Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. Luke 22:3-6 ESV
Last year, around this time – actually March 31, 2013 to be exact – I was thinking about Judas. I had listened to a sermon via podcast and the speaker was talking about a spirit alive in the church. He had acknowledged that most of the listeners were aware of the Jezebel spirit that attaches itself to those in power and perverts it. You may have been to those churches. Where certain church members attach themselves to the pastor and his family and try to steer the ship. Well this other spirit that was more concerning to the speaker was what he called the Judas spirit. Let me explain.
Jesus hand picked his twelve associates. These associates were not just tag-alongs, or groupies. These twelve men were disciples being mentored by the most influential mentor ever. Jesus called each one to help him with his ministry on the earth. Each of these men were on hand to pray for the sick, to feed the poor, and to aid Jesus in proclaiming the Kingdom of God drawing near. These men spent all day, every day with one another for three years. They knew each other very well. They were in accountability with each other. It is clear to me that Judas was just as a part of the group as John or Matthew was. As a matter of fact, when Jesus announces to the disciples that one of them would betray him, they all looked at one another in shock. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” Mark 14:18-19 ESV
Don’t you think that if each time the disciples were going to go lay hands on someone or cast out a demon and Judas was excusing himself each time that someone would be suspicious? They did not know who Jesus was referring to when he said one of them would betray. Judas fit right in with the rest. Judas actually held a position of importance in the group. Judas was the treasurer. Judas was the CFO of Jesus Christ Ministries LLC. When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus in the weeks before he would go to the cross and be murdered, Judas was bothered by this. The ointment that Mary used was equivalent to roughly one year’s salary. John tells us Judas responded to this with, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. John 12:5-6 ESV. Keep in mind though, that John wrote his gospel over fifty years after these events took place. The fact that Judas was helping himself to the money was most likely a fact that was revealed after the death of Christ.
If Judas was called to be one of the twelve Apostles, and he was trusted enough to handle the money, what changed? Did anything change? Judas seemed bitter about Mary’s display. Did Judas hold bitterness about anything else? One commentary explains that Judas, like many of the other disciples, believed that Jesus’ reign would be political. They believed that Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans and establish his kingdom physically on the earth. The commentary goes on to say that when Jesus praised Mary for her display of anointing his feet, Judas realized that Jesus’ kingdom was spiritual and not physical. Judas believed that he would hold a place of high esteem in Jesus’ new kingdom. I believe that when Judas’ daydream was shattered, it changed his mind on the person of Jesus.
On the outside, Judas appeared to be the real thing. Judas was blinded by ambition and his own idea of how Jesus should operate. Have you ever had your judgement blurred by how you thought Jesus should operate in your life? When you try to stuff God in a box, you may be upset when he breaks out of that box. If that frustration makes you bitter, be careful. That bitterness can grow and that can give the devil a foothold. Some scholars say that Judas never believed. Jesus says in his prayer for the disciples in John 17:12, “None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” Did Judas ever make his peace? We know that Judas hanged himself when he realized that he had truly betrayed innocent blood. When Judas tried to return the money to the high priest, could the high priest have offered Judas the opportunity to be forgiven? The priests did not want their money back. Even they knew it was wrong. Judas procured his own redemption. He did not believe he had any way out. I wonder if Judas was ever really ‘saved’ or not. Was he just a fake? What about me? Am I the real deal? What about you? Do you trust who Jesus said he was? If Judas did, he would realize that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The same goes for you. Nothing you will ever do will make God love you more or less than he did when he sent His Son to die for YOU. This former Judas is very glad for that.