Summary: When you picture Judas what do you see? A monster, or a devilish figure? Do you ever see yourself? The truth is we have a lot more in common with Judas than we care to admit. In this lesson we'll explore the life of Judas and how it relates to our own.
When it comes to villains the Bible has its fair share. There’s Cain the brother-killer. The conniving Delilah. The murderous Jezebel. The rampaging Manasseh. And then there’s public-enemy #1, Judas the betrayer of Jesus. Too often we look at the villains and we see people that we can’t relate to. And perhaps that true with some but not with Judas. What I want you to see this morning is that we are more similar to Judas than we care to think. Let’s start by looking at three facts about Judas; then we’ll look at his struggle with sin; his betrayal of Jesus; the aftermath and some lessons we can learn from him.
Three Facts about Judas:
#1. He was a man, not a monster.
Typically when we think about Judas we picture him as a monster, sort of like the serpent of the New Testament but only more devilish, more evil. Perhaps this comes from John 6:70-71, “One of you is a devil… He spoke of Judas Iscariot.” The idea in this passage is that Judas was devilish, or slanderous. The word used here is diabolos it’s translated as devil but it is also translated slanderers in other passages (1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3). Essentially this is no difference in Jesus calling Judas a devil and Jesus calling Peter Satan in Matthew 16:23. So let’s not allow this imagine of him as a devilish monster cloud our perspective of Judas because he was man just like us. Just like us, he was a man created in the imagine of God (Genesis 1:26), not for evil works, as some would say, but for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
#2. He was a disciple of Jesus.
Often times, Judas is portrayed is being a traitor from the very beginning of his time with Jesus. But in fact Judas was a chosen disciple of Jesus. When Jesus chose His twelve apostles (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19;Luke 6:12-16) Judas is named among them. When Jesus sends out the twelve two-by-two to cast out unclean spirits and preach repentance Judas goes and he reports all that he had done and preached (Mark 6:7-13, 30-31). And when it came to following Jesus, Judas was farther away from home than any of the other disciples. We know that Jesus spent the majority of His ministry in and around Galilee and that His disciples were all Galileans, except Judas. Judas was from the city of Kerioth in south Judah. We know this because he was called Judas Ish Kerioth or Judas man of Kerioth. So let’s realize that we are just like Judas; disciples of Jesus who are willing to follow Him; disciples of Jesus who are willing to go where He sends; disciples of Jesus who are willing to sacrifice in order to be with Him.
#3. He was a trusted friend.
Normally we view Judas through the lens of hindsight. Because we know the end of the story we look back on him as not being a trusted friend but when we look at him in real-time, from the perspective of the other disciples, a picture begins to form of Judas being a trusted friends. The other disciples trusted Judas enough to let him carry the money bag for the group (John 12:6, 13:29). The disciples didn’t choose the least trustworthy person like Matthew (tax collectors were know to skim off the top Luke 19:8 ESV) to keep their money but the most trustworthy and that was Judas. But not only was he trustworthy he was also a friend. For three years these men traveled together, lived together, ate together, worked together, and argued together. They were close friends. In fact Judas was seen as such a close trusted friend that the disciples didn’t even question why he left supper after Jesus identifies him as His betrayer (John 13:18-30).
Then if Judas was all of these good things what went wrong, why did he become a traitor and betray the Lord? What went wrong with Judas? Why did he become a traitor? Luke reminds us that Judas became a traitor (Luke 6:16), implying that when he was called by Jesus he was a believer. But what happened? What went wrong with Judas? Why did he become a traitor? The answer can be summed up in one sentence… He didn’t resist the devil.
From James 4:7 we learn that if we will “Resist the devil… he will flee from [us].” The idea in this passage is not that if we resist the devil will flee from us and never comeback to tempt us again. James is saying the true way of meeting Satan is by direct resistance. Direct resistance means we steadfastly refuse to compromise even to the slightest degree to what he wants us to do. Direct resistance means we don’t give place to his schemes by somehow thinking that if we go along with his demands we can return back to a right-standing before God once we’ve done Satan’s bidding. Direct resistance means we seek help from our brethren to help us bear the burden of Satan’s attacks. But Judas didn’t do any of these things and so Satan didn’t flee from him.