<<the disciple who betrayed Jesus>>
He was chosen by Jesus to be with Him, to see the miracles He did, and was given authority to heal and deliver people from evil spirits (Mt 10:1-4). Yet he allowed Satan access to his mind and wrong motives led to his downfall (Lk 22:1-6). This should be a warning for us to guard our hearts more than any treasure, because through temptations Satan will seek to bring us to ruin (regardless of our seeming ability to resist his attacks), while God desires it to be the means of victory and freedom as we choose life (Gen 4:7; Deut 30:19; Prov 4:23; Act 5:3; 1 Cor 10:12). Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, being instrumental to help outwork the plan of salvation yet stated it would be better if he had never been born (Mt 26:21-25; Lk 9:44; Jn 17:12). His story is told in the four Gospels and Acts 1:18-25.
Lessons from his life: * Judas lived in close physical contact with Jesus for up to 3½ yrs yet his heart wasn’t changed. He had likely healed the sick and driven out evil spirits and then increasingly yielded himself to Satan instead of allowing the life and Spirit of Jesus to transform and control his inner being (Lk 9:1,2). Part way through the final Passover meal, Judas left to finalize the betrayal arrangements (Lk 22:14-23). We may profess commitment to Christ, having a lifestyle and actions that appear righteous, however ultimately any weakness in our lives will be made manifest. There is a solemn warning to those who just have an outer appearance of pretence without the inner reality of truly being connected with Jesus, being told “depart from me” (Mt 7:21-23; Act 1:25). Never is it recorded Judas called Jesus “Lord” but only “Rabbi” which means teacher; he never allowed the knowledge to change his character. He may have been in the close circle of Jesus’ disciples but there was little fellowship, and only three documented dialogues with Him. (Mt 26:25; Lk 22:48; Jn 12:1-8). What is my relationship with Jesus – intellectual or a close intimate heart connection?
* He kept the money bag to pay the expenses of the disciples and Jesus (Jn 13:29). Evidently he had often helped himself to these funds, so greed may have been the reason he was prepared to ‘sell’ Jesus with this little sin developing into a trap that ultimately destroyed him (Mt 26:15; Jn 12:3-6). One of Jesus’ teachings was “what is the advantage if a person gains the whole world and loses their own soul” (Mk 8:36). Jesus may have put Judas in charge of the finances to try and correct this inherit weakness in him yet he did not choose to overcome it. He allowed his desire for money to entertain the thought by which Satan could manipulate him. Inappropriate handling of money is one of the three main areas of temptation that Satan uses to trip people up. When handling money on behalf of others, there must be honest accountability for all transactions. Other people like Judas ‘crucify’ family togetherness to amass material wealth. We must deal with all ungodly desires as these are openings or weak areas of our personality that Satan can manipulate for his evil purposes (Jn 13:27).
* When Judas realised he had done wrong he tried to return the money saying, “I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood” (Mt 27:3-5). However, nowhere does the Bible record he sought forgiveness from Christ, against whom he had sinned, rather he tried to remedy the situation by his own initiative, yet the grace and mercy of God is our only solution (Eph 2:8,9; 1 Jn 1:9). Without Christ, he had no hope and took his own life in suicide – such an action does not resolve anything as the matter will be addressed in the next world (Rom 14:12). His was a worldly sorrow resulting in death as opposed to true repentance that results in life (2 Cor 7:10). When we have sinned do we fully acknowledged it, seeking forgiveness from all those we have wronged?
See also: betrayal, choice, consequences, disciples of Jesus, suicide, temptation.