Summary: Was Judas a Christian? Was he not very much like us? What can we learn from Judas about being a Christian?
The Judas Christian
Our central character today is perhaps the most hated, most disgusting, most sinister, most evil, most conniving and most selfish of any in the whole of scripture.
No… I am not talking about Satan.
I’m talking about Judas… Judas Iscarioth… the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
His name is synonymous with treason, evil and all that is ungodly.
He is hated even more than Benedict Arnold.
Today… I am not his defender… but I do think there are lessons we can learn from Judas.
Look at Matt. 10:2-4 and you will see a list of the 12 disciples of Jesus.
What name is last? Judas
He is last… but he is one
#12 out of a couple of million… that is pretty good!
1. I believe Judas was a committed disciple.
I believe he was more committed than many… if not all… f us here.
It is not until chapter 26 that we hear one single hint of his wavering, complaining, withdrawing or treason.
And remember… the gospel was written POST BETRAYAL.
It was written some 20 – 30 years after the crucifixion and Judas had already become a bad-guy.
If you want to know what Jesus saw in Judas and why he chose him… try this…
Left his family, job and friends… perhaps gave up a chance at popularity, wealth and power… to follow a man he believed was Lord… to sleep on the ground, eat handouts and live hand to mouth for the rest of his life.
Now let’s be honest with ourselves… Would YOU do that? Would I? I am not sure I would. In fact, I don’t know of anything in my life where I have shown that level of faith or commitment. What about you?
I believe Judas was a committed disciple of Jesus… as committed as Peter, James or John.
2. Then… how did he wind up making a deal to betray Jesus and then hangin himself from a tree?
Read Matthew 26:14-16
How did it happen? What caused it?
I believe the answer is found way back in vv 1-2…
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
You and I read those words and think of a great thing…Jesus dying for our sins. It evokes positive images and feelings.
But it did not for the disciples. In fact, their feelings were more like fear, depression and despair.
Judas could only think, “Crucified…DEAD! What are you talking about? What about the Kingdom? What about the future… the dream… the miracles, the lessons? What about my dreams, my hopes, my sacrifices? You owe me. You can’t die. YOU CAN’T!!!!”
Judas suffered from depression of the first magnitude.
Judas’ dreams had died. The first stage of grief is shock… then denial, then anger. Judas was going through all of those emotions right then… and for days to follow.
And if you don’t deal with those emotions the result is DEPRESSION.
Judas was depressed… in a funk… having a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day.
History has taught us that Judas was motivated by greed and love of money. I don’t believe that.
Listen… following Jesus did not pay well. It wasn’t something someone would do for the pay.
I know the old saying, “The pay is not too good but the retirement plan is out of this world.”
Judas was not in it for money… the job didn’t pay anything as far as I know.
If this was a greedy man motivated by money… he’d still be back where he was… doing some job that would pay a whole lot more.
You don’t sacrifice, do without and give away what you do have if you are greedy.
And if he had been motivated by money to betray Jesus… he could have done it earlier and could have struck a better deal than 30 pieces of silver.
It was ONLY AFTER the 4 day speech
ONLY AFTER his world had been shaken
THEN… he went to the priests to betray Jesus.
He was not a money hungry thief… (7) He was an OPPORTUNIST!
Like a man with a sick cow who sells him to a stranger.
Judas saw his life, his dreams, his plans… all that he has sacrificed, suffered and sweated for… GOING DOWN THE TUBES!
In four days it would all be gone… finished… nothing but a memory.
Not only had he bought a lemon… a sick cow… the London bridge… now he was angry about being played for a fool.
I believe Judas’ attitude was: “Well, I can’t stop from losing the things I had hoped for. I can’t get back what I have lost. BUT I CAN get something out of it… I can salvage something.”