The Disciples: Judas, who didn’t make it

Judas Iscariot was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. It is said that Judas came from Judah near Jericho. He was a Judean and the rest of the disciples were Galileans. He obviously became a follower and stayed with Jesus for three years. His name appears in three lists of the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:19) He was the treasurer of the band and one of the most outspoken leaders.

It is said that Judas was a violent Jewish Nationalist who had followed Jesus in hope that through Him his nationalistic flame and dreams might be realized. No one can deny that Judas was a covetous man and at times he used his position as treasurer of the band to pilfer from the common purse. Judas is the supreme enigma of the New Testament because it is so hard to see how anyone who was so close to Jesus, who saw so many miracles and heard so much of the Master’s teaching could ever betray him into the hands of his enemies. He gave Christ three years of his life, but he certainly didn’t give Him his heart, and Jesus knew this. Jesus answered them, “Did I myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him. – John 6:70-71

He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and afterwards hanged himself. Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. – Matthew 26:14,16.

“The other eleven apostles are all great encouragements to us because they exemplify how common people with typical failings can be used by God in uncommon, remarkable ways. Judas, on the other hand, stands as a warning about the evil potential of spiritual carelessness, squandered opportunity, sinful lusts, and hardness of the heart. Here was a man who drew as close to the Savior as it is humanly possible to be. He enjoyed every privilege Christ affords. He was intimately familiar with everything Jesus taught. Yet he remained in unbelief and went into a hopeless eternity.” (from the book Twelve Ordinary Men)

Some feel sorry for Judas, as if he had no choice. Just because God knew didn’t mean he orchestrated this. Judas’ tragic path was his doing. Many say Judas had hoped that Christ would become the mighty King and grab the power that was rightly His. If this was so then it shows how little Judas understood and knew Jesus. Our Galatians reading last week, saw Paul warning the Galatians about not returning to old ways, as that only returns one to slavery and bondage, which is clearly what happened to Judas. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? – Galatians 4:9

Are you, like Judas, ever tempted to throw it all away? What are the things you do to keep yourself on track following Christ? How does Jesus Himself keep you safe and focussed? I am often reminded but by the grace of God go I.

PRAYER: Lord thank you so much for your grace. I know you keep me safe and protect me from myself, other outside pressures that might cause me to become distracted and the evil one. Please keep me focussed and faithful until my race is done. In Jesus Name, Amen

SONG: All of My Days by Hillsong

(Written by Ange van der Leeuw)