The Point Of No Return
A daily devotion for July 7th
21After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."
22His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means."
25Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"
26Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
"What you are about to do, do quickly," Jesus told him, 28but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. (John 13:30)
The chapter began with satanic influence on Judas. In verse 2 John says,
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus (John 13:2). Here you see that Judas's greed has given the devil an opportunity. When we resist God's love and follow a determined march toward evil, it gives the devil opportunity. And he had the opportunity to implant thoughts in Judas's heart that would take deep root immediately. So he had already put it into Judas's heart to betray Jesus; the deal had been arranged. When Jesus gave him the morsel and Judas took it and ate it without a word or a sign of repentance or remorse, he passed the point of no return.
Pilots tell us that as they fly over the ocean they reach a point where it is just as far to return as it is to go on to the other side. This is the point of no return. This is one of the most tragic scenes in all of history--to see Judas, while he is still alive, deliberately reject truth to the extent that he goes beyond any hope of recovery. At this point Satan entered into him, and this becomes satanic possession. Judas is no longer in control of his own will and can no longer make any decision to resist evil.
This is what we might call Judas's Gethsemane. Right after this event Jesus leaves the upper room and goes with His disciples into the garden. There He withdraws a bit and prays alone. This is His last chance to turn back before the cross. You remember that He prays,
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, but He adds, as always,
yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42). And though He sweated great drops of blood in the agony of that moment, at the end of it, angels came and strengthened Him. His resolve was unbroken. Similarly, here is Judas at the point of no return. It is his last chance to turn back, but he doesn't take it. And when he makes that decision, Satan comes and strengthens him, so that he cannot turn back.
So Jesus commands him, now that there is no further hope of recovery,
What you are going to do, do quickly! And the final word of John is,
He went out. And it was night. John very likely is thinking in the same terms as the words he later would write in his first epistle:
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light,--if we walk out where our sins, failures, and weaknesses are all there before God and don't try to justify or hide them--
the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7). But if we turn from the light, turn our backs on Jesus and walk away, determined to do our own will, we walk into darkness.
Lord, Your light has shone in my dark heart and brought new life and hope. May I never forget that apart from Your grace I, too, would have been at the point of no return.
Life Application: How can resisting God's provision take us to the point of no return? How can accepting God's provision in Christ also take us to a point of no return?
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