There will always be someone—in a family, team or organization—pursuing his own dubious agenda.
Take Judas. Yes, that Judas. Called by Jesus to His team yet sold Him off for 30 pieces of silver.
“What happened to this disciple who supposedly left everything to follow Jesus?” asked Pastor Robert Hern (Victory SanDiego) in last Sunday’s preaching.
“He knew Jesus. Moved in the power of God. Experienced His miracles first-hand. Listened day-in, day-out to His life-changing teachings. Laid hands on the sick and they got healed.”
Judas lived in the corridors of God’s power! Yet he sold His Master off.
Was he really that evil? But didn’t the other disciples betray or disappoint Jesus too?
Peter disowned Jesus not once but thrice. Thomas always doubted Jesus. When the others reported that Jesus came back to life, Thomas replied, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe,” John 19:25.
Just like most of us to-see-is-to-believe types, unbelief is betrayal too, isn’t it?
James and John behaved arrogantly. Imagine demanding, nay, commanding Jesus, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
So the big question remains: Why Judas? Why not Peter or James or John or Thomas?
Indeed, why not you or me? If we lived in that generation, it could have been a toss-up between you and me. Or someone we know. Anyone and everyone qualify! Anyone could have stepped up to the plate.
Why? Because all of us, along with Judas, are sinners. Everyone fits the role to a T! Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
While Peter et al repented, Judas did not. After he betrayed Jesus, Peter was not only remorseful but completely trusted and obeyed Jesus to the point of persecution and death.
Judas experienced remorse—so he tried to return the money paid him; but never crossed over to repentance; then hanged himself. Why this tragic ending for a Jesus disciple?
Recall the scene when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume: “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” Judas did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money bag, he used to take from what was put into it.…” (John 12:5-6)
Judas loved money more than Jesus. He followed Jesus for the loot, not because He believed.
Interestingly, the name Judas in Hebrew means “Praise Yahweh”.
Heart check: Is there anyone or anything we love more than the Lord? Idols are not just the wood or stone which we put on our altars but even those which sit prominently—money, power, fame—on the throne of our hearts.
It boils down to choice.
Joshua 24:15 — “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”