Why Christ Chose Judas

[The following is an excerpt from a sermon preached by John Calvin on Mark 3:13-19 & Luke 6:12-19. In this passage, Calvin goes over why Christ chose Judas to minister with the other eleven disciples.]

“Judas was chosen as one of the apostles so that, if anyone among today’s leaders should stumble, we might nevertheless continue steadfast and obedient to God. It wold be a mistake to rely on men, and to say: ‘Just imagine! A man we all thought  of as a pillar of the faith has betrayed us! He has thrown over the doctrine which for years he professed and became an apostate! What can we cling to now, and where should we turn for assurance?’

It is to prevent this kind of distress that Judas is placed here before us. He was chosen to be an apostle, yet he stumbled and was lost. For all that, the church remained firm, protected by the power of God’s Spirit. So then, when we see someone fall who were once reputed to be little angels, understand that God will have mercy on his people, and that what St Paul says in the second chapter of 2 Timothy is true. If we call upon God’s name and are separate from sin, this is his stamp of approval: our Lord Jesus Christ knows those who are his. He keeps them with his seal upon them, to show them that they are safe in his hands. We should remember, too, what Jesus promises in the tenth chapter of John – that of all that he has received from the Father, nothing will perish. He will take good care of them all, until the last day.”

– Sermons on the Beatitudes, p. 14 (Banner of Truth Trust)

Hope this ministers to you as it did to me :)

– h.


4 thoughts on “Why Christ Chose Judas

  1. David says:

    Good thought there…. The church is therefore without excuse when a notable person falls or errs in theological correctness… and at the same time what Jesus states remains true that He will build His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.. Thanks for this thought .. there is a purpose in everything even in a choosing of Judas


  2. Heather says:

    This is an interesting perspective on Judas. One that is totally new to me.

    On one hand, it is a sobering reminder to not place my faith in any mere human person or institution. I can also take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus is the one Man who has overcome all of the the world. Those who are with Him have nothing to fear.

    But I wonder about the statement concerning the fall of well-known men. I absolutely believe there are heretical teachers within the Church today–and some expose themselves through various scandalous activities. We definitely should not follow their life example or teachings. Those who decide to walk away completely would probably fall into John’s category of those who “went out from us but were not of us”.

    What makes me a little uneasy about comparing such men to Judas is that I cannot read another man’s heart and do not know whether he will ultimately turn back to the Lord in repentance. King David comes to mind with his adulterous, murdering, lying, coveting affair (rape?) with his neighbor’s wife. His family was a mess, too. But we can see that he was broken when confronted with his crimes and we know him as a man after God’s own heart…

    Do you think I’m being too “soft” in my belief that professing Christians who sin in a big way–even for a relatively long time–are not beyond hope?
    Perhaps I read more into the statement than Mr. Calvin intended.

    Probably I’m just neurotic and worry too much. :P


  3. Hiram says:

    Thanks for coming by, David. Hope to see you around more :)

    Heather – I don’t think you’re being too soft. Any one of us could fall into serious sin, sin so vile that we’d run and hide from our congregation, and try to run away from the Lord – so I ask the Lord to help me not judge others too quickly on this basis.

    There is a delicate balance, it seems, in that: Bad trees bear bad fruit, but even good trees mess things up (sometimes fairly often). I think the two markers, as far as I can tell, are: (1.)doctrine and (2.)behavior, both working in conjunction with one another.

    Think of Peter and Judas. They both sinned grievously and were both stricken with sorrow; however, Peter and Judas viewed Jesus differently. Peter knew Christ was/is the Messiah. Judas, however, didn’t seem to have had that in mind. Maybe he at one point thought Jesus would usher in political revolution and set up a kingdom here on earth (some speculate that Judas was a Zealot, if I remember correctly) – who knows?

    All I know is: Judas didn’t place his faith in Christ. Peter did.
    Judas’ sin was the culmination of his previous behavior (he was thief, and here he sells out his own Lord and Rabbi for thirty pieces of silver). Peter’s sin was somewhat out of character.

    Ultimately, only the Lord knows who are His. Judas’ worldly sorrow could’ve appeared to be godly sorrow to an outsider, just as Peter’s godly sorrow could’ve appeared to be worldly sorrow to an outsider.



  4. Heather says:

    Thanks for clarifying, Hiram.

    I think the two markers, as far as I can tell, are: (1.)doctrine and (2.)behavior, both working in conjunction with one another.

    You may be correct. I tend to put behavior as a higher priority when I’m “testing” because I lean pretty heavily on 1 John and James for direction.
    Not being much of a theologian myself, I am somewhat relaxed about others’ differing intellectual understanding of certain “secondary” doctrines if there appears to be a love of the Lord and desire to know Him. I did discover the hard way that not everyone holds this view. But I’ve found that there tends to be a willingness to learn and be corrected when a person actually has a relationship with Christ. And, because we all learn in different ways, I don’t expect every believer will learn all the exact same lessons before we pass out of this world.
    I definitely can see how the two aspects would necessarily need to verify one another. Any atheist can be “moral” and any liar can say the right things about Jesus while continuing in unbelief.

    As you said, there must be a balance and sometimes it’s good to have another believer help recalibrate things so the perspective doesn’t become spineless or overly harsh.


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