What Can We Learn From Judas Iscariot?


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

My mamma had a pretty good sense of humor. We would often talk about what she called “Things that make you go hmmmmmm”. Some of the things we might talk about were:

  • What hair color do they put on the driver’s licenses of bald men?
  • Why do banks charge you a “non-sufficient funds” fee on money they already know you don’t have?
  • Why do they put Braille on the drive through bank machines?
  • What was Preparation A through Preparation G?
  • How do “Do not walk on the grass” signs get there?
  • How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?
  • Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
  • Why do hot dogs come 10 to a package and hot dog buns only 8?
  • Why do we park in driveways and drive on parkways?

I miss my mamma. As I was thinking about her the other day and the conversations we used to have (things that make you go hmmmm) I thought about Judas Iscariot. I want to add this to the list of “Things that make you go hmmm”:

  • Why did Jesus Christ choose Judas Iscariot to be an Apostle?

The Bible tells us in …

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, {Jesus} called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

If you read it clearly and carefully the text says – in essence – of the disciples Jesus had following Him, He chose twelve to be Apostles. Now Judas Iscariot was in this group of disciples. Why make him an Apostle?

Now I know that the Scripture foretold that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. We read in …

Zechariah 11:12-13 … And I said unto them, If ye think good, give [me] my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty [pieces] of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty [pieces] of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

That is what happened with Judas. He plotted against Jesus. Read these accounts:

Matthew 26:14-16 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray {Jesus}.

Mark 14:10-11 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

Luke 22:3-6 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. 3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

Now some may say that Jesus wasn’t aware of Judas Iscariot’s heart, but I don’t believe that for one moment. In John 13 Jesus washed all of the Apostles feet, then said:

John 13:10-11 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

John 13:17-18 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

John 13:21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Jesus was not surprised by Judas Iscariot. He knew that Judas would betray Him from the beginning. His choice of Judas was deliberate. Jesus referenced a prophecy from …

Psalm 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

Jesus knew. The Scripture declares “the Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Timothy 2:19). Our Lord was not surprised. It was foretold from the Old Testament times that a betrayer would rise up against the Messiah and turn Him over to death. I know that. But here’s my question:

If God knows all things (and He does), and
If God controls all things (and I believe He does), then
WHY was it necessary that God include a betrayer as Apostle?
WHY did Jesus choose 12 Apostles out of the many disciples,
and choose one “A Devil?” (John 6:70)

Judas Iscariot Is Proof That God Is In Control

Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas Iscariot would betray Him. He knew because He is God the Son. He knew because He intimately knew the Father’s plan. Jesus understood something that we hear but barely grasp.

God is always in control!

Our Lord Jesus is building a Church, His Church. As He chooses leaders – Apostles – for this Church the Lord knows that 1 of the 12 will betray Him. If you were running a company and one of your major board members was skimming from the company profits, or selling company secrets to the enemy, this could be catastrophic to the company.

Judas Iscariot reminds us that evil is not stronger than God.
Nothing is stronger than God.
God can and will manipulate the evil to bring great good.

Years ago at Rock Hill Baptist Church we had begun to grow and build. We built an education annex, and started to reach out into the community and invite others to come to Church. We were growing in leaps and bounds. I chose a young man I knew to be our Recreational Director because he seemed to be gifted and, I thought, spiritual. This same young man would later bury a knife in my back and, when called out, would accuse me of being demon possessed and devil driven. But the devil did not win. That young man and his supportive family left our Church to go and plague another Pastor. God is in control.

Many times in my life I have been lured into precarious places by my flesh. I have made decisions without securing the full guidance of God. It happens. Yet my decisions were – at the time – meant to be God honoring. And God has saved me time and time again from the serpent’s tooth.

We can’t always grasp what is evil among us. It hides itself among the Apostles, in the pulpits of America, in the sermons of preachers that have little concern for that grand old Book we call the Bible. We all can be fooled. When we think of Judas Iscariot we think of him with preconceptions – just like we think of Satan or Lucifer. We envision Judas as a horrible looking person, and think of Satan as a horrible looking red devil. Yet this is not the truth. The Bible tells us that Lucifer is a beautiful creature, the most gorgeous of all God’s creation …

Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Adam was made perfect, but rejected Christ and brought sin into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12). Lucifer was made beautiful but chose through his own will to reject the Lord Who created him (Isaiah 14:13-14). When Adolf Hitler was a baby he was a sweet, innocent thing – not like the monster who eventually, satan possessed, was guilty of ordering the murder of over 6 million innocent Jews, about 2/3rds of Europe’s Jewish population, and an unknown number of other innocents. The serial killer Ted Bundy was once a normal child till sin found him out. If I had to guess I would tell you that there was nothing about Judas Iscariot that stood out, marking him as the traitor and betrayer of Christ. Dr. John MacArthur writes:

“Judas was an ultimate tragedy—probably the greatest tragedy that ever lived. He is the perfect and prime example of what it means to have opportunity and then lose it. He becomes all the more terrible because of the glorious beginnings he had. Judas followed the same Christ as the others. For three years, day in and day out, he occupied himself with Jesus Christ. He saw the same miracles; heard the same words; performed some of the same ministries; was esteemed in the same way the other disciples were—yet he did not become what the others became. In fact, he became the very opposite. While they were growing into true apostles and saints of God, he was progressively forming into a vile, calculating tool of Satan.”

God is in control. Do the best you honestly can do and trust God for protection. A shepherd named David took a rock to a knife fight – and won. Why? Because God is greater than Goliath, greater than Judas Iscariot, and greater than us all. He is in control!

Jesus Christ Gave His Life On Calvary For All,
Even The Judas Iscariots Of Life

What else can we learn from Judas Iscariot? When God the Son came into this world Jesus came for everybody. We often tend to think that Jesus came for those who are just a little bent. But this is not what the Scripture says. Jesus came for the lowest sinners. He gave His life for everyone. This is what the Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:15 {Jesus} died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

The Bible does not tell us that Jesus died for ALL of the elect. The Scripture does not say that Jesus died for ALL the moral people. The Bible doesn’t decree that Christ died for ALL the black, or white, or red, or yellow people. Our Lord died for all. The Apostle John said:

1 John 2:1-3 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And {Jesus} is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

It saddens me that many Christians doubt the power of God to heal the homosexual and heterosexual, the alcoholic and the drug addict. Our God can save anyone! He can change anyone!

God did not choose to save just a certain people group like the Jews. God chose to save whosoever will. And God the Son came to give His life – how did the Apostle Paul put it?

1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

The Calvinist through philosophical argument mandates that Jesus Christ came only for “the elect”. The Racist through xenophobia and misplaced narcissism mandates that Jesus Christ came only for “the white person”. The Pharisee and the morally superior religious crowd through self righteousness mandates that Jesus Christ came only for “people like me”. John the Baptist had it right when he cried out on seeing Jesus:

John 1:29 … Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Jesus told the ever judging Pharisees,

Matthew 9:12-13 … They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus came for every person who would come to Him in faith. Judas Iscariot reminds us that Jesus came for everybody. Judas had every chance to be saved. There was nothing in Scripture that mandated Judas and Judas alone be the betrayer. Again, his name was not mentioned prophetically. What was mentioned was that there would be a betrayer. And Judas Iscariot became that betrayer. God did not do that to Judas. Judas did it to himself by rejecting the Gospel call. He was there the very day that Jesus said:

Mark 8:34-37 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus Ordered That We Love Unconditionally
And Followed His Own Order

When Jesus Christ walked this earth He commanded we who love Him:

John 15:11-12 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

We are to love one another the same way that He loves us. Now this was not the first time Jesus made this statement. The first time He said it was in:

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

We are to “love one another the way that Jesus loves us”. Now as we read these words we think well that’s easy to say – but much harder to do. It is easy to love someone who loves you. I say again, it is easy to love someone who loves you. But what of your enemies? What or those who betray you?

When we first start reading John 13 the chapter begins this way:

John 13:1-2 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

Jesus loved everyone who was in that room that night – even Judas Iscariot. As you read through this chapter you learn Jesus knew who would betray Him (John 13:11). Jesus had known who was going to betray Him ever since He called him to be an Apostle. And yet – how did Jesus treat Judas Iscariot?

John 13:4-5 {Jesus} riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that {Jesus} poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Jesus washed Judas Iscariot’s feet just as He did the other Apostle’s feet. In fact, Jesus treated Judas Iscariot with the utmost respect and kindness. When Jesus revealed that He knew who was going to betray Him our Lord said:

John 13:26-27 … He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him.

The “sop” was a piece of bread dipped into the sauce of the Passover Lamb. The Passover host often gave this sop to an honored guest. Jesus blessed Judas Iscariot, even as the devil entered him and led him away into destruction (see also Luke 22:3). Jesus treated Judas Iscariot with kindness and love even up till and beyond His betrayal. This is what the Lord expects we who are His people to do. Jesus said:

Luke 6:26-35 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. 27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Jesus Christ loved Judas Iscariot when He called him into ministry. Jesus loved Judas daily. Jesus loved Judas on the day that He was to be betrayed. Jesus never wavered in His love toward the enemy. We who have been saved by grace are commanded of our Lord Jesus to love in the same way that He loved. Love fervently. Love frequently. Just love, and let God take the vengeance. We are to be living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1).

Romans 12:19-21 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

If you live for God you will have those around you who are haters and hecklers. There will be Judas Iscariots. Love them anyway. Do not allow them to pull you down to their level, but keep doing as Jesus did, knowing that in the end God will even all things out.

Never Allow Unconfessed Sin To Remain In Your Life

What made Judas Iscariot into the poster child for betrayal? It was that he harbored unconfessed sin in his life. In John chapter 12 we are told that Jesus’ friend Mary:

John 12:3 … {took} a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

No one said anything but Judas Iscariot. John writes:

John 12:4-6 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Do you know what I found interesting? Very few of Judas Iscariot’s words are recorded in the Scripture. In fact, all I can find is in our above verse and in Matthew 26:15 where he asks the chief priests:

“What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?”

Judas Iscariot let the love of money begin to rule him like a god. Unconfessed sin opened a door into Judas’ soul, and Satan stepped right through that door to ruin his life. In all three Gospel lists of the Apostles (Luke 6:14-16; Mathew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19) Judas Iscariot is listed last among the Apostles. Yet Jesus always treated Judas with love and respect. Listen Beloved: If you allow sin to reign in your life you may find yourselves in the same boat with Judas Iscariot. Reject sin. Confess it to God as soon as you recognize it, placing that sin under the Blood of Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul said:

Romans 6:12-14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Live for God, not for stuff. Do not allow sin to move your center. The one who begins to play with sin will eventually find themselves enslaved by satan. Reject sin. Let your love be on Jesus Christ.

“In an age when many are abandoning the faith they once professed, the story of Judas warns us to guard our hearts, lest we drift away. The story of Judas also equips us to reach out to those who may be close to walking away from the faith. Christ calls us to “be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 22–23). Finally, the story of Judas reminds us that nothing good can come from giving up on Jesus Christ. He is of supreme value, and following him is worth any cost.” (Colin Smith, London School of Theology)

May God touch you with His Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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