Summary: A study for Lent. A study of Judas - a man so close but was lost.
The man who betrayed Jesus.
Of all the characters who march across the stage of Bible history, there is none so tragic nor so despicable as that of Judas Iscariot
His last name meant “a man of Kerioth.” This is significant because all of the other Apostles were from Galilee in the north, whereas he was from the south.
We know nothing of Judas prior to his call by Jesus. However to have been called as an apostle implies that he had previously declared himself a disciple. In any case it is probable Judas was among those who received the call to apostleship - Mark 3:13-19. Jesus, being able to read the hearts of Men (John 2: 25) selected His apostles with care. Judas probably had talents and gifts comparable to the other eleven and due to that supposed fact, his call was not a matter of surprise to them, nor did they think it strange.
The life of Judas serves as a warning about the dangers of wasted opportunities, hardness of heart, wicked lusts, and spiritual carelessness. Judas played his part so well that no one but Jesus Himself knew that Judas was a fraud. He was a false follower and no one ever noticed!
Why did Jesus choose Judas? Did Jesus know about him?
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 13:21-27 shows that Jesus knew all about 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”
What is clear in Scriptures is that Judas really chose what he did and he bears responsibility for his choice. Judas had the same exact stimulus as all the other 11. He could easily have turned out like Peter or James or John or Thomas. He saw the same things. There is one secret flaw in his life. The gospel writers racked their brains trying to explain Judas’ action. The only reason they could come up with, the only motivation they discover in his life, was his motive of money. Judas did these things because of money. He had greed as a motivation in his life and it is really spelled out by the gospel of John. John 12:6 for instance tells a story of how Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume, and Judas, stands up and rebukes her. Jesus tells him to quiet down and John tells why Judas objected. It says this in John 12:6: "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor." (Also we find this story in Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9 and Luke 7:37-39. )
"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."
It is interesting all four gospels point to this very event as the breaking point where Judas finally decided to betray Jesus. I n this story Jesus talks about his burial. Earlier Jesus talked about dying. They thought he meant metaphorically. Jesus used this word burial here, a very concrete idea. And probably this was the turning point in the life of Judas. Money was too important in Judas' life, and in pursuing it, he fell prey to it.
In His prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus prayed:
" While I was with them, I was protecting them and kept them safe by that name that You have given Me. None has been lost , except the son of perdition, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled." John 17:12
" ... and not one of them is lost , except the son of perdition..." That's quite a title given to Judas Iscariot. In 2 Thess. 2:3 we read that the same title is given to the Anti-Christ; he is also called the son of perdition.
Scripture is clear that God knows the future (Matthew 6:8; Psalm 139:1-4) and has total sovereign control over all things (Colossians 1:16-17; Daniel 4:35). The Bible also says that we must choose God or be eternally separated from Him. We are held responsible for our actions (Romans 3:19; 6:23; 9:19-21). How these facts work together is impossible for a finite mind to comprehend (Romans 11:33-36).