It’s always been popular to give a child a biblical name. But how many kids do you know named “Judas”?
Judas Iscariot is considered one of the most despised people in history. He did not accuse Jesus… or condemn or try or sentence Jesus… or mock or spit on or put the scourge to the back of Jesus… he did not drive the nails in Jesus’ hands & feet. Yet, he is considered the more evil one in the crucifixion story. Why?
Maybe because anyone could have done any or all of those other things to Jesus. But, only a “friend” could betray Jesus. You have to be close… trusted… to betray. Betrayal is a personal offense.
– List of Apostles… Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:10
judas is always listed last, and is usually listed with the descriptor as “the one who betrayed Jesus”.
We’re not told how or when Judas was called to follow Jesus. We can only assume it was with the same enthusiasm and intent as the others. I doubt he began to follow Jesus with the intent of betraying Him; He would have had many opportunities before the opportunity he took. I think he saw Jesus, believed in Him (or, at least, His cause), and followed Him like the other apostles did.
He was chosen to be treasurer of the group… evidently trusted by someone to some extent. There must have been some positive things about Him.
– Jesus Foretells of Judas… John 6:70,71
– Annointing at Bethany… John 12:1-7
– Plot with the Religious Leaders… Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6
– With Jesus in the Upper Room… Matt. 26:20-25
– Jesus Washes Judas’ Feet… John 13:2-5
– Judas Identifies Judas as Being His Betrayer… John 13:21-30
– Jesus’ Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane… John 17:12
– The Official Act of Betrayal… Luke 22:47,48; Matt. 26:47-49; Mark 14:43-45; John 18:1-5
Why? Was Judas greedy… and wanted the money? If so, why did he then return it to the religious leaders who hired him?
Was it because he was an “outsider”… from Kerioth in S. Judah, and he never felt part of the group?
Was he “demon-possessed” and had no choice in the matter?
Was he disillusioned by Jesus and His teaching, and he saw himself as an enemy?
Was he disillusioned by Jesus’ actions and teaching as Messiah and, as a friend, he wanted to back Jesus into a corner, forcing Him to act… and to become the Messiah Judas thought He should be?
– Returning the “Blood Money”… Matt. 27:1-10
Was this an act of regret? Remorse? Even repentance?
He didn’t go back to the family of believers, but suffered alone… until his “grief” drive him to suicide.
– His Death… Acts 1:16-20 (Ps. 41:9; 69:25; 109:8)
There are more questions than answers about Judas. Why did Jesus pick him to be an apostle, knowing what Judas would eventually do? Why did Judas betray Jesus? Was Judas’ sorrow after the betrayal unto repentance? Is Judas in Heaven or Hell?
To be honest, the reason most of these questions are continually asked is because the answer lies only with God. Only God knows…
To most people – maybe even to the other apostles – Judas appeared to be a committed follower of Jesus. He was the treasurer of the group! He had been given a task of importance no other apostles were not given. So, he had to have been a believer, right? Wring! It is evidently possible to be very involved in Christian activity, and learn the lingo of the church, and look and act like a follower of Jesus… and still be lost.
Judas probably expected a military Messiah… a conquering King who would overthrow the Romans and set God’s people free. Judas had seen how Jesus could impact people with His words… and miracles. So, Judas wondered why Jesus didn’t do something? Instead of acting forcibly, Jesus spoke of being a servant… turning the other cheek… being changed from the inside out… and taking up one’s cross. So, maybe Judas had decided to try to force Jesus’ hand; maybe Judas was trying to back Jesus into a corner so He would have to come out swinging… with all of Heaven behind Him.
But, Jesus never deviated from His God-given mission. And His mission was to save people from lostness.
We should be VERY cautious about trying to tell God what His agenda should be. Rather than trying to manipulate God into doing what we want done, we should submit ourselves to His plan.
Whose agenda are you working today?
You can read the story of Judas in Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:16; John 6:70,71; 12:1-7; Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6; Matthew 26:20-25; John 13:2-5,21-30; 17:12; 18:1-5; Luke 22:47,48; Matthew 26:47-49; Mark 14:43-45; Matthew 27:1-10; Acts 1:16-20.