Several years ago, in my former pathology group, my partners and I were meeting to discuss an applicant who was interviewing for our vacant laboratory manager’s position. We each spent about a half-hour interviewing him. As we waited for our final partner, Jake, to join us, we began discussing our mutual experiences. An hour quickly sped by and looking at the time, one of my partners remarked, “Where’s Jake?” As if on queue, Jake appeared at the door, grinning and bubbly.
“Sorry! Just finished interviewing the applicant.”
“That was a long half-hour!” One of my partners sarcastically commented.
“Yeah…” Jake began. “There was something that just wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it so I knew what I needed to do. I extended the interview for another 90 minutes.” Jake winked at all of us.
Several partners laughed and one exuberantly exclaimed, “You broke him! Jake! You did it again!”
My partner, Jake, had a notorious reputation of talking a prospective applicant’s ears off. He loved to regale us with stories of how he would wear an applicant down until they either let their guard down or literally had a near-psychotic break because of sheer boredom, disinterest, or frustration. Regardless, their true nature was quickly revealed and a decision was easily reached. In this case, the applicant grew so frustrated with my partner’s questioning that he literally lost it and began swearing at him.
How long does one have to be with another person before their true nature is revealed? Some people can authoritatively state that all they need is a minute and they will know. With this unfortunate applicant, it was two hours. I don’t know what the answer is but I know from experience that one’s true nature may not be revealed for months or even years, even with prolonged and close contact. I have had several bad experiences with former employees and business associates who turned on me only after many years of close cooperation. If only I had the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
John 6:70-71 (ESV)
Liberal Bible scholars and critics have caustically pointed out that Jesus could not have been an omniscient God if He willingly chose a disciple who would betray Him. Yet it is clear from this passage from the Gospel of John and other Bible passages, that Jesus knew beforehand that Judas would betray even when He selected Him. Why would He choose to do this?
And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
Matthew 26:49-50 (ESV)
When Judas betrayed Jesus Christ, his signal to the Jewish chief priests was the man he kissed would be Jesus. Jesus knew what was about to happen and could have stopped it, but, in an astounding act of love and kindness, Jesus offered Judas an opportunity to repent by calling him “friend.”
Judas was a disciple of Jesus for more than three years but from the beginning, Jesus knew his true character. During this entire time, Jesus was not being duped, He was offering Judas an opportunity to repent and seek forgiveness for his sins, even to the moment of his betrayal. Instead, in the end, he chose to betray Jesus.
I may desire to have the omniscient and all-knowing power of God, to know the true nature of everyone I meet, but am I also willing to extend my grace and mercy to someone who I know will or has knowingly betrayed me? This is the unfathomable love of God. For so many years, I was like Judas. I was willing to follow the crowd and pretend to be a good godly person. I associated with other good people and even convinced myself that I was as good or even better than they. God was patient with me and continually extended His grace and mercy to me in a way that no one else could ever do. Unlike Judas, I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
God broke me! And I am eternally grateful!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.