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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Mat. 16:21–25. Mark 14:18–21. Luke 22:21–33. John 13:21–30]

WHILST they were eating, He told the apostles: “Amen, I say to you, that one of you who eateth with Me shall betray Me.” They, being much troubled, asked Him with one voice: “Is it I, Lord?” He answered and said: “One of the twelve, who dippeth his hand with Me in the dish.” Then He added: “The Son of Man goeth, indeed, as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed. It were better for that man if he had not been born!”

Then Judas, who betrayed Him, said: “Is it I, Rabbi?” But Jesus replied: “Thou hast said it.” Then Judas rose from the table and went out, and, going immediately to the High Priest, sold His Master for thirty pieces of silver, and promised to betray Him into the hands of the High Priest’s servants. When he was gone Jesus said to His disciples: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”

The devil, and the avarice of Judas. Satan hated Jesus, the Most Holy One, and had been trying to outwit God ever since the creation of man. The covetousness of Judas gave him the apparent means of attaining his end. The bad apostle, by resisting grace and indulging his ruling passion, gave the devil an increasing influence over him; till at last, blinded by avarice, and disappointed in his hopes of an earthly Messias, he listened to the suggestions of the spirit of evil, and decided to sell his Lord and Master for a paltry sum. Covetousness is a capital sin. “There is”, says the Son of Sirach, “no more wicked thing than to love money, for such an one setteth even his own soul to sale” (Ecclus. 10:10). Judas set even his God and Saviour to sale! See how sin grows! Our Blessed Lord, who knew the wicked purpose of Judas’ heart, tried to win him back from the road to hell. He washed the feet of him, the most unworthy of men; but in spite of his Master’s love and humility, the heart of Judas remained untouched, and he persisted in his fiendish purpose of delivering up his Lord into the hands of His bitterest enemies! Oh, what wickedness and hardness of heart!

Jesus suffered death of His Own Will. “The Son of Man, indeed, goeth, as it is written of Him.”

God can bring good out of evil. Although our Lord died of His own will, still Judas was guilty of His Death, and on that account Jesus pronounced “woe” on him. But even as once God turned the crime of Joseph’s brethren to good account, so did He suffer the wickedness of Judas and of the unbelieving Jews to enter into the plan of Redemption, and allow their sin to be the cause of that Death which brought salvation to the world.

Unworthy Communion. Judas received the Body and Blood of our Lord as well as the other apostles, for according to the Gospel of St. Luke he did not go out till after the institution of the Holy Eucharist. He made an unworthy Communion, for he had, in his heart, already agreed to betray his Master, and neither the humility with which Jesus had washed his feet, nor the love which made Him give His own self to be the Food of the disciples, had served to turn him from his vile purpose. After his unworthy Communion his heart became hardened. The love of Jesus did not move him; the threat of everlasting punishment did not deter him; our Lord’s solemn words of warning made no impression on him; he remained obstinate, and gave himself over to the dominion of Satan, who drove him to commit a crime so terrible that a man could not have committed it unaided. See the consequences of an unworthy Communion! To this day, alas, unworthy Communions lead very many to blindness and hardness of heart!

APPLICATION. You can see by the case of Judas how low a man can fall who despises warnings and resists the inspirations of grace. By degrees he becomes so hardened and indifferent, that he is capable of any sin. Examine yourself! Do you take good advice to heart, and act on it? or do you prefer listening to the suggestions of bad companions rather than to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, and the advice of those set over you? Do not harden your heart and follow the example of Judas!








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