Painful Choices

"Jesus only had a few short years on earth, and yet the people he chose to remain closest to were not who you would expect."

1 John 1:9-10

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”


Have you ever wondered why God picked each of the 12 disciples? He could have chosen anyone. He could have done his ministry alone. Yet Jesus handpicked an earthly kinship with a group of unlikely and controversial men. He didn’t pick this group to simply brief them every once in a while with a revelation; these men traveled with him, cared for his physical needs, and helped manage the logistics and finances of his ministry work. They represented Jesus wherever they went. They were known for being his disciples, which meant they carried his reputation with them into every conversation and community throughout the region. Jesus only had a few short years on earth, and yet the people he chose to remain closest to were not who you would expect.

His inclusion of Judas has always challenged me. Have you ever sat with the story of Judas?

Ever wonder why he was chosen to be a part of the friend group, especially when Jesus was fully aware of his cagey choices and forthcoming betrayal? Here’s what we know:

Judas was appointed by Jesus (Mark 3:14).

Judas oversaw the group’s financial well-being (John 13:29).

Judas had a sinful heart (John 12:5).

Judas was known by Jesus (12:6-8).

Judas had a money problem; he was a thief (John 12:6).

Judas betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

And still, Judas was welcomed by Jesus.


Have you ever known someone’s history, their perpetual painful choices, and stayed close to them? Continually invited them over for dinner in your house, introduced them to your family and friends, hired them to run important points of your family business, even let them represent you around town?

Jesus did.

This is so radical to me, so challenging. It’s completely countercultural and self-effacing.

Of all the people in history, wasn’t Jesus’ reputation the most important thing to solidify during his time here on earth? Why show intimate welcome toward Judas? Judas’ choices surely affected the group—where they slept, how long they stayed in certain places, the amount of food and water they were able to buy. Jesus also knew that Judas’ choices would affect him the most. That they would be costly and painful to him personally.

He also knew his welcome toward Judas would help bring about the salvation of the world.


Thoughtful Questions:

  • Which part of Judas’ story challenges you the most? Why?
  • Have you ever intentionally welcomed someone into your life or your workplace that made others question your reputation? If so, what happened when you did?
  • Is there someone you’re aware of who continues to make poor and painful choices that challenges your welcome toward them?
    • If so, take some time to pray for them.
  • Reflect on Christ’s welcome toward Judas. Pray about how this kind of welcome should change your welcome toward others.