Summary: The point of Judas’ life is , that each and every one of us , has choices to make.
Judas, The Betrayer
The point of Judas’ life is that each and every one of us does have choices to make. It’s always been a popular idea to give your child a biblical name. Some of the most popular biblical names are those of the disciples. Think about: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Phillip, Thomas, Matthew. I bet we all know a Simon, and probably even a Thaddeus and a Bart. But how many Judases do you know? How many social situations have you been in where that name comes up? No one names their child Judas these days, because that name is associated with one of the most reviled characters in all of history, Judas Iscariot. Betrayer. Do you know what it is to be betrayed?
Betrayal is a profound word loaded with volatile and emotional implications. Betrayal means disloyalty and treachery have been used to expose you to an enemy, to expose you to harm, or simply just to expose you. What you thought was protected and safe is now open and dangerous. It means someone has been unfaithful with something that you have entrusted to them. It means confidences have been disclosed and that you have been deceived, duped, and deserted. The betrayer is vile, wicked and evil. The psychological impact on the one betrayed is usually permanent to some degree, depending on the kind and type of trust betrayed and the damage done by the betrayal.Ever been betrayed?Ever been a betrayer? The relationship that Jesus and Judas Iscariot had was unique in all of human history. His name, Judas, means either “one to be praised”, or “Jehovah leads.” Many men were named Judas in Jesus’ day. I don’t think anyone has been named Judas since time. Judas Iscariot -- Iscariot is not his last name. The word Iscariot is only used in the gospels to differentiate him from the other Judas, because the other Judas didn’t want to be known or associated with Judas Iscariot. So they added Iscariot to differentiate between the two because the other Judas didn’t want to be known for what Judas Iscariot did. Iscariot means, simply, man from Cariot. Cariot was a city in Judea 12 miles south of Hebron, which means Judas Iscariot was the only apostle not from Galilee. He was from Judea. Kerioth was the result of several small villages in one area coming together and forming a town. The most interesting thing to note from this is that Kerioth is outside of Galilee. Galilee is where Jesus and the other eleven disciples were from. Judas is the only outsider. As an outsider, he never really fit in. He didn’t talk the same way, he didn’t dress the same way, his view of the Jewish nation was somewhat different, and he was from an area that looked down on the Galilean Jews. Yet, there was something about Jesus that drew him. The failure of Judas had a great impact on the other eleven disciples. From the gospels to the book of Acts, all four writers were very reluctant to write much about him, they couldn’t believe that Judas one of the disciples who belonged to the inner circle of Jesus’ life would do such a thing . They did not wish to say much about him, except that Jesus foreknew Judas would betray him and his betrayal was prophesied in the Old Testament. Paul, the apostle who contributed most to the writings of the New Testament, never touched on the topic of Judas betrayal. Why? Was it that the disciples and apostle Paul felt the betrayal was something so shameful that they were not willing to say much about it? Or was it something that was so personal to them, because Judas was once their very close beloved brother, yet he had caused them much hurt, when he betrayed against the master? It can be the hurts, the confusion, the regrets, the shameful experience caused by the betrayal act that made all the disciples unwillingly to write much about the incident. Was the betrayal expected? Was the betrayal destined to happen? What was wrong with Judas that led him to the betrayal? We don’t know a lot about him. The gospels don’t tell us about how or when he was called to follow Jesus, so we can only assume it was with the same enthusiasm and vigor as the others. I doubt Judas would have begun following Jesus with the plan to betray him. He saw Jesus, he believed, and he followed, like the other disciples. We know that he was chosen to serve as the treasurer for the disciples, so he must have displayed some positive characteristics. This office is not usually given to someone thought of as greedy and irresponsible. It was a respected position and probably indicates the degree of esteem in which he was held. And yet, Judas isn’t even mentioned in Matthew’s gospel until chapter 10, and even in that first mention, he’s not labeled as the money-keeper, but as the one who betrays Jesus. Matthew 10:1-4. 1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. It is interesting to note that, whenever the lists of the disciples are given, Judas is always the last one listed. Also, every time he is mentioned, the fact of his betrayal is noted along with his name without exception. His betrayal became his identity. In fact, as we examine the gospels we see that the seeds of his betrayal were always a part of who he was.Yet, this aspect of his character was invisible to those around him. He didn’t look like he belonged on a wanted poster. He didn’t look like a weasely little con-man. He looked and acted just like the rest of the apostles. What did we learn about this disciple, Judas Iscariot? Well, to be honest, he wasn’t a bad guy. You would have really liked Judas Iscariot. He wasn’t the worst of all men that have ever lived. A lot of portraits are painted of Judas with this little eyeball sticking up and a kind of dark, sinister cast, but he was nice. It shocked the disciples to find out who it was. They had no idea; that is how nice a guy Judas was. What are some indications of how nice this guy was? Well, they were in the upper room and Jesus says, “someone is going to betray me”, and you would think now, everyone would say it is obvious,it is Judas,but nobody figured it could possibly have been Judas. Even when he gets up and leaves right after Jesus makes the prediction, it seems obvious to us. But the disciples see him as the treasurer. They concluded only two things, two reasons he could be leaving, and neither one was that he went to betray Jesus. He is going to buy some more food; or he is going to give a gift to the poor. It is not possible for Judas to betray Jesus. It did not enter their minds. He was that kind of guy. It is especially true in light of the fact that Jesus gave him in the Passover what is referred to as the “sop.” That special morsel of bread which you extend to only one person in the group, the person you deem as your friend, your special friend, that night. And if you study the seating arrangements, you notice that Judas is actually in the third position.There is John, Jesus and Judas ; and Judas is in the seat of the person of honor that night.