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Why Did Jesus Choose Judas Iscariot to Be a Disciple?

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Why did Jesus Choose Judas?.

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Why did Jesus Choose Judas?.

Did Jesus know Judas would betray Him?

Jesus once said to His disciples,

“There are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father….Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve (John 6:64-65;70-71).

Skip ahead to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is praying in anguish, until the sweat on his brow is drops of blood. His disciples are asleep; they could not watch and pray with Him. Suddenly there are muffled voices, clanking armor, shuffling footsteps, and lit torches.

That secret prayer place is now filled with people. From that crowd steps a man named Judas. He has a sickening grin on his face, but it cannot hide the treachery in his eyes. He steps forward and he plants a kiss on Jesus’ cheek. “Greetings, Rabbi!” (See Matthew 26:49.) That kiss must have burned like a coal from Hell. It was the kiss of betrayal, the kiss of death.

Did all of this take Jesus by surprise? After all, Jesus chose this man. Was Jesus a bad judge of character? No. Jesus knew precisely what He was doing when He chose Judas.

But why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot? The answer is both a warning and an encouragement.

A Warning: Watch for Hypocrisy

When Jesus looks at the Church, He knows who the true believers are. He is not talking about intellectual belief. The word “belief” here means heart trust. If you do not trust Him, you are not saved. (See Acts 16:31.)

You would have looked at Judas Iscariot and thought, “What a great guy.”

He had the right associations. He was intimate with Jesus—Jesus called him, “friend.” He spent three and a half years in the best seminary in the world, studying, hearing Jesus Christ talk.

He had the right reputation. At the last supper, when Jesus said, “One of you will betray Me” (see Matthew 26:21), the disciples did not say, “I know; it must be Judas.” Judas was the treasurer of that little group. (Read John 12:4-6.) Whom do you make treasurer? The person you trust the most.

Judas was a worker. He went out with the others to teach and do good.

Maybe you are in a Bible‑believing church. Everybody thinks you are a wonderful person—and you may be, outwardly. You may be singing in the choir, teaching a Sunday school class, etc.

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

The devil would rather send you to Hell from the pew than from the gutter. It was a religious crowd that crucified Jesus!

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Corinthians 13:5).

An Encouragement: Nothing Is Out of Control

How could this story also be an encouragement? Because the other eleven disciples did not quit Christ. Don’t let some hypocrite in the Church keep you from loving and serving the Lord Jesus.

Why is a falling star significant? Why do people say, “Look at that!” Because stars do not normally fall. Every time somebody points out some scoundrel in the ministry, that is only a testimony that God’s preachers around the world have been standing true, like the stars of Heaven.

Judas was a hypocrite, but Peter, Andrew, James, and John were not.

Divine Sovereignty

Jesus said, a few chapters later,

“I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:18).

Jesus is there quoting Psalm 41:9. He is saying that Scripture had said this would happen. Nothing had gone wrong. Jesus said, “This is being done so that the Bible will be fulfilled.”

Was Judas forced to betray Jesus? Of course not. If that is true, how was it prophesied what he would do?

We see one point at a time; God sees all at one time. God knew what Judas would do before Judas did it. Did Judas have a choice? Absolutely. Did God know it beforehand? Yes. We dwell in time. God dwells in eternity: the past, present and future are all alike to Him.

Where man rules, God overrules.

Personal Responsibility

Judas was not forced. He was responsible for what he did.

Sin Deceives You

After Judas realized what he had done, he went back to the chief priests and the elders and gave them back those thirty pieces of silver, “saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’” (Matthew 27:4).

The deed hangs over his mind like a veil of death. It gnaws away at his conscience. Sin deceived him: it promised much, but paid little. (See Proverbs 20:17).

Sin will deceive you, too.

Sin Destroys You

“Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).

The devil who had enticed him was now accusing him. Judas was not under Holy Spirit conviction now; he was under remorse, and there is a difference.

He went out and found a limb. With trembling fingers he formed a noose. Trying to escape the Hell within him, he stepped into the Hell before him. His heart stopped—but his soul is still in existence.

He hung there for who knows how many days. His body bloated, the birds picked his eyes from their sockets. He was covered with flies. The stench was terrible; it was a ghastly sight. Finally, somebody saw him, and cut him down. The body fell to the ground below.

“Falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out” (Acts 1:18b).

You may be saying, “Who wants to hear that?!”

It is not meant to be pretty. Sin is not pretty.

Sin Damns You

People say, “I’m going to commit suicide and end it all.” You can’t. Judas did not end his life when he hung himself. He went to his own place in Hell.

This is human responsibility. Judas chose, and he chose wrong. (See 2 Peter 3:9.)

Security of the Believer

People say, “One reason I can’t believe in eternal security of the believer is because Judas lost his salvation.” Did Judas lose his salvation?

Have you been listening? Judas never had salvation.

Jesus said,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

There are only two categories of people: the saved and the lost. You cannot be on the fence.

List of Scriptures Referenced in This Article

John 6:63-71, 10:27-19, 12:4-6, 13:18; Matthew 7:22-23, 26:21,49, 27:4-5; Acts 1:18, 16:31; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Psalm 41:9; Proverbs 20:17; 2 Peter 3:9

More Bible Verses About Judas Iscariot

Let his days be few, and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow….Because he did not remember to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; as he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him (Psalm 109:8-9,16-17).
“Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry….For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, and let no one live in it”; and, “Let another take his office’” (Acts 1:16-17,20).