Summary: Nobody knew Judas was going to be a traitor--except the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note: this message is structured as a "textual" message, in that the texts are structured to show the progression and true agenda of Judas Iscariot.
Introduction: Can you think of anyone who is a worse influence than a traitor? A traitor, by definition, is one who pretends to be loyal to one group or person but has an agenda to cause problems or destroy that same person or group. Over the years, traitors have arisen (example: Quisling, in Norway, during World War II) but ultimately failed.
The Bible has stories of traitors, too, with perhaps the worst of the worst being Judas Iscariot. He was one of the Disciples but wound up betraying the Lord Jesus Christ for a relatively small sum of money. Could this happen to you, or to me?
I He was part of the ministry of the Twelve Disciples
[Mat 10:4-5 NASB] 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;
Judas Iscariot. We don’t know anything about his parents, except his father’s name was Simon (John 6:71, 13:2, 13:26). We’re told nothing about his mother or any brothers or sisters, if there were any in his family. We aren’t even told where his hometown was located.
But we do know something for certain, that he was chosen—by Jesus Himself, no less—to be part of the Twelve Disciples. Besides being mentioned in Mark and Luke, Judas was one who heard every sermon Jesus preached, saw every miracle He performed, and even went out on a preaching tour to announce “the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand (Matthew 10:7)”. He even assisted when Jesus fed the Five Thousand and, later, the Four Thousand!
Sadly, as impressive as these deeds might have been, those deeds, in and of themselves, did not and could not save Judas’s soul. He would have had to believe in Jesus Christ, and there is no record he ever did so. Judas probably heard the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5-7, especially the part where Jesus warned the listeners would say they had done any number of things, only to hear Jesus say “Depart from Me! I never knew you!”
II He wanted the money, not the ministry
How long Judas was able to hide his lack of belief, and hide his true motives, is anybody’s guess. The other disciples apparently trusted him, Judas, to be the group’s treasurer, ironically leaving out, or even snubbing, Matthew, who had been a tax collector and probably forgot more about money than many folks would ever know!
Eventually, the truth came out and Judas showed his true motive. Ironically, these are the first recorded words of Judas himself. [John 12:4-6] 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?" 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it
This was at the dinner for Jesus, just six days before He went to Calvary. He was at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus—digressing for just a moment, I would like to think our Lord would feel comfortable at my house, if He ever came to visit. He sure did feel at home with those three.
During the dinner, Mary took some precious, maybe close to priceless ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus. She did this to anoint the Lord’s body—Mary of Bethany is never mentioned as one who went to the garden tomb—before He died. This was one of the most selfless, genuine, acts of love anyone has ever done. I don’t think Mary would have wanted anyone to even know about this, but the Holy Spirit saw fit to include this story with the Story of Jesus. This was her motive—she knew what was going to happen, and did what she could before it happened.
And now we see Judas’ motive. John stated in the text that he, Judas, didn’t care about the poor, even though he claimed the ointment was worth “three hundred denarii (note, a denarius was a coin equal to one day’s wage)”. Judas may have wanted to sell the ointment, all right, but what was he going to do with the money? John said Judas was a thief (!) and “used to pilfer (help himself to)” the money!
Jesus put a stop to any further discussion about the ointment, the money, or anything else when He said, in so many words, “leave her alone, you’ll always have the poor, but I won’t always be here (John 12:7-8, paraphrased)”. This didn’t stop Judas’ attitude from spreading: a few days later, at another dinner, it seems all the disciples complained about another woman anointing the Lord’s body with “very precious ointment (Matt. 26:7, KJV)”! They asked why the ointment wasn’t sold and the proceeds given to the poor.