Evil in the Midst

John 13:21-22
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

Nobody turned and pointed and said, “It must be Judas.”  The disciples looked at each other and wondered who it could be.  They weren’t sure who the betrayer was because it wasn’t obvious, and as they looked around, maybe they could think of reasons why it could be any one of them.  Peter seemed to mess up a lot.  Maybe he’d finally gone too far.  Matthew was a publican.  Maybe he made some kind of underhanded deal with someone.  James and John had clamored for position.  Maybe they wanted Jesus out of the way.  Or perhaps their thoughts turned inward and they had to examine their own hearts to see if it was possible they themselves could betray their Lord.

The truth is that evil intentions are often very subtle.  Deception by its nature seeks to be unnoticed.  Wickedness thrives in darkness and shadow.  And sometimes we can be easily fooled by how someone appears.  Jesus had talked a lot about the Pharisees appearing righteous on the outside but being unclean in their hearts, and it was a warning to the disciples, as well.  Truly we are all capable of hiding some evil deep down within ourselves that is not obvious to anyone around us.

The disciples had been together as a group for a long time.  They’d spent so much time together that they probably knew each other well and had become friends.  And we may think we know someone only to find out later that they aren’t who we thought they were.  We may end up being betrayed ourselves by someone we thought we could trust.  We may be surprised at times what can lurk in the hearts of people we thought were our friends.  But will we cast them out, or will we seek to still show the love of Christ to them despite what they’ve done to us?

Let’s be aware that not everyone is as genuine as they may seem.  Evil in disguise is all around us and may even be walking among us.  Not everyone’s intentions are pure and not everyone’s motives are right.  And sometimes people can even blend in at church and have us fooled.  But we don’t need to be suspicious or doubtful of everyone we come across or fearful of betrayal from our friends.  God knows the hearts of everyone, and He knows who loves Him and who is pretending, and He will deal with them in His own way.  Let us simply continue to do right ourselves and be good friends and be faithful to our Lord, following His example.

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