Summary: Judas is infamous for betraying our Lord, but we are guilty of betraying Him as well every time we break one of His commandments.
DON’T BE A JUDAS
Text: Mark 14:12 – 26
Over the past 21 years, I have had the privilege of teaching over a thousand students. I have lost count of how many Joshes I have taught. Jordan is a popular name too, and as a matter of fact, I have two of them in my classes this year. I’ve taught Dereks and Billys and Trents. I have even taught an Elvis, a Sunshine, and a Stardust. In addition to this, I know the names of thousands of other people, people that I have worked with, gone to school or church with, or been neighbors with. But in my 43 years of knowing all these people I have never known one person named Judas. Think about it for a moment. How many Judases do you know?
We don’t know a lot about the man named Judas in this scripture. His father’s name was Simon, and he was thought to be from the southern part of Judah. He was the treasurer of the disciples and he helped himself to their money. The Bible says that he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and that he later returned the money and went out and killed himself. He is always listed last among the disciples, and is frequently identified as the traitor among them. It is because of his actions that you probably know no one with the name Judas today. He is remembered as the man who betrayed Christ, and no one wants their child to be identified with that.
Mark tells us that it was time to celebrate the Passover. Thousands of Jews had come to Jerusalem for that reason. Jewish custom was that if you had extra space available in your home that you would lend it out to anyone who had come to celebrate Passover. Jesus had apparently made arrangements to use a large upper room in Jerusalem. Many think that this house belonged to Mark’s family, and that the man that Jesus told John and Peter to look for was actually Mark’s father. Jesus knew that the officials would come looking for Him soon, so he purposely kept the location of the feast secret until the last minute.
Peter and John were identified as the two disciples that Jesus sent by Luke. They leave Bethany, which is where Jesus had been staying, and go to Jerusalem to look for a man carrying a water pot. Carrying water was women’s work, so a man carrying a water pot would certainly be something that the disciples would notice. They find the man and tell him that Jesus had sent them to prepare for the Passover.
Passover actually started at sundown, and Jesus brings His disciples to the upper room. They celebrate the Passover together, but Jesus gives a new meaning to the meal. He tells them that the bread that they are eating symbolizes His body which will soon be broken and battered for them. The wine in the cup represents His blood that is about to be poured out for the sins of the world.
Then Jesus does something that completely takes the disciples off guard. He tells them that one of them will betray Him. They take turns asking, “Is it me?” and Jesus tells them it is one of the twelve. One of the other Gospels records that when Judas asks the question, Jesus responds by saying, “You have said it.” He dismisses Judas to go and do his dastardly deed. The Bible records that the other disciples have no idea where Judas was going or about what he was about to do. According to John, Satan entered into Judas as he left.
I believe that there are several things that we can learn from Judas’ betrayal. As I said before, Judas has become known as the world’s worst traitor. Webster’s Dictionary says that a traitor is one that betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty. What is your duty? Ecclesiastes 12:13 says “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” I stand before you as a traitor today. In the past week, I have failed to keep several of God’s commandments. I was made aware of this as I studied for this message, and I had to stop what I was doing and ask God to forgive me.
That leads me to my first point: none of us is beyond betraying our Lord. Each one of the disciples asked Jesus “Is it me?” because each one realized that he was capable of doing it. I have heard of people that believed that after they were saved they never committed another sin, and I have known of several people that certainly acted that way. But listen to what the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:18, 19) The apostle Paul, maybe the best Christian that ever lived, struggled with sin. That means that you will too. Years later, the apostle John was writing to a group of Christians and said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 – 10) Just like Paul and the Christians that John was writing to, you are capable of breaking God’s commandments and betraying him.