Summary: Judas Iscariot was a miracle-working follower of Christ. Yet in the end, he turned out to be one of histories worst sinners. How can we, as beleivers, avoid the same fate?
2 Corinthians 13 :5 “Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.”
I. Who was Judas?
A. His name was Judas Iscariot, his last name meaning “a man of Kerioth.” This is significant because all of the other Apostles were from Galilee, whereas he was not. Judas was the Apostle who carried the purse for the other 11 and Jesus, and is the one (most believe) who asked Jesus about the wasting of the ointment, and whether he shouldn’t sell it and give the money to the poor. (John 12:4-6) In verse 7 he gets rebuked by Christ. Both Matthew and Mark follow this story with the story of the betrayal of Christ, but both John and Luke make sure to mention that the “Devil entered him” right before he did his evil deeds. They may have felt empathy for how their old friend is to be remembered in history. (Luke 22:3-6 & John 13:21-27) Some think that he did it for the money; some think it was to get even for being rebuked at in the house of Simon the Leper when he thought the woman was wasting the ointment on Jesus’ feet.(Matt 26:6-14). Jesus showed everyone who was going to betray him at the last supper, then sent Judas away, telling him to do whatever he was going to do soon. Judas immediately looked for the chief priests and officials who agreed to pay him to betray Jesus to them. Judas then goes to the garden where Jesus was and kisses him, signaling to the officials and chief priests whom to arrest. Jesus went peacefully. After Jesus’ crucifixion, Matthew states that Judas returned the 30 pieces of silver to the priests and stated that he “had shed innocent blood,” and they didn’t care about his remorse. Matthew then states that (Matt 27:3-10)Judas hanged himself and the priests went and used the money to buy a potter’s field to bury the poor. They didn’t want to give the money to the church. Peter states in Acts that Judas bought a field with the money and fell headlong over a cliff on it and burst open. Whether suicide or not, Judas didn’t live much beyond Christ. Peter then stated that a replacement (Acts 1:15-26) for Judas needed to be named, so they prayed and drew straws, Matthias winning, and he was added to the 11.
II. What was Judas’sin?
1. America has the Death penalty for 2 crimes: murder and treason. In 1951 a federal judge finds Julius and Ethel Rosenberg guilty of treason (selling atomic secrets to the Soviets) and they were executed.
a. Treason is defined as “the betrayal of trust.” When we disobey God, are we not betraying his trust? Jonah not doing what he was commanded? Us not doing what we are told to do or not do by God?
B. Love of money
1. He had to weigh: wealth with a guilty conscience vs. poverty with a clean one. He chose money over morality. When it was all over, he didn’t even want the money--he gave it back--but he couldn’t undo what he had done.
2. Does money bring misery? Probably not, but the unending reaching and not attaining can bring misery. Greek myth of Tantalus, who was punished by Zeus for misdeeds by being placed in water up to his neck, but every time he bent his head to drink, the water level dropped, only to raise again when he raised his head. There was food dangled above his head that was pulled up when he reached for it. He was made immortal so that his torment would never end. We get the English word “tantalizing” from this. Is this the way we are with our pursuit of possessions?
C. Gave up hope
1. Even when Guilt had overcome Judas, he repented to the wrong people, the priests and officials. An apology to Christ probably would’ve saved his soul. (Matt 27:3&4)
2. He saw no way out, and killed himself---the ultimate giving up.
III. Why did Jesus call Judas? Did Jesus know?
A. Jesus never did anything by accident. Jesus chose him on purpose, knowing what would happen all the while. Judas did not trick Jesus. John 13:26 Jesus knew before Judas.
B. To fulfill scripture’s prophecy
1. Psalms 41:9 Scripture says that the Messiah will be betrayed
2. Zechariah 11:12&13 Scripture says that it will be for 30 pieces of silver
C. To prove his Deity - John 13: 18-19 “if it happens the way scripture says, I am the Messiah”
D. He chose him to show that the church can overcome tragedy and divisiveness. John 16:32-33 “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”