Matthew 4: 18-20 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
I’m sure Jesus chose each disciple carefully. He only called twelve to be apostles, so he had to make sure he had the raw material necessary for the radical transformation he was sent to earth to achieve. And yet, Jesus bypassed the religious elite, political leaders, and others of prominence. He chose men from humble professions such as fishermen and tax collectors. Perhaps these men, with the exception of Judas who betrayed him, had pure hearts, loved God, and were open to Jesus’ teachings.
I’m sure Jesus saw something very special in the chosen men. Each had a role to play in the birth of the Church, and each would pay a very heavy price for his actions. Even Judas had his role, as nefarious as it was. What did Jesus see when he looked into Judas’ eyes, knowing he would betray him? It must have been difficult to travel, eat, and commune with Judas for three years realizing what his ultimate action would be. It is also beyond understanding how Judas could be part of the twelve and not “get it.” He sat at the feet of the Son of God and had the secrets of heaven explained to him. He witnessed first hand the miracles: the lame walked, the sick were healed, the dead came alive. Perhaps, more than the others, he did understand that Jesus was the Messiah, although his view of a Messiah was very different from Jesus’ view.
As a zealot, Judas looked for the Messiah to be a champion of the people, a military commander to defeat the oppressive forces who had an iron grip on Israel. The meek and mild Jesus did not fit with his expectations, so he took matters into his own hands to force Jesus to be the Messiah Judas expected. As with Satan, however, Judas was to be disappointed. Jesus defied the concept of Messiah as military champion. His message was one of love, forgiveness, and worship of God.
Judas made a choice, albeit a bad one. Jesus made many choices—all designed to advance the Kingdom, not Satan’s or man’s agendas. We all make choices. Many have serious consequences, others are more transient, but with all choices, God and his Kingdom should be at the heart of our decisions.