrites or deceivers.
But why the blessed Lord himself who knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, should have had Judas for an apostle is a deep mystery indeed. That Judas was a disciple of Christ is certain, that he was ordained by Christ to preach is also certain, and that he was chosen to be an apostle with the eleven is also certain.
The Lord Jesus bestowed upon Judas, as he did upon the other apostles, gifts for the work of the ministry, and apostleship to which he had ordained him, and so much was he like the others that they did not suspect him, and though Christ had said, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil," yet it does not appear to have aroused the apostles to search out the particular one of whom he spake.
But upon the occasion of Jesus and his disciples keeping the passover for the last time before he suffered, he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." (John 13:21).
Then arose the searching inquiry, and the favoured disciple, who was leaning on Jesus' breast, by the request of Peter, put the close and solemn question, "Lord, who is it?"
Christ did not answer by giving the name of the betrayer, but replied, "He it is to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon." (John 13:26).
It was not until after Judas had received the sop that Satan entered into him.
"Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly" (John 13:27).
The eleven apostles understood not what Jesus meant by the last sentence; but Judas both knew and felt it: "He then having received the sop went immediately out; and it was night." (John 13:30).
The next we read of Judas is in John 18:3: "Judas, then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons."
The other three evangelists agree with John that Judas partook of the passover, but do not state that he went out before the bread and wine was administered by Jesus to the eleven; but John, who probably wrote his gospel after the rest, makes the matter plain, inasmuch as he speaks of the passover supper only, and omits to mention the bread and wine, which are the emblems of Christ's body and blood.
It was at the eating of the passover that Jesus dipped the sop and gave it to Judas, and when he had received it Satan entered into him: "He then having received the sop went immediately out." By this statement from the pen of John the Holy Ghost has, we consider, made it very clear that Judas was not at the Table of the Lord to partake of the emblems of his broken body and precious blood; for if he went immediately out after having received the sop, and was not seen again by Jesus and his disciples until he came with the band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, he could not have been present at the Lord's Table. Besides, when the Lord's Supper was administered, sop was not dipped in the cup which contained the wine; but was dipped in the dish that contained the supper of the passover.
The cup which contained the wine, the emblem of the blood of the Lord, was not given to the apostles until after the supper of the passover, at which Judas was present, was ended, as shown by Luke: "Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:20).
We think no one will venture to say that the blood of Jesus was shed for Judas. Jesus had said to the twelve, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70).
He had also told them that one of them should betray him.
Now can we suppose that the Lord of life and glory would say to the betrayer, and the one he called a devil, "This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me?" and "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you"?
Christ laid down his life for his sheep; he shed his blood for those only that were given to him by the Father, and these were chosen and loved in Christ, and can never fall out of him.
It is true Judas fell, but he was not a sheep.
He fell not out of God's love, for he was not in it.
He lost not the new birth, for he never had it.
He fell not from union to Christ, for he never experienced it; but he fell from the ministry and apostleship to which he had been called and ordained by Christ himself, that he might go to his own place.
It is, we again say, a deep mystery, and one that is calculated to make professors and ministers tremble, lest they should come short of eternal life and union with Christ, the living Head of his body, the church, who has said, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy Name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the sou of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled" (John 17:12).
We hope the foregoing remarks are sufficiently plain to prove that the Lord did not hand the bread and wine, the emblems of his own body and blood, to Judas; consequently ministers go too far when they assert that Judas partook of the Lord's Supper.
By James Dennett - Gospel Standard - 1886