Summary: Whenever there's a list of the Apostles, he always appears last and his name is followed by, "the betrayer" or something similar. Let's take a look at the one who is known for betraying Jesus.
JUDAS, THE BETRAYER (part one)
One of the questions in Sunday School last week had to do with Judas and the storms he was facing. That generated some good discussion so I decided to make him the focus of the sermon today and next Sunday. Whenever there's a list of the Apostles, he always appears last and his name is followed by, "the betrayer" or something similar.
Judas was a common name. One of Jesus' brothers was named Judas. But after everything went down with Judas is probably when he started going by Jude, who wrote the book of Jude. Judas is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Judah. There was actually another Apostle named Judas; though he's called Thaddeus in Matt. and Mark's gospels and Judas, son of James, in Luke's gospel.
Some think Judas Iscariot came from a town called Kerioth which was south of Judah. If so, that would mean he was the only Apostle who was not a Galilean. This may have made him an "outsider" to the others. Let's take a look at the one who is known for betraying Jesus.
1) He started out well.
Only 12 men were picked to be Apostles and Judas was one of them. Not only that, he was chosen to be the treasurer. This tells me that at first, Judas was a man of integrity. Jesus wouldn't choose an evil man to be an Apostle or a thief to be a treasurer. Along with that, Judas was doing the work of an Apostle.
Matt. 10:1, "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness." Then it goes on to list the Apostles. Judas was given the power and authority to heal the sick and drive out evil spirits. So this shows that he didn't start out on the side of evil.
When Jesus was driving out demons the religious leaders said it was by the power of Satan that he was doing that. Jesus replied, "How can Satan drive out Satan?" So, Judas was not an evil person, at first. Judas became a betrayer, he became a thief.
Has this ever happened to you? You were friends with someone for years and then they did a 180 on you? They started acting strange and treating you different than they used to? Well, take comfort in knowing that Jesus knows how you feel.
We need to make sure that we don't end up doing a 180. We can start out strong but along the way we can start to become weak and if we're not careful, we could start drifting away, like Judas did. Judas didn't just go from loyalty to betrayal overnight; things happened along the way. When he was in possession of the money, Satan went after him. It probably started out small, a coin here and there. But then it grew.
Once we start doing something unethical, if we don't address the problem it will only get worse. By the time we have the outburst when Mary anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume, Judas' greed had consumed him to the point of turning a loving act of devotion into something evil.
Isa. 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." Judas should've been rejoicing that Jesus was honored this way but instead he was indignant. The spiritually minded person would’ve seen what Mary did as a wonderful act of sacrificial love but the unspiritual person would only see it from a practical position and thus see it as a huge waste.
It happens today. Spiritually minded people are generous toward the work of the Lord but unspiritual people see things like tithing and giving to the needy as foolish. Judas tried to paint her good deed in an evil light all the while painting his evil intentions in a good light. His darkness caused him to steal, rebuke and betray the one who showed him nothing but love.
Judas started out well but sadly he didn't finish well.
2) What happened?
What are some possible reasons Judas became the betrayer?
Unmet expectations. It’s thought that before Judas became a disciple of Jesus he was focused on liberating his people from Roman oppression. Some believe his surname, Iscariot, comes from the Latin word Scarius which means he who carries the dagger. The dagger was a common weapon used by the Zealots, a politically motivated group committed to the restoration of Israel through the overthrow of the roman oppressors.
This may have been the motivation for Judas to sell Jesus out. He, like others, thought that Jesus was the Messiah who was going to deliver Israel in a militaristic fashion. So when it became clear that this expectation wasn’t going to be fulfilled he either turned on Jesus in disgust or in hopes that when backed into a corner Jesus would come out swinging and Judas’ desires for a Jewish revolt would come to fruition.