Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Matthew 19:24-30 (NIV)
Let me ask you a question: How can eleven apostles sit on twelve thrones? It’s not possible. Yet this scripture clearly shows us Jesus talking to his twelve apostles and saying they would be rewarded for their work by them sitting on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. How is this possible unless Judas was going to be amongst them?
One of the great errors that has entered Christian thinking is the villainization of Judas. And why not? Judas was an easy target. After all, he betrayed the Master, Jesus, to go to his death.
The problem you have with that is this little scripture here in Matthew 19, where Jesus says to the twelve apostles that they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes for all of eternity. Is it possible that Jesus was wrong?
I don’t think so. It’s easier for me to believe that Judas was actually chosen to be a part of twelve apostles, just like the scriptures say. Judas then becomes the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace.
Better If He Wasn’t Born
In one sense the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well-marked by the Scriptures – no surprises here. In another sense that man who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man – better never to have been born than do this!
Many people will object to this teaching because they have been trained since childhood to believe that Judas would burn in hell for all eternity based on this scripture in Matthew 26. Let me ask you a question, though. What is the worst moment of your entire existence?
Many will answer about a car accident, or perhaps a death of a loved one or a child, but they are not seeing the whole question. The worst moment of your life is not something that happened in your past, but something that will happen to the eternal you.
You see, the Great White Throne Judgment (GWTJ) is not like most people believe, because they haven’t thought it all through. When Jeffrey Dahmer stands before God and beholds his unrighteousness fully, he will say, “You, God, are just in sending me to hell for I’ve earned every bit of it.” He probably won’t even bat an eye.
The ones who will suffer before God’s thrones are those of us that consider ourselves to be his servants. He will wipe every tear from our eyes because, on that day, we will be weeping our guts out because we will, for the first time, see our lives in the light of God’s real righteousness.
We will understand about the boy we went to high school with who we called “faggot” and “fairy” who shot himself on his 21st birthday because his parents found out he was gay. We’ll find out about the kid we made fun of and called stupid who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade for his platoon.
It’s not until we, who have God-given consciences stand before he who reigns forever, the righteous judge, that we will see the full extent of how wicked we really are. It’s at that point when we crumple in a heap before him as he opens the book of our lives and we’re ready to be banished from his presence forever, that we hear Jesus say, “I find no fault with this person, Father.”
Then, knowing there must be some mistake, we look at the book of our lives and see page after page of it blotted out with that rusty-red indelible ink that cost so much. It’s at that moment that we see not only how deep our wickedness goes, but how deep God’s grace goes. That will be the worst moment of our lives—the moment when we have a full, unblinking revelation of what the price was for our salvation. This is the moment that all of us will be, as my niece says, “very small.”
Now imagine that moment if you’re the one who personally betrayed the one who paid that price. Do you really think eternity in hell’s going to stack up to that moment in his life when he realizes that Jesus’ blood covered his sins too?
We must be careful about the judgments that we sling around so casually. If Judas is going to spend eternity judging Israel, who are we to judge anyone? In a sense, Judas is God’s masterpiece, the crowning achievement of Jesus’ life on earth.
We still have a lot to learn about serving the Lord.