Summary: To discuss the importance of following Christ for the right reasons
Judas Iscariot: A Fraud
Primary Purpose: To discuss the importance of following Christ for the
For a little over one a half years, I worked in the fraud department at
Capital One credit cards. Part of my job was to detect fraudulent application,
high dollar check fraud and true name fraud. True name fraud is when
someone tries to take over another person’s credit and pretend to be him or
her. Usually if there was significant doubt about the person or if we had
trouble verifying info we would ask the person to fax identificatioin proof- a
copy of driver’s license and social secruity card. Usually if a person did so,
we could confirm their i.d.. Sometimes though, people sent in doctored
driver’s licenses or false i.d.’s. My partner Bill kept pictures at his desk of
what legitimate i.d.’s looked like, so we would know. They can vary from
state to state and year to year.
It was stressful when people wanted to pretend they were the real
person and you knew they weren’t. It was always good to have proof. This
morning, we look at the biggest fraud in the Bible- Judas Iscariot. I want us
to think abuot why he made the choice he did. Why he followed Jesus.
Then, what lessons can we learn from him. ( Read Text).
We can see that Jesus knew early on that one of his disciples would
betray him. In John 6:70, he calls one of the disciples a devil. He says in our
passage today that he would have been better off not being born. The devil
thought to use Judas to win his victory over God. God though brought good
out of the bad intend of Judas.
God’s Sovereignty v.s. Free Will. Some people feel sorry for Judas,
as if he didn’t have a choice. Yes, Jesus knew from the beginning who would
betray him, but God gives us free will. Judas sat at Jesus’ feet fro 3 years
seeing him, the miracles, the teachings. Many of these things directly applied
to issues Judas dealt with- greed, selfish ambition, hunger for fame and
power. Jesus gave Judas every chance to repent, but he didn’t. Jesus
knocked on Judas’ door for 3 years, yet he didn’t turn to him.
Rev 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he
So Judas had a free choice, yet God knew the choice he would make.
There is a tension there. A famous pastor named Spurgeon once said,
“If . . . I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is
foreordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is
responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is onlky my folly that leads
me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other.”
He’s saying it’s not a contradict to affirm both God’s Sovereignty and
free will at the same time.
So why did Judas follow Jesus? Old Testament scholar and the
Pharisees in Jesus day believed the Messiah would be a earthly king. They
looked at passages such as in Isaiah 2 and decided the “Anointed One” of
God would rule on earth. That is part of the plan- eventually. Judas, I think,
wanted in on the action. Most of the disciples also wanted recognition, but
eventually their expectations would alter. Judas wanted money, power and
prestige. He thought this man who quiets storms and opens the eyes of the
blind and feeds the multitude would one day become king. Judas is a picture
of how dark and hard a person’s heart can become. It’s an example of what
greed and selfish ambition can do. While Matthew left his gold and silver at
the tax office, Judas had the money bag and use to steal out of it. The final
decision for Judas seemed to come in John 12:3-8 when Mary, sister of
Lazarus and Martha, pours a bottle of extremely expensive perfume on Jesus.
She’s worshiping Jesus. She’s adoring him for who he is. Mary is always
pictured at Jesus’ feet- taking in the word, adoring him. Judas just can’t
stand it to see that perfume wasted on Jesus. He wants the money for
himself. Jesus rebukes him. You notice that Judas never says another word.
I think his mind was made us then. It is the decision point for Judas about
what God he will serve. So, he trades Jesus in for 30 pieces of silver. That’s
the price of a slave, it’s not that much. But, Judas is just blind with hate and
So, what can we learn from Judas. How can we learn from his