Summary: We, too, are guilty of betarying Jesus when we focus on our own wants, but Jesus calls us to repentance, just like he called out to Judas.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit touches our hearts is record in Luke 22:
While [Jesus] was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”(Luke 22:47, 48 NIV)
This is the the word of our Lord.
Dear friends of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,
As the American Revolution began in 1775, a former druggist helped Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys capture Fort Ticonderoga. Over the next year and half led troops against the British, and, although he did not defeat them, he slowed them down in their advances. In April 1777 he was promoted to the rank of major general. In September of that year his battle field leadership was a key part of the American victory in the Battle of Saratoga, which became a turning point in the war.
He became commander of Philadelphia in 1778. He and his wife led an extravagant social life and squandered money. Searching for more money, he began writing letters to the British commander in chief, offering to betray America. And that is why when you hear the name Benedict Arnold, you don’t think of a war hero, but of a traitor.
Such treason can lead to the deaths of many and the lose of freedom for all. Fews crimes are worse than betraying your country, unless it is the crime of betraying your God and Savior. And so the name Judas is of greater infamy than even the name Benedict Arnold.
Tonight as we walk with our Savior in his passion, we walk with the Betrayed. One of his own, Judas Iscariot, betrayed him and handed him over to his enemies. But before we smugly condemn Judas, we want to first of all see that 1) we, too, have betrayed our Savior and that 2) he calls us to repentance, just as he called out to Judas.
1) We have betrayed our Savior
As Luke reminds us, Judas was one of the twelve disciples, one of those who was continually with Jesus from early on in his ministry. Jesus knew the hearts of those he had chosen. Judas at first sincerely followed Jesus. He left behind whatever life he had had. He traveled with Jesus on foot from town to town, seeing his miracles and hearing his words. If asked, “Do you want to betray Jesus,” he could have honestly answered at that time, “Of course not, he is my friend and teacher.” He may have even confessed like Peter, “He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (see, Matthew 16:16).
Let’s pause here and ask ourselves a question, “What is that you want in life?” Like the early Judas, neither you nor I want to betray our Savior. But what is it that we really want in life? Do you what peace and quiet? Do you want a secure future and a safe retirement? Do you want to be out on our own and independent? Do you want family and friends? Do you want fun and excitement? Do you want respect and fame? Do you what happiness and satisfaction?
These can all be good things, things to work toward, things to ask God to bless us with. And I think that Judas may have given a similar answer. What did he want? Security in life, knowing that he had the resources to provide for himself and maybe a little extra for some of the nicer things? Could be. But instead of controlling his wants, Judas let his wants control him. He wanted to make sure that his future has secure in his own hands and the way to do that was with money.
Money can provide for us. Money can get some of the nicer things. And soon because of his wants, greed grew in Judas’ heart. He wasn’t content or satisfied. He needed more. His greed led him to help himself to the money bag. The devil used Judas greed to gain a foothold in his heart. And soon because of his greed, Judas was under Satan’s influence. The funds from the money bag were not enough. Would Jesus’ enemies pay him to help them out? Yes, they were happy to. They’d give him thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. That was about half a years wages, and, if Judas purchased a slave with it, he could take life easy for a long time. And as we’ll hear passion history next week, Judas got exactly what we wanted. They didn’t cheat, they gave him the thirty pieces of silver.