Jesus had a friend named Judas Iscariot. He chose Judas to be His Friend. Judas traveled with Him. He saw the many miracles of Jesus. He heard all the teachings. He had the opportunity for long personal talks with Jesus.
Jesus trusted him with the money for his group. Judas was the treasurer. He was a part of the inner circle. But if you hear the name, Judas, what comes to mind? Most of us think of the one who betrayed Jesus to death.
How did this young man come so close to the Kingdom of God and then lose it all? Judas, like Eve, was taken in by a an offer from satan. Satan offered what seemed to be a better deal than what God was offering.
There is evidence that Judas loved money. Money is a short step from power, another of Judas‘ desires. John 12:4-6 reveals that Judas “was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
Timothy later aptly notes, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (2nd Timothy 6:10)
Judas, like some of the other disciples, expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman rule and function as an earthly king. Judas loved the cause he thought Jesus represented. There is little evidence that Judas loved Jesus.
Shortly before Jesus’ Death, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, made a bold proclamation of her love for Jesus. She poured expensive perfume all over His Feet and wiped His Feet with her hair.
Judas was horrified! He quickly pointed out that the perfume could have been sold and the money used to feed the poor. Judas had heard Jesus tell a rich, young ruler that he should sell all he had, give the money to the poor and come follow Him. So weren’t Judas’ thoughts in line with what Jesus had preached?
Judas missed the point. Selling all one’s possessions and giving the money to the poor were only the first two steps before the all important step of following Jesus. In the case of the rich man, Jesus wanted to remove any obstacles that would keep the potential follower from looking back. Jesus wanted him fully focused on Him for His Provision.
Mary was focused on Jesus. Judas was not. Judas was focused on the money and what he believed the money could do. He, perhaps, saw all the money that could have been added to treasury of which he had control … the treasury from which he was stealing.
When satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Jesus won every round by quoting the Word of God. Eventually satan tired of the game and left Jesus. However, scripture reveals “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13) Satan is patient and persistent … and he looks for the “opportune time” to lure his prey.
Satan found his opportune time with Judas. Judas, fueled by the love of money and power, and hungry for the True Love he had refused to accept from Jesus, was an easy target.
As Jesus‘ Ministry expanded, the crowds following him, grew, The chief priests decided the only solution was to eliminate Jesus. They plotted ways to accuse Him and kill Him. However, they recognized Jesus had a number of supporters. They were concerned that a riot might ensue if they tried to take Jesus from the midst of a crowd.
They were eager to deal with Him before the Jewish Passover Celebration. Time and strategy were of the essence. Judas knew the time was right. He was disillusioned with how Jesus’ Ministry was going. And Jesus was not offering any hope for the future. In fact, He was now frankly talking about a dismal end to His Time on earth and it was sounding as if He expected the disciples to fall with Him.
Judas undoubtedly had listened to the “other side” as well as somewhat listening to Jesus. Judas saw his opportunity to gain status with the prevailing rulership, make money and get out of the group, who was going to be defeated soon. Judas defected. He agreed to deliver Jesus to His enemies under cover of darkness and before the Passover celebration began. He agreed to do all of this for … you guessed it … money.
The night before the Passover, Judas, along with the other disciples, joined Jesus for supper. Jesus said many important things that night. But in the midst of it all, Jesus dropped a bombshell. He revealed that there was one among them, who would betray Him.
The disciples asked one by one, “Lord, is it I?” While the others referred to Jesus as Lord, Judas never called Him Lord. He only referred to Him as Teacher. This is a crucial point. When we see Jesus only as a great teacher, but not our Lord and Savior, satan has a major open door to our thoughts.
In John 13:13, Jesus said, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am.” Judas did not ever call Him Lord.
Judas said to Jesus, “Surely You don’t mean me, Rabbi.” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:25) Jesus never once called Judas a betrayer. He still saw him as a wonderful creation of God, who had every right and privilege God had given him. This included the right to choose who he would be. Judas would choose whether he would be a follower or a traitor.
But Jesus knew it was the time to decide. No more one foot in one world and one foot in another. Jesus told him, “what you are about to do, do quickly.” (John 13:27) Judas made his choice.
Having opened the door to satan and closed the door to Jesus as Lord, Judas was ripe for picking. As soon as Judas took the Bread Jesus offered him, John 13:27 records, satan entered into Judas. From the time of Judas’ surrender to the power of evil, satan directed Judas’ every move.
In the next post, we will follow Jesus and Judas into the Garden of Gethsemane. Satan must have loved the repeating of history. He liked to believe he had brought mankind and God to their knees in the perfect Garden of Eden. Once again, he returned to a Garden to deliver what he was sure would be the final defeat of God’s Kingdom.
Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
For those who eat and drink without discerning the Body of Christ eat and drink judgement on themselves.
1st Corinthians 11:27-29
As soon as Judas took the bread, satan entered into him.