Summary: Timeless principles from the life of Judas about the devastation brought about by a choice following the pathway of sin.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 60
Judas: The Man Who Decided To Do Wrong.
Today we associate the name, Judas with treachery. But it has not always been so. In fact the name, Judas, which means “the praise of God” was a popular name. That is until the name became associated with betrayal and treachery.
It is easy for us condemn the treachery of a man who would betray Jesus for money. But before we dismiss him as a man so far removed from ourselves that we need not even compare ourselves perhaps we should look a little closer. Can we honestly say that we have never sold Jesus out? When we have played dumb in the presence of non-believers or we joined in the laughter to avoid the ridicule of being associated with Christ, are we not selling out Christ for selfish gain?
The religious leadership had hardened in their deadly determination to eliminate Jesus when he cleansed the temple and began to teach in its porches. In Luke 19:47-48 we read, “And he was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, (48) and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” Any chance that they would change their murderous resolve disappeared after Jesus told the Parable of the Vineyard Keepers (20:9-19) in which he clearly told that the religious leaders were seeking His death. Luke tells us in verse nineteen that from the point on the religious leaders were just bidding their time and waiting for an opportunity. The fact that tens thousands of Jews had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover only added desperation to their deadly resolve. In verse one we read, “Now the Feast of the Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. (2) And the chief priest and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.”
The Jewish leadership has been powerless to do anything about Jesus because of his popularity with the people. All of that changes when Judas, one Jesus’ inner circle of the twelve disciples, steps forward to betray Him!
We will look at his tragic decision to betray Jesus as Luke recorded it and then we will look at parallel account’s in the other gospel’s to get the complete story. It is my hope that we can see in the life of Judas timeless principles about the devastation brought about by a choice following the pathway of sin.
First, Sin never delivers what it promises. Satan entices men to act in a way that they consider their own best interest, but which in reality extends his control over their lives.
In verse three Luke tells us “Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.” Luke’s statement that “Satan entered Judas” does not suggest demon possession as such but rather influence.
The same idea was clear stated by Peter when he spoke of the sin of Ananias, the husband of Sapphira, when he said (Acts 5:3), “Ananias, why has filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of price of the land for yourselves.”
Indeed Satan seems to have entered Judas’ heart but he could not have entered had not Judas opened the door. But as we will discover in the life of Judas, when you cooperate with Satan, you pay dearly.
It is sadly possible to be associated with Jesus, to hear His gracious words, witness His wonderful works, yet refuse Him our heart’ allegiance and be ultimately lost.
Sin never delivers what it promises and…
Secondly, it is possible to be near Christ, to associate with his followers, to even be engaged in ministry and still not be truly saved.
In verse two we are told that Judas “was numbered among the twelve.” Judas was not only one of the twelve, the inner circle of Jesus’ most intimate disciples, he was also able to work his way into a place of trust, because he ultimately became the treasurer of the group and according to John 12:6 he was able to use his position to pilfer funds. He had given his life to follow Jesus but he never gave Jesus his heart.
Judas is a tragic example of lost opportunity. He is the epitome of wasted privilege. We have every reason to believe that Judas was given the same authority as the other men and that he preached the same message and performed the same miracles. It shows us how close a person can come to Kingdom of God and still be lost. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus warns, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven (22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done may wonders in Your name? (23) And I will declare to them, I never knew you depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”