Judas

Judas

Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove. (John 18:2-3)

Read: Acts 12:6 – 14:20

Relate: I was looking back through my earlier devotionals out of the book of John and realized that although I’ve done character sketches of others like Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nicodemus, I never did one of Judas. It is time to fix that but before I do, I want to clear up some nonsense I’ve seen floating around. I don’t know if you have ever seen or heard something like this read but I remember first hearing it at least as far back as junior high and it has tainted my view of the disciples in a very unbiblical way:

An HR Review of Jesus’ Disciples.

TO:
Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafters Carpenter Shop
Nazareth 25922

FROM:
Jordan Management Consultants
Jerusalem 26544

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them.

As part of our service and for your guidance, we make some general comment, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation and comes without any additional fee.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
– Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper.
– Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership.
– The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty.
– Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.
– We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau.
– James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of great ability and resourcefulness, interacts with people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours,
Jordan Management Consultants

React: Let me give a quick overview of what the Bible really says about Judas: In Matthew his name pops up ten times. Eight of those are in chapters 26-27 and have to do directly with his betrayal of Jesus. One time He is listed among all the other disciples, and that tenth time… Oh wait, that was Jesus brother, a different Judas. The same thing happens with Mark (4 during betrayal, once among list, once the other guy) and Luke (4 and 1 but Luke doesn’t mention Jesus’ siblings by name).

In John we get a little bit more about Judas. At the end of chapter six Jesus says, “I chose twelve of you but one is a devil.” John then adds as a parenthetical that Jesus was talking about Judas. Later, in chapter twelve we have the story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet. Judas criticizes the act saying the money was wasted and could have been used to help the poor. John then adds another parenthetical saying Judas was a greedy thief who didn’t really care about the poor.

One last note, every time Judas is mentioned in the gospels where he isn’t actually betraying Jesus, the authors add a side note that he was going to betray Judas. Every time. (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16, John 6:71, John 12:4) The impression I got from scripture, rather than from churchy propaganda is that Judas wasn’t all that well liked by his compatriots. There is no evidence of his “great ability and resourcefulness” he clearly did not interact with others well. The other disciples saw right through his “keen business mind” to his true actions which were clearly not responsible. Those contacts in high places? There’s no evidence the priests knew of him before he came to them and even after that point their interaction with him going forward was one of disdain.

The picture I get of Judas from the gospels, my opinion of him, is of a man who was fooling only himself. He was struggling with life controlling issues of theft and greed. Well, perhaps struggling is the wrong word. There is no evidence whatsoever that he was doing anything to have victory over them until it was far too late. What is worse, everybody seemed to know his business. If he was thinking he was getting away with it was the only person he was fooling was himself.

Am I like Judas? Are we? Are there issues of uncontrolled sin that we think we have managed to keep secret? Are there issues we think we’ve stored away in its own compartment while we go through the motions of being followers of Jesus? Have we convinced ourselves that nobody else knows? We’re not fooling anybody except ourselves. If we don’t deal with our sin, it will destroy us. Just as much as Judas was, we are responsible for betraying Jesus.

Respond: 

God, forgive me. You know my sin. You know those times and moments when I have failed You. You also know those times in my life when I have lived trapped in the clutches of habitual sin and the way I believed I could never break free. You know the ways I tried to hide, and cover up that sin. I was only fooling myself and I am so grateful for the humbling, for the brokenness, for the exposure I had to go through to break free. Help me to never find myself in that place again. Help me to hate sin as much as You do. Help me to have an openness and vulnerability that will keep me from trying to hide rather than dealing with my sin. Don’t let me be a Judas. Forgive me. Please, God, forgive me.

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20 thoughts on “Judas

  1. Fortunately, I was never exposed to that nonsensical report that you showed above, although I would hope that it wouldn’t have influenced my judgment, but who’s to say. I’ve never seen Judas in any good way, and even when I went through a period of exploring the concept of universal salvation, it was Judas, far more than any other human that finally convinced me that there probably were some people who were simply beyond redemption. Still so many questions, and time draws short, so I want to thank you and others like you for helping those like myself who are sincerely looking, and just can’t do it all on our own. Thanks again.

  2. There is a movie where Judas has more exemplary life, coz he was the rook for which, if not sacrificed, the king cannot move. This movie was, The last temptation of Christ. Willem Defoe was Jesus and Harvey Keitel was Judas. Although it is a mere concept where judas is the key to all things, coz without his betrayal, the change and all the efforts would be all in vain. Thats what the movie portrayed. And in my view, if we are to have any sacrifices, one must have a realistic view what needs to be done. So that sacrifice will be in motion and a real game changer for the self and others.

  3. Poor Judas. Some one must play the role of betrayer. It was assigned to him since the beginning of time. I wonder if his grief and self disgust was because of his destiny. But I really don’t understand the need for betrayal, to point Jesus out. All the people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the elders and the scribes knew exactly who he was as he preached in the streets and synagogues. I remember there is one verse that Jesus says Judas is possessed of the devil. So is Judas merely a vessel for the devil and not himself guilty ? If Judas is the designated betrayer as part of the Crucifixion drama does he have any crime at all ?

  4. Beejai – another thought provoker, thank you. Odd how all of us , I suspect, have tainted views handed down by well meaning people. I have not come across this “HR” piece before – but …

    I find it odd that that the references to Judas in the Gospels are unanimous in their hindsight: he is a wrong ‘un. Because I wonder this.

    How much were any aware of what Judas was to initiate? Reading the same Gospels, they were blissfully ignorant of what Jesus was to face despite His efforts to prepare them. So if they did not recognise that – how would they have recognised Judas’ part (in what they themselves missed)?

    I also wonder this. That were the disciples – no different to you or I – so traumatised by the betrayal that ever after they demonised Judas (all the Gospels written “after”). And today we see this same “demonisation” happen time after time as secrets are uncovered in our much beloved celebs lives (along with the knowing: “I always thought there was something about them”)

    I have a kinder view of Judas. A view I wish to retain – Judas, for me, is always a reminder of how I am just a few bad choices away from where Judas found himself.

  5. This was great. I enjoyed how you pointed out the poignant attitudes of the gospel writers when speaking about Judas. I envision them gossiping about him like people do in the work place. You have this team of 12 guys who are powerhouses, yet really, one was the weakest link and after reading this, I wonder now if they were all wondering why he was even there. All the while, Jesus, with His patience and understanding of the will of God, He knew! Amazing.

    Thank you so much for this insight!

  6. Excellent overview and I love that letter from the Jordan Managment Consultants organization. Guess we really don’t know people do we? How easily our facade masks as who we want to be but are not. Only Jesus sees us as we really are, warts and all. Thankfully, he sees what we can become and he still molds us as the Potter into the pot He can use. Humbling.

  7. Interesting question: did Judas repent and toss the money back, later committing suicide, or did he keep the money, buy the field and was stuck dead by God in his unrepentance?

  8. Good to see you here again brother. I understand your view on the Management review, but wasn’t the point of the review to contrast the world’s thinking with God’s? I mean, it was obvious to me, that Jesus was intentionally choosing the broken vessels in order to eventually show the transforming power of God; who then was more broken than Judas?

    That being said, in light of the preponderance of the evidence against Judas you provided, like a good prosecutor, you failed to provide any mitigating circumstances on his his behalf. Observe:

    Matthew 27:3-4New King James Version (NKJV)

    Judas Hangs Himself
    3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

    And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”

    Everybody in Judea who had ever heard of Jesus knew that He was someone special. The vast majority believed that He was the Messiah, at least, their understanding of what a Messiah was to be; a military leader breaking them free of Roman rule. Judas was no different. Was he self serving, contentious, greedy, embroiled with insecurities? Yes no doubt, but so was everybody else. Even Peter was confronted by Jesus who was displaying the intentions of the Devil and misunderstanding God’s will. Jesus told Peter,

    “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV)

    So here we have two of the disciples being called out for devilish behaviors, that’s right, Peter, “the Rock”, was acting like a devil and trying to thwart God’s plan. At least Judas was in line with God’s plan, Peter stood in direct opposition to it. By Judas’ own admission, he confessed his guilt and Jesus’ innocence; then being remorseful, he took back the money. He could have said, “Oh well, it is what it is, too bad, what can I do about it now? I guess I’ll go buy myself something with all this money.”

    We have no idea what Judas was now going through and feeling. It was so bad that he committed suicide. I would say, that indicated a repentant heart. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas was an absolute necessity; what a burden to bear.

    It’s easy to see the faults in others especially when we carry the same traits. I think it’s dangerous to compare our own sin and deliverance with another’s, for God deals with us individually and meets us where we are at. Judas was a scoundrel , so the scripture tells. Forever in history he shall bear that burden and title betrayer. Do we need to rub his nose in it? Why doesn’t anybody ever say, “Judas made a huge miscalculation in trying to force Jesus into taking military action against the Romans and it cost both of them their lives; but God used what was intended for bad, for good, to bring it about as it is this day.”

    Is the sin that God delivers us from any less sinful than Judas’. Did Judas betray from a trusted position of authority, or did he have national interests in mind? Is there a difference between doing anything it takes to free your country from oppression, or being glued to a computer screen or dirty magazine, or gambling, or drinking and beating one(s) wife?

    If God has delivered us then let us be delivered in grateful humility without pointing fingers at the obvious sins of another.

  9. Reblogged this on remembertheprisonersblog and commented:
    Good to see you here again brother. I understand your view on the Management review, but wasn’t the point of the review to contrast the world’s thinking with God’s? I mean, it was obvious to me, that Jesus was intentionally choosing the broken vessels in order to eventually show the transforming power of God; who then was more broken than Judas?

    That being said, in light of the preponderance of the evidence against Judas you provided, like a good prosecutor, you failed to provide any mitigating circumstances on his his behalf. Observe:

    Matthew 27:3-4New King James Version (NKJV)

    Judas Hangs Himself
    3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

    And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”

    Everybody in Judea who had ever heard of Jesus knew that He was someone special. The vast majority believed that He was the Messiah, at least, their understanding of what a Messiah was to be; a military leader breaking them free of Roman rule. Judas was no different. Was he self serving, contentious, greedy, embroiled with insecurities? Yes no doubt, but so was everybody else. Even Peter was confronted by Jesus who was displaying the intentions of the Devil and misunderstanding God’s will. Jesus told Peter,

    “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV)

    So here we have two of the disciples being called out for devilish behaviors, that’s right, Peter, “the Rock”, was acting like a devil and trying to thwart God’s plan. At least Judas was in line with God’s plan, Peter stood in direct opposition to it. By Judas’ own admission, he confessed his guilt and Jesus’ innocence; then being remorseful, he took back the money. He could have said, “Oh well, it is what it is, too bad, what can I do about it now? I guess I’ll go buy myself something with all this money.”

    We have no idea what Judas was now going through and feeling. It was so bad that he committed suicide. I would say, that indicated a repentant heart. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas was an absolute necessity; what a burden to bear.

    It’s easy to see the faults in others especially when we carry the same traits. I think it’s dangerous to compare our own sin and deliverance with another’s, for God deals with us individually and meets us where we are at. Judas was a scoundrel , so the scripture tells. Forever in history he shall bear that burden and title betrayer. Do we need to rub his nose in it? Why doesn’t anybody ever say, “Judas made a huge miscalculation in trying to force Jesus into taking military action against the Romans and it cost both of them their lives; but God used what was intended for bad, for good, to bring it about as it is this day.”

    Is the sin that God delivers us from any less sinful than Judas’. Did Judas betray from a trusted position of authority, or did he have national interests in mind? Is there a difference between doing anything it takes to free your country from oppression, or being glued to a computer screen or dirty magazine, or gambling, or drinking and beating one(s) wife?

    If God has delivered us then let us be delivered in grateful humility without pointing fingers at the obvious sins of another.

  10. Good to see you here again brother. I understand your view on the Management review, but wasn’t the point of the review to contrast the world’s thinking with God’s? I mean, it was obvious to me, that Jesus was intentionally choosing the broken vessels in order to eventually show the transforming power of God; who then was more broken than Judas?

    That being said, in light of the preponderance of the evidence against Judas you provided, like a good prosecutor, you failed to provide any mitigating circumstances on his his behalf. Observe:

    Matthew 27:3-4New King James Version (NKJV)

    Judas Hangs Himself
    3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

    And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”

    Everybody in Judea who had ever heard of Jesus knew that He was someone special. The vast majority believed that He was the Messiah, at least, their understanding of what a Messiah was to be; a military leader breaking them free of Roman rule. Judas was no different. Was he self serving, contentious, greedy, embroiled with insecurities? Yes no doubt, but so was everybody else. Even Peter was confronted by Jesus who was displaying the intentions of the Devil and misunderstanding God’s will. Jesus told Peter,

    “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV)

    So here we have two of the disciples being called out for devilish behaviors, that’s right, Peter, “the Rock”, was acting like a devil and trying to thwart God’s plan. At least Judas was in line with God’s plan, Peter stood in direct opposition to it. By Judas’ own admission, he confessed his guilt and Jesus’ innocence; then being remorseful, he took back the money. He could have said, “Oh well, it is what it is, too bad, what can I do about it now? I guess I’ll go buy myself something with all this money.”

    We have no idea what Judas was now going through and feeling. It was so bad that he committed suicide. I would say, that indicated a repentant heart. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas was an absolute necessity; what a burden to bear.

    It’s easy to see the faults in others especially when we carry the same traits. I think it’s dangerous to compare our own sin and deliverance with another’s, for God deals with us individually and meets us where we are at. Judas was a scoundrel , so the scripture tells. Forever in history he shall bear that burden and title betrayer. Do we need to rub his nose in it? Why doesn’t anybody ever say, “Judas made a huge miscalculation in trying to force Jesus into taking military action against the Romans and it cost both of them their lives; but God used what was intended for bad, for good, to bring it about as it is this day.”

    Is the sin that God delivers us from any less sinful than Judas’. Did Judas betray from a trusted position of authority, or did he have national interests in mind? Is there a difference between doing anything it takes to free your country from oppression, or being glued to a computer screen or dirty magazine, or gambling, or drinking and beating one(s) wife?

    If God has delivered us then let us be delivered in grateful humility without pointing fingers at the obvious sins of another.

  11. Astounding insight. Never heard of the HR concept but it did bring the qualification of the other 11 to light. Thanks for sharing! Lord remove every trait of a Judas out of me. Let me never betray your love for me Jesus.

  12. Spiritually we could all be considered something of a Judas to Jesus. Our sin sealed Him to the cross so in a way we all betrayed God with our sin. The glorious thing is even in the end, Jesus still referred to Judas as friend.

    -Reupac

    reupac.wordpress.com

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