Summary: This is the 12th sermon in the "Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles" series.
Series: Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles [#12]
JUDAS ISCARIOT- THE COMPANY OF THE BETRAYERS
Who was this man Judas? He came from Kerioth, a little village in south Judea. He was the only 1 of the 12 who was not a Galilean. He probably was named after Judas Maccabeus, a man who led the Jews in a mighty war in past history. Perhaps Judas was possessed with his ambition to throw off the Roman yoke of bondage.
Hearing of the Messiah, Judas made his way to Galilee to see Him. He saw His great power and miracles, was drawn to him; and then 1 day, Jesus called him to be 1 of His Disciples. Judas became 1 of the 12. He was a fiery little man, a leader, full of zeal, selfish, fanatical, intolerant, and greedy.
Matthew 26:20-25 (NIV)
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”
1. The treason of Judas.
Judas betrayed Christ, but treason is not a characteristic of Judas alone. It has inscribed its black mark on people everywhere. In the Garden of Eden, we see Adam and Eve betraying God. Joseph's own brothers betrayed him. Ananias and Sapphira betrayed their Lord. Woven into the tapestry of the church are the words, "All forsook Him and fled." This is the real company of the betrayers.
Jesus made 1 last appeal to Judas before his betrayal. Can you visualize the scene that took place at the Last Supper? In those days the guests reclined on low couches, resting on their left elbow with the right hand free for raising food and drink. Clearly, John is at Jesus' right, for he was reclining on His bosom; but the most favored guest was placed at the host's left, for the host would be reclining with his head on the breast of the person on his left. It seems clear that Judas was occupying the place of special honor. At 1 point of the ceremony, some bitter herbs were placed between 2 pieces of unleavened bread, dipped in the broth, and eaten. That was called the sop; and for the host to personally make up the sop and hand it to a guest was a mark of distinct honor. Jesus handed the sop to Judas, then said, "One of you will betray me." Around the table they asked, "Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” When Judas asked, " Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi”; Jesus answered, "You have said so." So, Judas went out and made his plans for the betrayal. He knew where Jesus would be- His favorite place of prayer, the Garden of Gethsemane.
So, Judas, in the full light of the Passover moon, led the authorities there. We watch him as he comes into the Garden; soldiers carrying lanterns and staves are with him. Judas approaches Jesus quickly and quietly. He bows down, takes Jesus' hand, and kisses it, saying, "Master". A kiss on the hand was the token greeting between a disciple and his teacher. I do not think Judas betrayed Christ at once. He had tried to follow Christ, but his heart had never been able to do it fully. No person ever betrays Christ all at once. There is rarely ever 1 decisive act to reject our Lord; but an accumulation of small wrongs growing heavier and heavier until the rejection is complete.
Note 3 aspects of the treason:
? God called Judas to a high and holy place.
? Judas chose his own way.
Dismiss the idea that Judas was a mere puppet on a string. Jesus chose Judas to a high and holy place, but Judas refused and chose to go his own way.
? Judas, choosing his own way, went to his own place.
His act had consequences. His destiny was determined by his choice. You and I are free moral agents. We make our choices, but they, in turn, make us.
2. The truth about Judas.
Why did Judas betray Christ? Was it because of cowardice? The Bible says that the fear of man is a snare. Some do betray Christ because of fear of the crowd. They reject Him because they do not have the courage to confess Him before people. Was it because of the love of money? He was a greedy man. 1 day, at a feast honoring Jesus, Mary broke an alabaster box full of very expensive ointment and anointed Jesus' feet. Judas objected to such waste.