John 6:70 MEANING

John 6:70
(70) One of you is a devil.--But even the brightness of His hope in them is not uncrossed by a shadow; and this shadow is seen in its fearful darkness by the light of the truth, which, like a flash of inspiration, has come to Peter's heart, and has been spoken in the names of all. No human joy is for the Man of Sorrows unmarred. The very height to which these eleven have risen, through doubt and difficulty, in honest hearts and earnest lives, shows the depth to which one, with like power and capacity, like call and opportunity, had fallen. The order of the words is emphatic in the sadness which asks the question, Did I not choose you twelve, and of you one is devil? There was the same choice for all, and the choice made, as it is always made, from their fitness and promise for the work for which all were chosen. And of even twelve, one who was subject for hope then is beyond hope now. There may be mystery connected with this life of Judas which none of us can understand; there are certainly warnings connected with it which none of us can refuse to heed.

A devil.--The meaning would be more exactly given, perhaps, if the word were simply rendered devil, but this can hardly be expressed in English. See Note on Matthew 16:23, and, further on Judas, see Notes on Acts 1:16-25.

Verse 70. - The answer of the Lord is one of the most solemn and heart-rending character, and a further hint from his own lips of what the evangelist had uttered on his own account. It is an outburst of bitter grief over the moral imperfections which are developing under this strong revelation of the Divine glory. Did I not choose - I, even I the Holy One of God - you the twelve to myself (ἐξελεξάμην), and of you one is a devil? This "choice" is repeatedly referred to (John 13:18; John 15:16; cf. Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2, 24). "He appointed twelve to be with him, that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to cast out daemons" (Mark 3:14). This choice was made in the full human self-consciousness and knowledge of their peculiarities. It is morally inconceivable that he, in his Divine foreknowledge, chose Judas to special reprobation, knowing him then to be devilish in his nature, and so that he might have his character demoralized by this close contact with Christ's holiness, and thus be trained for the damnation of the traitor's sin and doom. Yet this choice, to Christ's human nature and self-consciousness, was early seen to be one which was not softening but hardening the heart of Judas. He brought him nearer to himself, and gave him fresh opportunity of acquiring just ideas of the kingdom and its methods, and by these warnings the Lord was giving him chance after chance of escaping from what, even to the Lord's prophetic human foresight, looked like his destiny. "One of you," says he - "one is devil." Official relation to me is not salvation. Even the admission that I am the Holy One of God is not eternal life. We may compare Christ's severe rebuke to Peter, when, after the grand confession (Matthew 16:16), he counted himself worthy to disapprove the methods of his Lord's mercy, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence to me; thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men." Judas did far worse - he wanted to use the Divine power of his Master for his own personal ends.

6:66-71 When we admit into our minds hard thoughts of the words and works of Jesus, we enter into temptation, which, if the Lord in mercy prevent not, will end in drawing back. The corrupt and wicked heart of man often makes that an occasion for offence, which is matter of the greatest comfort. Our Lord had, in the foregoing discourse, promised eternal life to his followers; the disciples fastened on that plain saying, and resolved to cleave to him, when others fastened on hard sayings, and forsook him. Christ's doctrine is the word of eternal life, therefore we must live and die by it. If we forsake Christ, we forsake our own mercies. They believed that this Jesus was the Messiah promised to their fathers, the Son of the living God. When we are tempted to backslide or turn away, it is good to remember first principles, and to keep to them. And let us ever remember our Lord's searching question; Shall we go away and forsake our Redeemer? To whom can we go? He alone can give salvation by the forgiveness of sins. And this alone brings confidence, comfort, and joy, and bids fear and despondency flee away. It gains the only solid happiness in this world, and opens a way to the happiness of the next.Jesus answered them,.... The disciples, taking Peter's answer to his question, as delivered in the name of them all, and as expressing their mind and sense:

have not I chosen you twelve; not to grace and glory, to holiness and happiness; though this was true of eleven of them, but to be apostles:

and one of you is a devil? or like to one, is a deceiver, a liar, and a murderer, as the devil is from the beginning; all which Judas was, and appeared to be, in the betraying of his master. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "is Satan"; which name, if given to Peter, as it once was on a certain occasion, Matthew 16:23, might very well be given to Judas; who, notwithstanding his profession of faith in Christ, was in the hands and kingdom of Satan, and under his influence and power: and this our Lord said, partly that they might not too much presume upon their faith and love, and steady attachment, and be over confident of their standing; and partly, to prepare them for the apostasy of one from among them.

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