Sunday, March 11, 2007

thank god for judas

this was a thought that hit me a couple of months ago but i have held it in. yet, it has not gone away. "in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in..." so here it is.

thank god for judas. thank god that there was a man who was exactly who judas was at exactly the time that he was needed in order to fulfill what needed to be fulfilled. and i wonder...was that who judas was created to be? did judas fulfill the portion for his life in accomplishing all the grand designs of the father? because it would seem to me that we all are unique beings in ourselves. a unique mix of thoughts, ideals, philosophies, and actions. how many of these things can we change or shape on our own? and how many of these things are innate to our being? placed within us by a being far greater than ourselves who has a bigger picture in hand. so this raises two questions for me.
1)were people who we commonly villify needful for the task at hand to accomplish something specific on the scale of human history?
2)do we run amiss by thinking that we are to strive to accomplish the things god asked of the apostles instead of knowing who we are and what god would ask of us as unique individuals?

the villians - it seems interesting the results of some of histories worst villians. judas is just one example. what about saul of tarsus? he was zealous for god. to the point of going about, house to house, and finding, arresting, and even handing over to death those who belonged to the cult of people who were into jesus and his message. as a result, these people who were comfortable at home scattered to the four winds, bringing the kingdom with them and spreading it further into the world. interesting that paul was there in the beginning and actually willing to obey god and stand up for god enough to give birth to the persecutions that would begin 'missions'. and that as soon as this was accomplished, paul's eyes were 'opened' and he then had to bear the brunt of the persecutions that he himself started. but this thing was needful. thank god that paul was a blind and hardened asshole right when he needed to be for the good of all mankind. i believe that through the whole thing he was doing what was in his heart for him to do.

and what about everyone's favorite scapegoat and villian? adolf hitler. was this man accomplishing the things that were put in his heart to do? was he who he was supposed to be? because at the end of the day, it is doubtful that the jews would have been allowed back into israel in such extreme numbers if he wasn't the twisted murderous freak that he was. but he accomplished what was needful. to bring the jews back home, as promised. and also bringing about the current stage of events, that also is needful. we may not like it, but it has happened all the same, and we can't deny that. so, in doing such horrible things, with the end results being what they were, the question that still sticks out in my mind is this... were these people being obedient in doing these things?

let's save question two for next time...


jON said...

hey folks, if you happen to get here, please pray for me. today i have a class scheduled that i am teaching managers on how to make schedules. my hope is that if this goes well and they enjoy success from my advice that word will spread and people will hire me on as an independant consultant. if it does not turn out that way, i will need to seek employment elsewhere. things depend on the outcome of today. it would be nice to find success in this vein and be able to be my own boss and write my own schedule so that i may be more available to my family when they need me. it is harder and harder for erin to care for zaavan as she gets bigger with baby, and she needs me around more.

jON said...

well, well. class went well today. it was my first shot, so i hope things went well on the learners' end.

right after class, the OD (manager supervisor) pulled me aside to say that he and the 3 other ODs in town are saddened and outraged to have lost my services and they are going to try to do what they can to push to have a different position, a little more suited to my talents and the needs of the area, created for me. so that was encouraging to hear. to know that outrage was being had on my behalf.

and i just got a call a couple of minutes ago from a different OD who wants me to schedule a couple of days to meet one on one with a couple of his managers to go over the scheduling things i know. so there's that as well.

a success in the short term and hope for the long term. please keep praying. thanks.

Dena G said...

I'm praying, my friend.

The whole "Judas and the rest of the bad guys" thing is a VERY interesting topic...and one I've pondered more than once. I never arrived at any conclusive answers to MY's nice, though, to hear someone else asking the same things!

I may be back later with more to say...

jON said...

thanks for the prayers. we've really felt them. honestly. it's been good to feel them and know where they're coming from.

yeah, it's something i've been thinking about recently for the first time. i know however that, nate, er, (cough, cough) almost got kicked out of the house for the very same thought many years ago so i would L-O-V-E to hear that story. i've only heard bits and pieces, but i would like to hear the real story front to end if you would oblige me.

with sugar on top?

Susan said...

Jon, hope things are going well job wise.

In regard to Judas and the other 'bad guys' I think we seriously underestimate God's ability to bring good out of bad situations. God doesn't need the 'bad guys' in order to achieve His purposes. God's purposes cannot be thwarted, which is actually what the 'bad guys' are trying to do. So it is divine irony that God uses them for immense good. And then God laughs! (Psalm 2:4) (because it is laughable that people could outsmart God or thwart His plans)

Wendy ftfs said...

It is totally laughable, Susan

You know, it took me a long time in my life to realize that,yes,there is real evil in the world ... I didn't want to believe it and I understand where you are coming from in this respect.

There are many examples throughout of the Lord maneuvering people to bring His plan about.

Prov. 16
1 To man belong the plans of the heart,but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue. All a man's ways seem innocent to him,but motives are weighed by the LORD.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do,and your plans will succeed. The LORD works out everything for his own ends— even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Hannah's prayer in
1 Samuel

"The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
"For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's;
upon them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his saints,but the wicked will be silenced in darkness. "It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed."

In John 6 Jesus had just taught about eating His flesh and drinking his blood to have eternal life ... he had also just performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes and was seen by his apostles walking on the water during stormy weather. He lost some followers that day because of the flesh and blood thing...

"For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.
So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?"
Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.
"We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."
Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you,the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?"
Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.

jON said...

"God doesn't need the 'bad guys' in order to achieve His purposes."
once again, not taking an argumentative stance. just curious. really? if god does not need the 'bad guys', who was supposed to kill jesus? if it was enough for him to simply die, why not slit his own throat in the wilderness? or why not simply ask one of his disciples to kill him outright? was it not necessary for jesus' death to occur? and to occur in the manner that it did? so did god not need the men who plotted against jesus to plot against him and bring about his death in the way they did? didn't god need someone to nail jesus down?

"God's purposes cannot be thwarted, which is actually what the 'bad guys' are trying to do." once again, is that really what the 'bad guys' are trying to do? is that really the intention of their hearts? to say, 'god is trying to accomplish something here and i want to stand in the way of that'? i can only speculate, but in the examples of the aforementioned crucifiction and persecution of early christians, those who did the crucifying and those who did the persecuting (jewish leaders) were doing so in order to accomplish god's will, were they not? that is what their desire was, and that is what was in their heart. though, of course with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that these men were in fact not operating in accordance with the spirit of god and his true character, but at the same time, in doing these things they were in fact a very integral part of accomplishing things that god wanted accomplished. and it does not seem to be an accident. it seems to be an intentional part of the plan.

"So it is divine irony that God uses them for immense good."
which brings me back to my question, 'is it really divine irony?' would things still have flowed smoothly into god's purposes if jesus were not crucified? would the gospel have spread outward if there were no reason to flee from the city? wendy even quoted a verse which still begs the question, "Did I Myself not choose you,the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?" jesus chose judas on purpose. was it because he thought that judas was going to be a stand-up guy and judas ended up disappointing him? but even through the disappointment god was able to bring about something better? or was it a foregone conclusion that this man judas would be the 'son of perdition', and that is who he was created to be and the reason why jesus chose him?

two more passages to throw in the mix...
MT 19:28"And Jesus said to them, 'Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'"

Is.45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these."

Wendy ftfs said...

That's right, Jon and this very character of our Father has been white washed and watered down. Why? Fear,I think.
He takes full responsibility for all that goes on here. That is the third scripture we have come across to back that up.
I did notice Matthew 19:28 in my reading as well ... I don't know if that meant to include Judas ... none of us do ... he was called a devil and was chosen because he would be guaranteed to act accordingly to set up what he thought would be the death of God. In Luke 22:3 it says that Satan entered Judas before he went to meet with the chief priests ... and after there was sincere remorse ... He throws the money back and says "I have betrayed innocent blood" ... is he remorseful because He realizes he is damned forever or is He remorseful because he was used to sin against Jesus the one who would pay the price for his betrayal. Does he hang himself to rid himself of the devil in him or does he hang himself to go quicker to his damnation? Interesting questions. It is not ours to judge ... there is one thing for sure though, God had it all in control and let everyone know that, when He told His disciples that He could call twelve legions of angels to His side who would have no problem freeing Him and destroying His enemies.

Susan said...

A few more thoughts:
"God doesn't need the 'bad guys' in order to achieve His purposes."
As humans we tend to think there is only way to do anything whereas I think God has many ways of achieving His purposes. So sending Jesus into a fallen world was a death sentence from the outset because the devil would be working to destroy Him. If Judas had resisted the devil then the devil would have found another candidate which I think is expressed when Jesus says, "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!" Matthew 26:24.
(Taken to an extreme if there weren't any bad guys then God would not have purposed salvation so my point becomes meaningless.)

"God's purposes cannot be thwarted, which is actually what the 'bad guys' are trying to do."
Perhaps I didn't express this well. The 'bad guys' are not consciously trying to thwart God's plans but rather they have unknowingly been sucked in by the devil to do his bidding. For example I would argue that the devil tempted Hilter into destroying the Jews because the Jews are part of God's divine long term plan. The devil knows it and was trying to thwart God's purposes but Hilter probably didn't know or understand that.

"So it is divine irony that God uses them for immense good."
God's superior knowledge is something that is very hard to get one's head around. I actually wrote something about this on my blog a few weeks ago, you can read it here Wendy also made some good points in the comments.

Wendy ftfs said...

"So sending Jesus into a fallen world was a death sentence from the outset because the devil would be working to destroy Him."

That's an interesting thought ... God certainly made himself vulnerable but He did not come without power to save himself and others ... He was in total charge the whole time ... and did not allow His flesh to be harmed until He was ready to allow it ... therefore the GIFT of salvation.

And as far as Judas is concerned ... He is not our concern ... we will not be carrying out judgment on Judas ... we need to be watching for His return ...

check this out ... :-)

Matthew 24

Be Ready for His Coming

"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

"For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
"Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? "Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.
"Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
"But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Nate said...

So you have finally come around to this thinking. The thing that got dad so riled up was this question, "Do you think that Judas will be honored in the kingdom for being the instrument that helped the salvation come about, according to God's plan?"

Now, hopefully everyone knows, that almost all people feel that what they are doing is the right thing to do. Even as they kill another person with intent to kill, they believe they are justified. Also, many things about predestination are put in about what talents God has given people before they are born. Just put the right person in the right place at the right time, and viola, you have your will done. It is the essence of business, get the right person, with the right talent, and the right judgement, you will get your results. God created the "Bad Guys" just as much as he created the "Good Guys." Also, if you read the old testament, how many times did he have other kings rise up and make war on Israel, and they beat Israel. How many people died becasue of God's lessons.

A lot of this ties directly back to why would God choose the duplicitous Rebecca to be Jacob's mother. A oportunistic Jacob to be his chosen vasal, and to allow both of them to decieve Isaac. Because, it was what needed to happen. The fued started between Isaac and Ishmael was so bad, that it is still being carried on today. The Crusaders, definately following God's edicts, caused the emnity of the muslim world to fall also on the Anglo-Saxons because of their disregard of the hospitality rights of the muslim faith. God will be vicious to get the end he desires. He sent an angel to kill Balaam. He sent the Israelites into slavery in Egypt. The Assyrians slaughtered them. On and on and on....

So in my opinion, the answer to the first question is, yes. God created the person, placed the appropriate tendencies in them, to carry out what needed to be carried out at the time. The atrocities that happened to the Jews in WWII, God had done to them many times before. As with the Assyrians, Hitler got them the promised land back. God does love us, and is benevolent to us. But God is also a jealous God, and a God that punishes us way beyond what mere men would punish. For on judgement day, they will be cast into a lake of fire. That is pretty mean.

I think that the reticense that I see in the other posts, is the utter belief that our God would not do something like that. But read the bible, and you will see that he has over and over again. But for those in his will, his benevolence is even greater. My God is a father. He causes punishments to happen, lets you feel the pain, causes you to know that you have done wrong, then wraps his loving arms around you, to let you know he loves you. It is like a child with a stove, and learning what the word HOT really means. Every child that I know of, burns their hand on the stove. It is a learning thing. It teaches the child to trust mom and dad when they say something is bad. But allowing the child to do it is cruel. But it is the best thing for them. God using the bad men, to so the distastful things that need to be done, is just that, cruel, but in the end, a good thing.

jON said...

i don't know if i've necessarily 'come around' to anything. it was just a reflexive reaction in my spirit the last time i read through the gospels to think to myself, 'thank god for judas.' i'm glad he did what he did. i am. because it had to get done. and let me tell you. i'm glad it wasn't me. so, again, thank god for judas.