Mark 3:13-19 ESV – And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
There are so many thoughts and questions going through my mind as I read this section of scripture. Why did Jesus choose just these guys? Why Judas? What was ministry like for the 12 apostles? …and so many others.
What pops out at me most is that Jesus called them for a specific purpose: to be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and cast out demons. Of course, Jesus, in His divinity, knew that Judas would betray Him, and there are many answers as to why he was chosen. What gets me is that Judas was doing ministry right alongside the others. He was preaching and casting out demons. The question that resonates in my mind is: Could I end up like him?
Jesus says in Matthew 7:22-23 –
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
That’s what happened to Judas. He was doing ministry, prophesying, casting out demons, and doing mighty works for the name of the Lord, yet he was a worker of lawlessness. I felt the call of Christ. I’m preaching and trying to reach a dying world for His name. Granted, I’m not much of an exorcist, but I am trying to do ministry. Could I be a betrayer? That’s the haunting question, isn’t it?
The fact is, I am. I betray Christ daily in my actions and in my thoughts. The difference between Judas and myself: I know that it’s not my good works, preaching, prophesying, or exorcising that gets me in good with the Father. It’s Christ and Christ alone.
Judas thought that the ministry would save him. This is why when the super-expensive oil was poured on Jesus’ head, Judas thought it was a waste. “Wait a minute! This isn’t good ministry!” He failed to realize that ministry in and of itself is just as worthless as 30 pieces of silver. We do ministry because of what Christ has already done.
So, the fact is, I am not. Even though my actions and thoughts betray Christ, He is the One who keeps and sustains me. Salvation is not about what I think or say; it’s about what Christ did.
2 Timothy 2:13 ESV – if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.