Was Judas a Hero?
A question from Urduja…
Jesus Christ suffered and died to pay the penalty of our sins, so that those who believe in Him will not perish in hell but have eternal life in heaven. If Judas Iscariot did not betray Jesus, then Jesus would have not suffered and died. So, is Judas actually a hero for Christians?
Suggested Motives of Judas in Betraying Jesus
Through the centuries, many suggestions have been offered regarding the motive of Judas in betraying Jesus.
- Matthew 10:4 calls him Judas Iscariot; it may be that he was from Kerioth, a city in southern Judea. This would make Judas the only Judean among the other disciples, who were all Galileans. Some wonder if Judas resented the leadership of the Galilean fishermen among the disciples, and finally had enough of it.
- Perhaps Judas was disillusioned with the type of Messiah Jesus revealed Himself to be; Judas wanted Jesus to be a more political, conquering Messiah.
- Perhaps Judas watched the ongoing conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders and concluded that they were winning, and Jesus was losing; therefore, he decided to cut his losses and join the winning side.
- Perhaps he came to the conclusion that Jesus was simply not the Messiah or a true Prophet, even as Saul of Tarsus first believed, before Saul’s conversion.
- Some even suggest that Judas did this from a noble motive; that he was impatient for Jesus to reveal Himself as a powerful Messiah, and he thought that this would force Him to do this.
Jesus Knew Judas Would Betray Him: John 6:70-71
Jesus answered them, “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.
Jesus Chose Judas – It was No Mistake
- And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him: The choice of Judas was just as important as the choice of any of the other disciples, but many people wonder why Jesus choose Judas.
- It wasn’t because Jesus didn’t know how he would turn out. Jesus told His disciples that He chose them and knew one of them was a devil.
- It wasn’t because He had no others to choose. He could raise up followers from stones, so He could easily have found someone else.
- It wasn’t because Jesus wanted a scandalous person, or a “bad boy” – we read of no scandal surrounding Judas during Jesus’ ministry. The other disciples did far more stupid things during their three years with Jesus.
Judas was a Thief: John 12:4-6
Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
The Motive of Judas was Greed: Matthew 26:14-16
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
- Judas negotiated with the religious leaders. What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you is the kind of thing one says in bargaining, in negotiation.
Jesus Gave Judas One Last Chance to Repent: Matthew 26:21-25
Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?” He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”
The Devil Inspired Judas and Actually Possessed Judas: John 13:2, 13:26-27
And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him
Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
Judas Led the Soldiers that Came to Arrest Jesus: John 18:3
Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
- Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops: Judas came to the garden with team of soldiers to seize and arrest Jesus. He led both a detachment of troops (a large number of Roman soldiers), and officers from the temple security force. Why they came with such force is not directly answered; the religious leaders or the Romans must have expected or feared some kind of battle or conflict.
- This shows that Judas misunderstood the nature of Jesus and at the same time underestimated the power of Jesus. Had Jesus been of the nature to physically battle against Judas and his soldiers, the detachment of troops was not enough.
Judas Betrayed Jesus with a Kiss: Matthew 26:48-50
Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?”
- Greetings, Rabbi! Judas warmly greeted Jesus, even giving Him the customary kiss. But the kiss only precisely identified Jesus to the authorities who came to arrest Jesus. There are no more hollow, hypocritical words in the
- Bible than “Greetings, Rabbi!” in the mouth of Judas. The loving, heartfelt words of Jesus – calling Judas “Friend” – stand in sharp contrast.
- And kissed Him: “Kissed Him heartily…What a tremendous contrast between the woman in Simon’s house (Luke 7) and Judas! Both kissed Jesus fervently: with strong emotion; yet the one could have died for Him, the other betrays Him to death.” (Bruce)
Jesus Said Judas Was Guilty of “The Greater Sin”: John 19:11
Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.
It Would Have Been Better for Judas if He were Never Born: Mark 14:21
The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.
- Judas is rightly regarded as one of the most notorious sinners of all time. Even though his actions fulfilled prophecy (the Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him), his own wicked motive condemned him. Judas will never be able to justify himself before God on the Day of Judgment by claiming, “I was fulfilling prophecy.”
Jesus Called Judas “The Ultimate Lost One” (Son of Perdition): John 17:12
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
- None of them is lost except the son of perdition: Judas was the son of perdition, the one completely characterized by lostness.
- “‘The son of perdition’ points to character rather than destiny. The expression means that he was characterized by ‘lostness’, not that he was predestined to be ‘lost’.” (Morris)
Judas was no hero – he was the ultimate lost soul. He was a hypocrite, a deceiver, a thief, and the only motive the Bible mentions for his betrayal of Jesus to His death is greed. Judas died as a demon-possessed man – possessed by Satan Himself!
We know of one of the motives Judas had – greed. Whatever his other motives, God only knows. But whatever the motives of Judas were, they were his motives. God used the wicked work of a willing Satan, who used a willing Judas. God ordained that these things happen, but He did not prompt Judas to sin.
“Yet many have sold Jesus for a less price than Judas received; a smile or a sneer has been sufficient to induce them to betray their Lord.” (Spurgeon)
“This sign of Judas was typical of the way in which Jesus is generally betrayed. When men intend to undermine the inspiration of the Scriptures, how do they begin their books? Why, always with a declaration that they wish to promote the truth of Christ! Christ’s name is often slandered by those who make a loud profession of attachment to him, and then sin foully as the chief of transgressors.” (Spurgeon)
Was King Saul saved?
Was King Saul saved? According to 1 Samuel 28:19, Samuel told Saul that he and his sons were going to be with him. Your thoughts, please?
I think that Saul was not saved. There’s nothing in the life or the testimony of King Saul that leads me to believe that he had any spiritual life, any repentance. It is true what you say, in 1 Samuel 28, when Samuel, in this really bizarre occasion, speaks from the realm of the dead to Saul, giving Saul one last chance to repent. Samuel speaking from the dead tells Saul, “You are going to be with me.” I don’t think that Samuel meant, “You’re going to be with me in heaven.” I don’t think that Samuel meant, “You’re going to be with me” in what the Bible, Jesus speaking, called “the bosom of Abraham” in the Gospel of Luke. I don’t think that’s the sense at all. I think the sense, instead, is that “You’re going to be with me in the realm of the dead.” Hope that makes some sense to you. “You’re going to leave the earthly life as you know it, Saul, and you’re going to come over to where I am in the realm of the dead.”
So I would think that Saul was not a saved man, that we will not see him in heaven. I’d be delighted to be wrong. And if I see Saul in heaven, then I’ll apologize to him for my hasty judgment. But it doesn’t seem to me that we have any indication of true spiritual life in Saul whatsoever. But it was true that Saul and his sons, particularly Jonathan, would join Samuel in the realm of the dead by the next day.
Was Lot considered a faithful believer? Was he sent providentially to Sodom and Gomorrah to preach repentance?
From what we see of the life of Lot, as it’s recorded for us in the book of Genesis, there doesn’t seem to be anything faithful in Lot. First, Lot is making or pitching his tent towards the city of Sodom. The next time we see him, he’s living in Sodom. Then the next time he is sitting in the gates of the city; he has a position of influence and leadership in the city of Sodom. Then his possessions are destroyed, and he and his daughters escaped — his wife perished on the way out of Sodom — because God intervened out of graciousness to Lot.
What I’m just trying to say is this. There’s nothing in the Genesis account that would lead us to say that there is anything praiseworthy about Lot’s association with the city of Sodom, but then we get the difficulty. Peter writes, in 1 or 2 Peter, of righteous Lot, and his soul being vexed by the ungodliness in the city of Sodom. When we read those words, written by Peter, we’re surprised: first of all, that Lot is described as righteous, because that doesn’t stand out to us in the book of Genesis. Nor does it stand out to us that his soul was troubled, disturbed, or vexed by the sin that he saw in Sodom.
So taking those things and putting them together, Lot was a believer; no doubt about it. A faithful believer. I think it’s probably better to look at Lot as real believer, if I could use that phrasing, yet compromised. And he was saved, as Paul would later write in one of his letters to the Corinthians, by the skin of his teeth. But that means by the narrowest of margins. He lost everything; in the end, he lost his dignity with his daughters.
Was he sent providentially to Sodom and Gomorrah to preach repentance? Well, everything that happens happens is by God’s providence in some regard or another, either by what God actively performs or allows. So yes, it was definitely in God’s plan that Lot go there and preach repentance, which Peter says that he did. But it’s hard to describe him as a faithful believer, by his hesitancy to leave Sodom, and by the fact that in all his years and given all his influence in the city of Sodom, Lot apparently converted no one in his years there.
People always say sin is sin. No sin is greater than the other. So what about Judas’ sin? (Matthew 26:24)
This is something that needs to be talked about from time to time. Let me be very transparent with you all. I certainly consider myself a preacher. I’m not actively the pastor right now over a congregation. I have more than 28 years of pastoral ministry over a congregation, but I’m not actively serving as a pastor of a congregation right now. But I do know this, that as a preacher — sometimes we preachers don’t speak with precision. What do I mean by that? I mean we get a little sloppy theologically in the way that we speak. And it’s common for preachers to say. I’m sure that some time or another I have said something like this, although I think it would be a long time ago; because I understand this to be a mistake. But I’m sure at some time or another in my preaching, I’ve said something like this: “All sin is sin; God sees all sin the same.” It’s not true.
Now, all sin is sin, in this sense: that any sin is enough to make us guilty before God. A small sin makes us guilty before God and needing a Savior just as much as a big sin does. In that narrow sense, all sin is the same. However, to say that all sin is equal, is really moral craziness, friends. To brutally murder someone is worse than giving them a side eye or saying something rude to them. It may be a similar heart motivation, but the act and its consequences are different. And Jesus specifically told us this, when he spoke of some people being liable: some cities, some individuals have a greater judgment than others.
Hell will not be the same experience for everyone. There are people, to use the phrase that Jesus used, who will have “a greater condemnation,” which by the way, you have to admit is a chilling phrase: there’s condemnation, and there’s greater condemnation. Now, no one will have it good in Hell, we understand that. But some people will have it worse than others. There will be a greater condemnation for those who sin worse: I would say this to somebody who is an absolutely Hell-bound sinner. I would say, “If you refuse to find salvation in Jesus Christ, and put your trust in Him, if you refuse to repent of your sin and put your faith in who Jesus is, and what he did for us, especially what he did for us at the cross and the empty tomb— if you refuse to do that, then it would still be better for you to sin less in your life, it would mean less judgment in Hell for you.”
Now, again, I want to take pains to say, we shouldn’t think for a moment that anybody will have it good in Hell. But some people will have it worse. When preachers say that all sin is the same or one sense as bad as another, they mean that in a very narrow sense, and the narrow sense is this: that any sin makes me guilty before God. And all I need is one sin to make me in need of a Savior.
Would it be possible to say that Judas was the last pre-Resurrection example of what will be the final cause of the fall of mankind? Currency?
Well, you’re drawing together a couple threads that I haven’t drawn together before. I think you’re making reference to how the Bible says, in the very last days, there will be a specific economic system imposed upon the world. This system will be tied together with anybody’s ability to buy or sell, and you’ll have to proclaim worship of and allegiance to an Antichrist individual and his government. That will be characteristic of the very last days. And you’re making a connection between that currency, that exchange of goods and materials, with the greed that Judas displayed. I don’t know if I see a particular link there.
But we do have this concept, in the book of Revelation, having to do with what some people call a “commercial Babylon.” Babylon in a broad scriptural sense represents the world. It is expressed sometimes in a religious or a spiritual sense: there is worldly religion, that comes from man and not from God. But then there is also commercial Babylon. There’s a commercial aspect of the world. And let’s face it, so much of the world today operates under those principles of simply buying and selling, and people will perform any kind of sin for the sake of money. Think about that for a moment. There is not a single sin that someone would not commit for the sake of money. You can think of anything, and you could pay someone to carry out that sin. This is how much people love money.
So, I think that as we see a general trend of the depravity and the desolation of society, the apostasy in general in modern society, we’ll see more and more done for the sake of greed, which is one of the things Paul talks about in the very end times.
What would you say is the difference between Peter’s denial and Judas is betrayal?
That’s a great question. Let me first of all say that there’s a difference in the sin itself. Peter clearly denied Jesus for the sake of self-preservation. Peter refused to stand by Jesus, when He was being arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified. Peter said, “I don’t know the man, I don’t know who he is.” Peter’s sin was out of fear and self-preservation; it was cowardice, really. Peter denied that he knew Jesus.
What Judas did was not just to deny Jesus, but he took it much further than Peter. Judas, for the sake of money, actually delivered Jesus to his death, his arrest, his custody, his trial, his beatings, and his eventual crucifixion. So you could say that in some ways, Peter’s sin was more of a passive error, what he did not do. Peter did not courageously identify himself with Jesus Christ. What Judas did was an act of evil: of selling out the Son of God for that price.
Not only was there a difference in their sin, but there was also a difference in their reaction to their sin. The Bible tells us specifically that Judas was filled with remorse and regret after he did it; he wished he had never done it. And he took those 30 pieces of silver, and he cast them somewhere in the temple or the temple courts. And then he went out and he killed himself. That’s what Judas said: he was filled with remorse and regret for what he did. But friends, remorse and regret are not necessarily the same thing as repentance.
Repentance is something different. Peter repented of his sin. Just because a person feels sorry for the what they did, or knows that it was the wrong thing to do, is not in and of itself repentance. Repentance also includes an active turning away from your sin, and a looking to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and restoration. So there is a very clear difference between the sins that Judas and Peter committed and the response to their sins that they made.
Can you please explain about the Old and New Testament of the work of the Holy Spirit? Can the Holy Spirit depart from us as in the Old Testament?
I’m going to answer this question without getting into the issue of what some people call (and I don’t like to use this terminology), “Once saved, always saved.” I’m going to leave that off to the side right now and just say, No, there’s a very different giving of the whole Holy Spirit because of the New Covenant, the New Testament. When Jesus instituted the New Covenant, in His death and resurrection and through the completeness of his work, all those things predicted in the Old Testament regarding the New Covenant were enacted. One of those was a different way that the Holy Spirit was given to his people.
Under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit is given widely and broadly to everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord. You see, that was the remarkable thing about the day of Pentecost, and what Peter made reference to in Acts 2 about this simple phenomenon: that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon everybody who believed; not just a few people, but upon everybody who believed and partook of the New Covenant.
Under the old covenant, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon certain people for certain reasons. And often, for certain periods of time, God was raising up a special leader or special worker to accomplish something. Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit is given to all believers; is given in greater measure; and is given, I would say, in a permanent way. I base that on the terminology of being sealed with the Spirit.
Although the Holy Spirit is given to all believers under the New Covenant, it is true that we can walk in the Spirit or not walk in the Spirit. We can choose to either keep in step with the Spirit or not. There’s no doubt that every believer has the Holy Spirit. But it may be true that the Holy Spirit doesn’t have all of that believer— that the believer isn’t surrendered in such a degree. Sometimes that truth is taken in a way that makes things weird, making two different classes of Christians. But no, that’s never the idea or intent when the Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to be filled with the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit. I like that phrase from J. I Packer, to “keep in step with the Spirit.” That means that not everybody does. But we should make that our endeavor. So there is a challenge given to the believer under the New Covenant: yield yourself to the Holy Spirit; be constantly being filled with the Spirit. But we don’t have to worry that the Holy Spirit will be taken away from us, as we sometimes see happening in the Old Testament.
What should women do about abuse?
I hear some pastors say that women should not put up with physical abuse. But what about sexual and verbal abuse?
First of all, I would agree with what those pastors say: maybe specifically you’re talking about a wife, but let’s just say a woman should not put up with physical abuse. Dear women, God has not called you to be the punching bag of a man. Do you know what a punching bag is? It’s the thing that the boxer punches. God has not called you to be the punching bag for men; period. And you have no obligation to keep yourself in a home where that happens. You should put distance between you and someone who’s being physically abusive to you.
Now, does that apply to sexual and verbal abuse as well? I would say that sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse. And so yes, that isn’t to be tolerated either. I will say this. It is a difficult line to draw. When we talk about verbal abuse, it would be very easy for me to say, “No, nobody should have to stay in a verbally abusive situation”— and let me be very upfront about something. It is just as possible for a woman to be verbally abusive as a man. So of course it’s possible, and it happens all too often that a husband is verbally abusive to his wife. But let’s be honest, though it is less likely for a wife to be physically abusive, it certainly can happen. But it can be just as likely that she would be verbally abusive towards her husband. The difficulty with this is how verbal abuse is defined, it is possible to have too narrow a definition of verbal abuse. But it’s also possible to have too wide a definition of verbal abuse. These are things that must be determined with wise pastoral analysis, and counseling and taking a look at it.
So the principle is true. But there can be a good deal of difficulty tied up in what the definition is of verbal abuse. I can picture in my mind a situation where someone in a marriage was being verbally abused: separate, do it — you don’t have to stay there and endure that. But I could also picture a situation where somebody takes a fairly mild unkind comment and decides that it’s verbal abuse. So again, these are things that must be looked at in truth. We don’t want to make the definition of verbal abuse too narrow, but neither do we want to make it too broad.
When was Matthew 26:28 fulfilled? “Verily I say to you, there will be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”
I’ll tell you exactly: that was fulfilled by the Transfiguration, which happened very soon after Jesus spoke those words. It may very well be in the Gospel of Matthew, but in at least one of the Gospels, it chronologically arranges it just like that. Jesus gives this promise that there are some standing there in his midst — of course, he’s referring to his disciples — who would not die until they saw the Son of Man coming in the glory of His kingdom.
And they saw that in the Transfiguration, written about in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. That was fulfilled when Jesus was transfigured before them, shining in the radiance of his kingdom. And that showed him the glory of God, as Jesus would appear at a second to coming as well. So, in at least one of the Gospels, it’s very clearly arranged that way to show us that that is the fulfillment. And I believe that is exactly when that was fulfilled.
Are homosexuals incapable of being saved?
Are homosexuals reprobate, and thus incapable of being saved, because they want nothing to do with God?
I would not phrase it in those terms at all. Now, is the sin of homosexuality is a serious sexual sin? Absolutely. It is. The Bible speaks of it in both the Old and the New Testaments. By the way, every once in a while, you’ll get people who say that Jesus was not concerned with homosexuality, that it was of no concern to him, or that he never said anything about it. That’s not true. And that’s not true in a few ways, but I’ll just give you one: Jesus specifically said that he had not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. Jesus affirmed the moral law of the Old Testament. He didn’t renounce any of it. Certainly, he fulfilled the ceremonial law. But the moral law? Jesus did not repudiate it.
So we would not say that Jesus repudiated or revoked the Old Testament law prohibiting homosexuality any more than we would say that Jesus revoked or repudiated the Old Testament law against adultery, or what we might call heterosexual sexual sin.
What we need to understand here, though, is that, yes, these sins are serious, but they’re not beyond God’s ability to save. And we understand that a person, whether they are a sinner in a heterosexual sexual way, or they are a sinner in a homosexual sexual way, these people and anybody can be saved, if they will put their trust in Jesus Christ.
This is what that means. One, to simply understand that you are a sinner, and Two, realize your need for a savior, to understand you cannot save yourself. And you need to look to Jesus: to who he is, and what he has done, specifically what he did on the cross and the empty tomb. You need to look at the Jesus that is revealed to you in the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and put your trust in Him. And the Bible says that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Now, what if a person struggles with sin after that? Does that mean forget it? No, not necessarily. If their repentance is real, and they carry on the struggle against sin, then they can be confident that God has changed their heart, and is changing their actions and their habits of mind and heart and body all along the way. But what we don’t do, and we need to be careful with this— we don’t say that “if you are a Christian, you won’t sin any longer.” Now, you won’t be in bondage to sin as a person anymore, you won’t be comfortable in habitual sin. John talks about that in 1 John. But instead, it’s much more of a matter that you will understand that you’ve been changed by God. And you will do your best to live out what God has worked in.
Now, that principle applies to the person who has struggled with homosexuality as well. They need to recognize it as sin. And they need to say, “Okay, I don’t want to carry on that sinful behavior. I want to see who I am: a new man or a new woman in Jesus Christ. And I want to live that out.” And if they stumble along the way, God’s forgiveness is there. But they need to be carrying on this process of growing in their Christian life. That includes growing in our holiness, in yielding ourselves to God in every area of our life, including our sexuality.
Where did the Nephilim come from?
Genesis 6:4 says the Nephilim were on the earth before and after the flood. How did that happen? “There were giants on the earth in those days. And also after that, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, and the same became mighty men, which are of old men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4 KJV)
To be honest with you, this is in my mind one of the tougher Bible questions to answer. If God judged the earth in Noah’s Flood, and only eight remained, if the Nephilim and those associated with them were destroyed in the flood, and the human race had a new start, as the Bible indicates that they did, then where did the Nephilim come from after the Flood?
I’ll give you my best explanation of this. I don’t know if this is a perfect explanation; I don’t think it is. In my mind, this explanation has some problems with it. But to me, it’s the preferred explanation even though it has problems with it. I believe that the Nephilim referred to after the flood were people who were large human beings; there are certain tribes or ethnic groups that are just larger than others. These were remarkably large people on the human scale and standard, but they weren’t “genetically” Nephilim. They were simply named that way in connection with something like this after the flood, when there were people who just developed, because of genetics and genetic variability and other things, and emerged as a tribe or a group of people who were large and big and strong. People said, “Man, they’re like the Nephilim evolved.”
Now, that’s meant that as a title, and not literally. It’s meant in the same way as the Flood is described by the Bible as a global catastrophe: surely the rivers that existed before the Flood were not the same rivers that existed after the Flood, yet there are rivers of the same name before the Flood, like the Tigris or the Euphrates, and after the Flood, you have the same thing. Now, this would just be a description like saying, “Oh, yeah, remember that river, it looks just like the Tigris that was before the flood. That looks just like the Euphrates.”
Now, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not entirely satisfied with that explanation. But in my mind, it’s the best explanation that I could come up with. I’m sure other people have some their own ideas, but that’s the best one that I could come up with.
Any advice for overcoming laziness and procrastination?
I’ll give you very practical advice, but first let me say, God bless you for asking this question. I have a verse by verse commentary on the entire Bible; you can find it at enduringword.com. The last book of the Bible that I wrote commentary on was Proverbs. And one of the things that’s remarkable about Proverbs is how it speaks of laziness. The Book of Proverbs, God’s Word, takes laziness as a real sin and a serious sin.
So what do we say about laziness, then? Well, I’ll give you two very practical ways to deal with it. Number one, make lists for yourself. At the end of every day, make a list of things that you need to accomplish tomorrow, and look at the list in the morning and set out yourself to accomplish those things. Much of our laziness and procrastination is because we just don’t make lists, we’re not methodical. So make lists for yourself. That’s one thing.
Second thing you can do: Make yourself accountable to somebody. When there are things we’re trying to overcome, if we have somebody to whom we will be accountable, it is remarkable to see how things will change in our life. So I would simply give you that recommendation, make yourself accountable to somebody.
Were Peter, James and John in Jesus’ inner circle, being the first to be called by Him?
There are people who have suggested that maybe it’s because they were the first ones called. I don’t know, because Andrew was called at the same time as Peter — as a matter of fact, before Peter. And he’s not always in that group. Sometimes he’s included as one of four: Peter, James, John and Andrew. But other times it’s just Peter, James and John. I don’t think that the order of calling really holds water, so I’m not so convinced of that.
There are other people who think that Peter, James and John formed an inner circle of Jesus’s disciples because they were Jesus’s favorites, like Jesus picked favorites and said, “Hey, you know, I’m going to pick these guys. Peter, James, John: now you guys are my favorites. I’ll spend more time with you than any of the others.”
I’m going to suggest a third alternative that I first heard from Gayle Erwin. He has an amazing book, folks. If you haven’t read this book, get it: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. He suggested that the reason why Jesus especially chose Peter, James, and John was because they were likely to cause the most trouble and he needed to keep a close eye on them. It’s kind of like the teacher who looks over the class, and most the children are well behaved, but there’s those three kids: Peter, James and John. The teacher says, “Hey you three, you stick close by me; I’ve got to keep a special eye on you.” I have to say of all the suggestions I’ve heard as to why Jesus would have selected Peter, James and John, I find that to be the best suggestion of all.