Of all places, he was there. How despicable! Trying to play it off as if he were innocent like a dove. “Is it I, Lord?” he said. He knew it was him. He knew exactly what he had done. The audacity to sit there with all of the disciples as if all was fine knowing he was about to tear their whole world apart. It is the face of evil. It is the heart of betrayal shrouded in innocence. Pretending to be a friend, a follower, but really a deceiver, a murderer, a destroyer. Evil is a gentle kiss on the cheek and a knife in the back.
Our Lord was quite aware as He responded to Judas, “Yes, it is you.” He calls out Peter and lets everyone know that Peter will deny Him, but He does not do this to Judas. The eruption from the news of His betrayal allowed for soft words that none other than Judas heard. Surely, I would have thrown Judas out of the room. I would have expelled him before the brothers in that very moment. When we look at all of the Gospel recounts of the Last Supper, it is not clear if Judas remains to take Communion or not. But we do know that Jesus did not expel him. Whether Judas left before communion or after, he left by his own choice. Jesus, however, continued. He continued to establish the New Covenant symbolized by the taking of bread and wine as the body and blood of the Lamb of God shed for the forgiveness of sin.
What do we do when we become aware of evil in our presence? It is so easy to get distracted by evil and be consumed by a desire to drive it from our presence. We will work very hard to destroy its work. The dangerous effect of evil is that it can take our focus off Christ and the things He has called us to. When Jesus sent out the disciples, they returned to Christ saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.” Jesus quickly responded, “…do not rejoice that spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20) They were focused on the wrong thing. Before the commencement of Christ’s ministry, He was led by the Spirit where He was tempted by Satan. Jesus did not expel him, but resisted him. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus after Judas’ kiss, some of the disciples wanted to fight but Christ reminded them that, if He chose, He could call upon the Father who would send legions of angels to save Him. Nevertheless, He told them that this must happen to fulfill the Scriptures. Even now, could the Lord not destroy Satan and all evil? Yet, He gives Satan some freedom to afflict and I will be the first to confess that I don’t like this. I don’t like it! I DON’T LIKE IT! DO YOU HEAR ME! I want evil to stop. I want child abuse, human trafficking, rape, murder, deceit, and every other form of evil to die forever. I know the Lord will destroy it one day, but for now, there seems to be a place for evil.
Without evil, could the full measure of God’s character be revealed? Would we truly know the might of God without an enemy continually defeated situation after situation? Would we know the love of God without falling into temptation then finding forgiveness? Would we know the wisdom of God without the foolishness of evil on display for all to see? Would we know the patience of God without a time to repent, even for the most atrocious acts of evil? As much as we hate it, there is a place for evil.
After Jesus confronted Judas, He continued teaching. He continued giving thanks. He continued communion with His brothers. They broke bread together. They shared the wine of the New Covenant. They sang hymns and worshipped. Perhaps, Judas remained for all of this or he left to plot his moment of betrayal. Either way, evil had a place.
When we find evil in our midst, We must do as Christ did. We expose evil and confront it, but we must understand that evil will have a place until the Lord destroys it forever. Therefore, let us not become so consumed by the frustration, disappointment, and anger stirred by the evil that remains that we stop communing with the Lord. Let us continue to come together, to break bread, to share in the New Covenant, and to worship the Lord. In this way, we will resist the Devil and the Scripture says that if we resist, he will flee. (James 4:7) Just as Christ did not drive out Judas, we will not drive out evil. It has a place, but when we resist the temptations it brings with it, the Devil will flee and we will have respite. We will not drive evil out, but we will have victory over it.
There in the upper room, as evil plotted, they worshipped. There was a place for evil at the Lord’s Table that day and it remains to this day. Yet, if we resist, we will commune with God and be filled with an everlasting peace. The Devil will flee and we will overcome.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord