Summary: Judas: Lack of Spiritual Intelligence
Weekly requests poured in by mail asking for legal permission to quote and use an author’s writing material. One day a request came, like many previously, asking for permission to use some published work. The sender, from Houston, Texas, was asking if she could use the author’s material as she worked with “at-risk kids.” The author fired off a note giving legal permission and requesting her to submit a report of her activities. Later that same day, as the author was writing, she realized she had slipped into the pattern of living at the transactional level of life, and failed to live at the transformational level of life. The author then wrote a note to herself to call the recipient of her permission to use material and see how she was doing in her ministry. 1
Daily, we Christians live at the transactional level of Christianity and many times fail to get to the transformational level. Starbucks coffee, please. Mocha, 2% milk, no whip. Transaction, Yes! Transformation, No!
Listening to a daughter grouse about the immaturity of another girl her age, a dad is compelled to “correct the daughter” with words of criticism, indicating that she was insensitive and uncaring. Later Dad would find out how his words had cut deep into a little girl’s soul - spilling blood. Transaction, Yes! Transformation, No!
An employer is frustrated with an employee. Out comes the big club of authority. They immediately fire off a series of questions in an e-mail. Concerned about the employee? Not really. Just interested in seeing if the employee can legitimize their actions and conduct; demanding that changes be made or privileges would be removed. Transaction, yes! Transformation, No!
Transactions are literal. They happen everyday in thousands of ways. Transactions are easy to spot because they are empty of elements of transformation. Jesus sought and taught transformation, not transaction.
The real joy of writing and preaching this material on Judas is that it works on me as I work on it! As we consider the value of Judas’ life as an apostle, a thinking person would ask, “Why did Judas sell out Jesus Christ?” My guess is that the following issues were present in Judas’ heart:
1. Perhaps the securities and exchange investigation about the legitimacy of the apostles’ books was getting too close. Judas had been guilty of embezzlement on several occasions.
The one that Jesus loved, John, would point out this fact 60 years later in the Gospel that bears his name. At the time, Judas had all the disciples fooled.
5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He 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. (John 12:5-6)
Transaction, Yes! Transformation, No! Judas lived his entire life with Jesus on the Transactional Level and never made it to the Transformational Level. It is the only reason that makes sense as to why he failed to change.
2. As an outsider, I wonder if Judas was constantly concerned about where he stood in the pecking order. Those whose order is slipping often look for opportunities to knock someone else off their place. The result? Immediate transaction of elevation - importance. “Look at what I am doing. Putting others in their place is so valuable to God.” Judas may have been reacting to some imagined slight by the others. Transaction, Yes! Transformation, No!
3. Maybe Judas thought nobody was noticing the importance of his role as treasurer. The solution? Force someone’s hand, then you get noticed. It is possible that Judas got fed up with the fact that Jesus wasn’t doing it the way he had expected. Of course, who would know better than Judas how to run the show?
He was with Jesus a mere three years,
Successfully completed a few evangelistic campaigns,
Put some budgets together as the treasurer.
Judas might have been thinking that if he forced Jesus’ hand, “We can take the church-world by storm.” It was worth the effort; it made good sense to Judas. He had lived his apostolic life with Jesus at the Transactional Level - Judas knew little of life lived at the Transformational Level.
Since life is complicated, and seldom is there an easy answer to any problem, and our analysis is more often wrong than right, Judas likely sold out Jesus for a combination of all of the above.
25Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” (Matthew 26:25)
Anybody want to live at the transformational level of life with Jesus? Then build into your faith regular deposits of emotional intelligence. Judas possessed little. The results were devastating.