An Exhortation from Last Sunday's Sermon
Jesus’ prediction that one of the twelve would be His betrayer, which was also foretold in Scripture, now comes true as Judas approaches. Matthew reminds us that he was “one of the twelve,” that is, he was a one-time disciple, a friend, a trusted associate. This reminder serves to emphasize the treachery of that night and “the enormity of his offense” (Morris). One commentator remarks that the phrase, “one of the twelve” was, “Repeated not for information, but as the literary reflection of the chronic horror of the apostolic church that such a thing should be possible” (Bruce).
Calvin saw here an encouragement for genuine believers to pursue God that much more. He wrote, “We who are His disciples ought to worship God with sincerity; for the apostasies, which we see every day, excite us to fear, and to the cultivation of true godliness.” When we look at Judas, we ought to fear for our own souls. If one of the twelve can be the great betrayer of our Lord, we should all watch ourselves lest we fall into the same temptation to leave the Lord and ultimately lose our souls forever.
While it is easy for us to quickly pass judgment on the selfishness, pettiness, cowardice, and betrayal of Judas and leave it at that, let us instead see his testimony as an admonition. The path of apostasy is close for those who continue to flirt with self-trust. Judas jumped ship when things were looking bleak for Jesus, and he ended up miserable and hopeless because, after all, there is no hope outside of Christ. Let us not follow the same path.