Summary: What caused Judas to fail and betray Jesus - Can other believers fall into the same deception?
THE JUDAS SPIRIT
"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood, And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went out and hanged himself." (Matthew 27:3-5)
The name Judas brings to mind many things to different people; traitor, impostor, rebel etc. His infamy transcends every denomination. Yet, in the beginning of Christ’s ministry this man was one of the chosen twelve empowered to carry the gospel.
Many people put Judas in the ranks of what would be called an unsaved church member. Meaning, although he kept with all the rules and principles of Christ, had never truly been born-again. They base this presumption on their interpretation of John 17:12. "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
But, if we study the gospels we find that Judas had received the same commission, instructions and anointing as the other eleven.
Mark records, "And he ordained twelve that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sickness, and to cast out devils:" (Mark 3 14,15) Judas manifested the same miracles from the same power source as Peter, James or John. The truth is, Judas began his ministry as an anointed vessel of Jesus Christ. He was not an unsaved church member. Luke also confirms this, "For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry." (Acts 1:17)
Judas was ordained with a God given ability and anointing to be used mightily in the kingdom.
Some theologians believe that Judas joined the ranks of the twelve to deliberately betray Jesus for one reason or another at his first opportunity. However, as we have just read Mark’s account, Jesus chose Judas not the other way around.
Still others believe that Judas was deliberately chosen by Jesus to betray Him. He was predestined from the beginning and he had no choice but to betray the Lord.
If this was the case, it would mean that Judas could not have exercised his right as a free moral agent. His future, his actions, whether good or bad would have been out of his control and determined by an outside power. But, this isn’t the way God operates. Everyone has the privilege of making up his or her own mind.
In fact, after Judas had made his pact with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus and went to the upper room for the feast of the Passover, I believe he could have still changed his mind.
As Jesus told His disciples on that fateful night that one of them was going to betray Him. As He looked into the eyes of Judas while they dipped their bread together, this traitor could have fallen on His face and cried out to Jesus that he was the one. He had bartered their friendship for thirty pieces of silver and the favor of the leaders of Israel. Judas could have begged the forgiveness of his Lord and received it right then and there causing the betrayal to come from another avenue. But he didn’t, sealing his fate for eternity.
What could have caused this man who walked, talked, ate and slept with God in the flesh to betray Him and sell Him into the hands of those who hated Him? Is Judas any different than any man or women today who have once walked with Jesus? Those who have preached to multitudes and witnessed miracles and tremendous Holy Spirit manifestations in their ministries? Could we go down into spiritual infamy like Judas.
The Road to Betrayal
The word apostasy means a "departing from a religious belief". For the most part it doesn’t come over night.
Judas didn’t wake up one morning after a night of walking with Jesus, witnessing His mighty miracles and decide to betray Him. It was a slow process that was fueled and finally triggered by one or more areas in his life that he refused to fully submit to God.
When the search light of the Holy Spirit reveals areas of darkness in our lives, it is God’s intention that we deal with them through His grace and the redemptive power of His blood. It is His will that we repent and continually call on Him to be cleansed and remain clean.
When neglected, these areas become an open door for Satan to come in and slowly but surely steal our joy, discernment and eventually our eternity. Judas’ unwillingness cost him dearly.