Summary: Was Judas a good man or bad? What can his actions warn us of in our own walk with God?
OPEN: When a couple caught an intruder in their bedroom, the thief pulled a gun and announced, "Now that you’ve seen me, I’m going to have to shoot you."
He pointed his gun at the woman and said, "I like to know the names of my victims. What’s your name?"
"Elizabeth," the woman replied.
The intruder looked shocked and then said, "I can’t go through with this. My mother was named Elizabeth."
Then, recovering his composure, the intruder turned his gun on the husband. "What’s your name?’ he asked.
The husband looked at the gun, looked at his wife, looked back at the burglar and then stuttered "Joe," the terrified man said. "But all my friends call me Elizabeth."
APPLY: Your name can have a lot to do with how others view you. It can even influence how you view yourself. For example, before WWII, the New York phone book had 22 Hitlers listed … and none after. The people changed their name because they didn’t want to be associated with the evil of that man.
Similarly, no one I know would deliberately name their children Jezebel or Delilah or Herod or (pause…) Judas.
Actually, there’s nothing wrong with the name itself. Judas is a variant of Judah – one of the great tribes of Israel. It means: “He shall be praised” It’s a great name… but it’s been tainted, it’s been fouled, it’s been dishonored by a man whose faithlessness & cowardess have forever branded the name Judas as the mark of a traitor.
In fact, for many years the term “Judas kiss” was used to describe the disloyalty of so-called friend who would “double-cross you” or who would betray your trust.
The foulness of Judas’s act was so appalling that when Matthew, Mark and Luke 1st introduce the 12 Apostles, they each end their list by saying something like this: “Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. “ (Luke 6:16)
It’s almost like they were saying was – yes there were two Judases in the 12… but Judas Iscariot was the traitor. Don’t confuse him with Judas the son of James. That Judas was a good guy. But that Judas Iscariot – he was a very bad man.
I. Now, not everybody thinks Judas was a bad man
ILLUS: The Musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” depicts Judas as a misunderstood hero who was trying to save Jesus from his self-destructive ways. Judas meant well, but he ended up getting Jesus killed anyway.
Well, this morning, we need to set the record straight - Judas was a not a nice man. John 12:3-6 tells us
“Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ’Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’
He 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 help himself to what was put into it.”
Why would God share this story with us?
I believe He included this insight so that we would not be misled into thinking Judas was trying to do Jesus a favor. Judas was in it for the money, pure and simple. Judas sold Jesus for money… because financial gain was his god.
In fact, there’s reason to believe that Judas had been like this when Jesus chose him. In His prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed:
“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12 – KJV)
In other words: Judas’s role in betraying Jesus had been prophesied 100’s of years before he was born. That leads me to believe that Judas was chosen as an Apostle because of the kind of man he was:
· He was a thief
· a self-centered individual
· a man who entered relationships for what he could get out of them
· who made friends only to use them and abuse their trust
He was perfect for the role
II Thessalonians 2:9-12 tells us
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”