I think we’ve all had our moments with an individual who represented themselves one way only to turn out to be something totally different. Judas was the disciple responsible for keeping the money. Somewhere along the way, his desire to serve became clouded in a willingness to steal. As someone who saw the miracles Jesus performed and his commitment to serving God, he got lost and allowed himself to be used as an agent of evil.
For example, the time that he was upset about Mary using perfume on Jesus’ feet was shieled in an attempt to portray his concern for the poor but was rooted in his desire for money. (John 12:1-6) This was a man who saw Lazarus raised from the dead (v. 9) and even with the ability to witness miracles, he still sought short-term gratification instead of seeing salvation right in his presence. How often are we faced with miracles from God only to rationalize it as being something else? As much as we are critical of Judas, it is important that we evaluate that spirit within ourselves. For many, we have witnessed the goodness of God only to question it or the messenger because it did not meet our expectations.
As the celebration of Passover occurred, Judas was preparing to turn Jesus over to the Pharisees. He not only ate with Jesus but had his feet washed by our Lord. It's interesting that Jesus knew that Judas would betray him and still allowed him to be a part of the group. There is a lesson for all of us in this. We must know that there will be those who start the journey with us with good intentions that allow themselves to be compromised because their focus is no longer on the Savior but the satisfaction of whatever they seek. The Bible accounts that on several occasions Satan entered Judas. How is it possible that one can be close to Christ and fall for the temptation presented by Satan? Judas had been walking with the Light of the World and yet, when he removed himself from the light, he was in the darkness making deadly decisions.
If we are not careful, it is easy to solely see Judas as the betrayer and not a part of God’s ultimate plan for salvation. It’s also easy to miss that we have the impression that we are walking with Christ and yet fail to realize how we allow ourselves to be instruments of the Devil. When we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on material things such as money, we can jeopardize the lives of those around us and impact our destiny. The response of Jesus’ to the upcoming betrayal was not one of condemnation. He could have told Judas off, revealed his plot, or even stopped him. Instead, Jesus prayed for his disciples (including Judas) and followed God to the end. Judas realizes his fault far too late. The people that he sought to impress and the temporary satisfaction of the 30 pieces of silver were not enough. (Matthew 27:3-5) Jesus’ gave his life and Judas lost his.
The kiss of betrayal isn’t something that happens immediately. Judas allowed his resentment and greed to go unchecked. Instead of recognizing his need for the Savior who was right there, he was easily sedated by momentary musings of wealth. The real wealth was in his presence, and he missed it. I hope as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior that we don’t miss Him. What we don’t bring into submission to the Holy Spirit—jealousy, envy, gossip, greed, selfish ambition, etc.---can lead us down a path of destruction…and we miss the true relationship that is available to each of us with Jesus.
Excerpt from the article, Don’t Miss Him in the Baptist Standard, March 28, 2022 (https://www.baptiststandard.com/opinion/voices/dont-miss-jesus-like-judas-did/)