on John 6 :71
He spake of Judas - for he it was that should betray him - Οὑτος γαρ ημελλεν αυτον παραδιδοναι, He who was about to deliver him up. By referring to this matter so often, did not our blessed Lord intend to warn Judas? Was not the evil fully exposed to his view? And who dare say that it was impossible for him to avoid what he had so often been warned against? When the temptation did take place, and his heart, in purpose, had brought forth the sin, might he not have relented, fallen at his injured master's feet, acknowledge his black offense, and implored forgiveness? And surely his most merciful Lord would have freely pardoned him.
1. On the subject of the disciples sailing off without Christ, and the storm that overtook them, it may be necessary to make a few observations, chiefly for the encouragement of the laborers in God's vineyard. It was the duty of the disciples to depart at the commandment of the Lord, though the storm was great, and the wind contrary. It was their duty to tug at the oar, expecting the appearing of their Lord and master. So it is the duty of the ministers of Christ to embark, and sail even into the sea of persecution and dangerous trial, in order to save souls. There may be darkness for a time - they must row. The waves may rise high - they must row on. The wind may be contrary - still they must tug at the oar. Jesus will appear, lay the storm, and calm the sea, and they shall have souls for their hire. The vessel will get to land, and speedily too. There are particular times in which the Lord pours out his Spirit, and multitudes are quickly convinced and converted. "Alas!" says one, "I see no fruit of my labor; no return of my prayers and tears." Take courage, man; tug on; thou shalt not labor in vain, nor spend thy strength for nought. What he does thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Great grace, and great peace await thee; take courage, and tug on!
2. When a man forsakes the living God, and gives way to avarice, which appears to have been the case with Judas, he is fit for any thing in which Satan may choose to employ him. Beware of the love of money! The cursed lust of gold induced a disciple of Christ to betray his God: and has it not been the ruin of millions since? Few people love money merely for its own sake: they love it because it can provide them with the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of life; those who have not God for their portion incessantly long after these things, and therefore are covetous. While a man watches unto prayer, and abides in the love of Christ Jesus the Lord, so long he is safe, for he is contented with the lot which God has given him in life. Reader, art thou like Judas (in his best state) put in trust for the poor, or for the Church of Christ. Do not covet; and take heed that thou grudge not; nor permit thy heart to be hardened by repeated sights and tales of wo. Thou art but a steward; act faithfully, and act affectionately. Because the ointment that prefigured the death of our Lord was not applied just as Judas would have it, he took offense; betrayed and sold his master; saw and wished to remedy his transgression; despaired and hanged himself. Behold the fruit of covetousness! To what excesses and miseries the love of money may lead, God alone can comprehend. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
on John 6 :71
He spake of Judas ... - There is no evidence that Jesus designated Judas so that the disciples then understood that it was he. It does not appear that the apostles even suspected Judas, as they continued to treat him afterward with the same confidence, for he carried the bag, or the purse containing their little property John 12:6; John 13:29; and at the table, when Jesus said that one of them would betray him, the rest did not suspect Judas until Jesus pointed him out particularly, John 13:26. Jesus spoke of one, to put them on their guard, to check their confidence, and to lead them to self-examination. So in every church, or company of professing Christians, we may know that it is probable that there may be some one or more deceived; but we may not know who it may be, and should therefore inquire prayerfully and honestly, "Lord, is it I?"
Should betray - Would betray. If it be asked why Jesus called a man to be an apostle who he knew had no love for him, who would betray him, and who had from the beginning the spirit of a "devil," we may reply:
1. It was that Judas might be an important witness for the innocence of Jesus, and for the fact that he was not an impostor. Judas was with him more than three years. He was treated with the same confidence as the others, and in some respects even with superior confidence, as he had "the bag" John 12:6, or was the treasurer. He saw the Saviour in public and in private, heard his public discourses and his private conversation, and he would have been just the witness which the high priests and Pharisees would have desired, if he had known any reason why he should be condemned. Yet he alleged nothing against him. Though he betrayed him, yet he afterward said that he was innocent, and, under the convictions of conscience, committed suicide. If Judas had known anything against the Saviour he would have alleged it. If he had known that he was an impostor, and had alleged it, he would have saved his own life and been rewarded. If Jesus was an impostor, he ought to have made it known, and to have bean rewarded for it.
2. It may have been, also, with a foresight of the necessity of having such a man among his disciples, in order that his own death might be brought about in the manner in which it was predicted. There were several prophecies which would have been unfulfilled had there been no such man among the apostles.
3. It showed the knowledge which the Saviour had of the human heart, that he could thus discern character before it was developed, and was able so distinctly to predict that he would betray him.
4. We may add, what benevolence did the Saviour evince - what patience and forbearance - that he had with him for more than three years a man who he knew hated him at heart, and who would yet betray him to be put to death on a cross, and that during all that time he treated him with the utmost kindness!
on John 6 :71