Judas’ departure from the Upper Room sent shock waves through the hearts of the other eleven. Christ was not taken by surprise, for the Bible says in John chapter six, But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him (6:64). Needless to say, the hearts of those men was made to melt by the startling news that Judas was betraying the Lord and that Peter was going to deny the Lord.
A life in ministry is a catalogue of those who come and those who go. Any preacher has an encyclopedia of pains in his heart for those who have come and then turned back on biblical discipleship. From a preacher’s point-of-view, I have often seen the background of these decisions and have carried with me details of their departure that no one else in the church knew [this is why you should trust your pastor]. This information might have been sin in that believer’s life or facts related to their interaction with fellow believers in the church family. However, when these “disciples” leave it stirs doubts and uncertainties in the hearts of those most faithful. Satan uses these doubts to place rifts between believers and their pastor and their church.
How do we inoculate ourselves from Judas’ evil influence?
Stay with Jesus anyway!
John chapters thirteen through seventeen are the golden soil of the Upper Room Discourse. These were Christ’s last instructions to His church. When Judas left the church in chapter thirteen, Jesus’ teaching in that same text exposed those who had been washed (saved) and those who were not, hence He said, “Ye are clean, but not all” (13:10).
Therefore, when Judas left the Upper Room, the church had been rid of the “goat” and the “sheep” remained. Christ by His preaching had separated the “wheat” from the “tare.” Thank God, the Church had been purified!
When Judas leaves the church, STAY anyway! Be faithful to Christ and to His people! Think of all the truths the disciples heard and experienced by remaining with the Lord!
- Chapter 14- truths about Heaven (14:1-4), Salvation (14:6), the Comforter (14:15-31)
- Chapter 15- abiding in Christ and fruit-bearing
- Chapter 16- work of the Holy Spirit (16:1-16), Holy Spirit and prayer (16:23-28), help in tribulation (16:32-33)
- Chapter 17- the Lord’s prayer- audience to Christ speaking to His Father about THEM!
You see, when you stay, you receive precious truths that those who leave miss! When you stay, you prove the sincerity of your love and the depth of your loyalty. When you stay, you are saying, “I am not here because of or in spite of Judas; I am here because Jesus called me to be His disciple.”
Do not follow Judas out the back door, for you do not know why he is leaving. For you it might be immaturity and blind loyalty; for him, the flesh and the Devil has made a deliberate decision against the person of Jesus Christ. If you have a preacher that loves you and preaches the book, stay anyway! If you have a church that stands for the truth, wins souls and stays faithful in a compromising generation, stay!
Many times my heart has broken for those who have left, but, thanks be to God, many of the faithful have stayed! Eternity shall reveal the results of their faithfulness. Amen.
Part 3 soon to come….