Summary: Of all the characters who march across the stage of Bible history, there is none so tragic nor so despicable as that of Judas Iscariot.
FAMOUS BIBLE CHARACTERS: JUDAS, THE BETRAYER
INTRODUCTION: Of all the characters who march across the stage of Bible history, there is none so tragic nor so despicable as that of Judas Iscariot. A poet described him as;The base Judean who flung a pearl away Richer than all his tribe.
There is something horrible about the way he betrayed Christ with a kiss. One preacher described it as The hiss of a kiss... Not the least of all the dark aspects of his life is the way he
died. There is a mystery of horror about this character which makes him typical of all the dastardly traitors of all the ages. Even Jesus said of him, It would have been good had he never been born.
I. The Character of Judas:
We know nothing of Judas prior to his call by Jesus. To have been called as an Apostle implies that he had previously declared himself a disciple. It is thought that he was drawn, as were the. Other eleven, by the preaching of John. Perhaps he had never been a disciple of John, but had heard the gracious wards of the Teacher as Jesus traveled through Judea with his followers. (See John 3:22), In any case it is probable Judas was among those who received the call to Apostleship at the sea of Tiberias (Matthew 4: 18-22).
There should be no doubt for the astute student of God's Word about the character of Judas at the time of his call. Jesus, being able to read the hearts of Men (John 2: 25) selected His Apostles with care. Judas had talents and gifts comparable to the other eleven and due to that supposed fact, his call was not a matter of surprise to them, nor did they think it strange.
John 6: 64.
It is felt by most authorities that the germs of the evil unfolded themselves gradually. The rules of which the Twelve were subject in their first journey (Matthew 10: 9, 10), sheltered him from the temptation that later engulfed him. We find traces of evil in his life as early as Luke 8: 13.
They on the rock are they,
which, when they hear receive the word with joy;
and these have no root,
which for a while believe,
and in time of temptation fall away.
It would be hard to prove that this principle did not have a direct application to Judas.
From a strict Biblical perspective, we must refer to John for any reference to Judas between his call and the events immediately preceding the betrayal. John makes these allusions with the manifest purpose of making known the nefarious character of Judas. In the sequence of allusions there is a gradual development and growing clearness in the manner in which Jesus makes prophecy regarding his future betrayal. In John 6: 70 Jesus said, Did I not choose you, the twelve? And one of you is a devil. John writing after the betrayal tells his readers that Jesus was speaking about Judas (verse 71).. One can only wonder why this warning, and others similar to it, did not cause a cessation of the betraying spirit, or initiate a break of their relationship by Judas is hard to fathom. Perhaps the fact that Jesus never mentioned his future betrayer by name caused Judas to stay with him to the end.
We know that the gradual inception of evil into his character was brought about by personal motives for gain. The gain must have been great enough to induce him to remain in spite of the warnings of Jesus.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6: 19, 20) Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing covered up that shall not be revealed. (Luke 12: 1, 2)
II. Why Select One Who Would Be A Betrayer?
Some, on the ground of God's absolute foreknowledge, con-tent themselves with saying, with Calvin, that the judgments of God are as a great deep, and with others, that Judas was chosen in order that the divine purpose might be accomplished through him.
7 We may be sure that a dear friend of Jesus would betray him, (Psa. 41: but to remove the possibility of that one exercising his freedom (9, 55: 13) of choice of betrayal for him places God in the role of manipulater and man in the role of puppet. Surely none of us are ready for that. Some see room for this supposed attribute of God in John 6: 64, but the meaning, clearly, is that Jesus knew from the inception of the sin of betrayal in Judas' heart that he would betray him.