Judas Iscariot

Lesson 3

by Jackie Alston

Last month, the lesson was taught about Jesus being the Master Evangelist. My lesson will briefly mention the twelve evangelists or disciples chosen by Jesus, but the main focus will be on Judas Iscariot. Before I get into the lesson I would like to stress four points:

  1. Jesus Christ was sent here on a mission. That mission was to seek and save those that are lost.
  2. Jesus Christ is perfect. He has no sin and makes no mistakes.
  3. Jesus Christ knows everything about everybody.
  4. Whatever Jesus Christ does, there's a reason for it, there's significance behind it.

Luke tells us that Jesus went out and prayed to God all night before making His choice of the twelve disciples. How often do we make important decisions and never even think about consulting God? That's why the world is in such bad shape, especially the divorce rate. But Jesus Christ, who knows everything and makes no mistakes prayed before choosing His disciples. That should let us know how important those twelve men would be. But I really should say would become, because Jesus made a point of not choosing important men. He chose the lowly, thus performing one of His most important miracles, transforming these lowly men into the great apostles and martyrs that they would become.

Jesus chose twelve disciples. Why twelve? Why not fifteen or twenty? Why not just four, after all, for a long time that's all I could name. And it's probably the same four that most of you all could name. Barthalomew, once you hear a name like Barthalomew, there's no forgetting it. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved; the one He left His mother in the care of when He was dying on the cross. Peter, the disciple who cut off the soldier's ear, the one who denied knowing Jesus three times; and then there's the one: Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. After studying for this lesson, I could now name the other eight disciples, but their names are not really that important. But the fact that Jesus chose twelve is very significant. Twelve was a number that represented governmental perfection. It coincided with the twelve sons of Jacob. These twelve men were going to have a perfect ruling of the new kingdom, the new people. And they would sit on the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

When Jesus was choosing His disciples, I imagine Judas' parents were there, hoping and praying that their son would be chosen. And when he was chosen, they stood there beaming with pride, not knowing that a few years later they would hang their heads in sorrow, embarrassment, and humiliation for what their son would do for thirty pieces of silver. I'm sure family and friends wondered, "What could have gone wrong? He was in the best of company, what happened?"

Well, I'll tell you what happened. Ever since Satan's fall from grace, he has been and will always be in a constant battle against the Lord for possession of peoples' minds, bodies, and souls to do his evil work. So, Satan entered Judas. Not one of his little helpers, Satan, himself, entered Judas. Just as God has helpers called angels to go out and do jobs for him (an angel told Joseph and Mary about the pregnancy, an angel told the shepherds about the birth of Baby Jesus, an angel rolled the stone away from Jesus' tomb), Satan has his helpers too, and they're called demons.

Just imagine Satan sitting in his hell with all his millions of demons who are so eager to please him. They are having this little meeting, sort of like a pep talk. Satan is praising them for the jobs they've done. You! Fine job on that man in the synagogue in Capernaum. When Jesus was preaching, you made that man shout out, "Leave us alone Jesus of Nazareth, you don't have anything to do with us!" But, Jesus made you shut up and get out of that man. You seven! Excellent work on Mary Magdalene. You had her ranting and raving, kicking and screaming all over the ground, I loved it! But then there goes Jesus again poking His nose where it doesn't belong. Jesus is messing me up! He's getting on my last nerve! He's got to be taken care of! Immediately those little demons' hands go up. "We'll do it, we'll take care of Jesus!" And Satan says, "Wait a minute, don't fool yourselves. You can't handle Jesus!" I couldn't even handle Him when I tried Him in the wilderness. The man hadn't eaten for forty days and forty nights. I knew he was starving. So I picked up these stones that looked like hot buttered, golden brown loaves, and I commanded Him to turn those stones into bread. Jesus said to me, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by the words that proceedeth from the mouth of the Lord".

There would have been nothing sinful in the act itself of turning those stones into bread, later on in His ministry Jesus would turn five loaves into enough to feed well over five thousand people. But to turn those stones into bread just to satisfy His own physical need at Satan's suggestion would have been sinful. To eat at that time would have distracted Jesus from his mission, of course Satan knew that. But as I said earlier, Jesus has no sin!

So Satan assured his little demons that they couldn't handle Jesus. But he assured them that he knew how to handle Him this time. He was going to get to Jesus through one of His disciples. He was going to use Judas. All the other disciples trusted Judas, they would never suspect him. After all, He carried the money bag. You don't choose just anybody to take care of your money. But what the other disciples didn't know was Judas was sneaking coins out of the money bag. The man loved money!

At the Last Supper, when Jesus told His disciples that one of them would betray Him, they all asked a question that leads me to believe that anyone of them could have betrayed Him. They were all so unsure of themselves. But they asked the One who knew them better than they knew themselves. "Is it I, Lord? Is it I?" Even Judas asked Jesus,"Is it I?", knowing all along it was him, but still playing his little game. At this time, Jesus could have said, "It's Judas!" Judas will betray me after all I've done for him", but Jesus doesn't work that way. We handle things that way. Jesus knew if He said that, it would bring immediate scorn from all the other disciples upon Judas and He didn't want that. He loved Judas too much to do that. It's just a pity that He couldn't make Judas love Him back. John was leaning back upon Jesus' bosom, so Peter beckoned to John to ask Jesus who was going to betray Him. And Jesus said, in a whisper,"It is he to whom I give this sop after it has been dipped", and He gave the sop to Judas.

Just to let you know how powerful Satan is, before Judas took that sop , he was an apostle, but after he took the sop he became an apostate. Within a matter of seconds, this man went from being an apostle of Christ to an apostate. An apostate is a defector; a person who abandons his previous loyalty. Once Judas did that, he had to be diassociated from the group so Jesus told him to, go on and do what he had to do. The other disciples thought Judas was going on some type of errand for Jesus. But Judas was headed for the High Priests.

Can you imagine the joy and excitement of the High Priests when one of Jesus' own friends came to make a deal to deliver Him unto them? They couldn't believe their good fortune. After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, that had been the last straw with them. They couldn't take Jesus anymore. He had to die! So they were anxious to make a deal and they knew Judas would know exactly when and where to take Jesus when it would be just Him and His disciples. A deal was made that Judas would kiss the one they wanted for thirty pieces of silver. The man betrayed our Lord and Savior for a measly thirty pieces of silver! Thirty! Delilah got more when she betrayed Samson. She got eleven hundred pieces. No reflection on the men here, but I've always known women were much smarter. But in this case, no amount of money would have been enough to betray Jesus.

Judas led a multitude of soldiers carrying lanterns, torches, clubs, and swords to arrest Jesus. Sometimes as I ride down the streets and I see three policemen arresting one man, I realize how easily that situation could get out of control and that man could be badly beaten before he makes it to the police station. So I can't begin to imagine hundreds of soldiers coming to arrest Jesus. I know we've all heard the expression, "if you got it, flaunt it". Well, Jesus had the power, and sometimes to make a point, He had to flaunt it. He used His power to cause all those soldiers to just fall back to the ground, just to let them know they couldn't take Him if He didn't want to go. Judas and the mob had come after Jesus as if He were a common criminal. But Jesus was going on His own free will because it was part of the job His Father had sent Him to do, part of the prophecies that had to come true.

Now, Judas had to fulfill his part of the bargain by kissing the one they wanted. He could have saved himself a little dignity by telling those soldiers, "Look you guys, I'm going to stay back here in the bushes, but Jesus is the one in the white robe with the blue sash, or to bring it home to our young folks, Jesus is the one in the Tommy Hilfilger shirt and the Girbaud jeans." But when Satan got into Judas, he got into him real good. He made Judas walk right up and kiss Jesus. A kiss was a common greeting between Master and disciple, but this kiss was different. With betrayal on his mind, murder in his heart, and thirty pieces of silver in his pocket, Judas gave Jesus the "kiss of death".

This was not the only deadly kiss in the Bible, but by far, the most important one. Most of the kisses were actually what they were meant to be, acts of affection.

                               But Judas gave Jesus a "kiss of betrayal."

Ladies! If a man will betray Jesus Christ with a kiss, just think what one would do to us. I remember years ago, when your lover would kiss you, you'd throw your head back, close your eyes, and get all into it. Well, you better keep your eyes open. You never know what's coming next. There are still some Judas Iscariots out there.

Jesus was led away to trial and this trial was the greatest legal injustice that there ever will be. First of all, it was held after midnight, no lawyers, no witnesses, nothing. Any lawyer could have had this trial thrown out of court. Judas hung around to see what was going to happen. I guess he wanted to see Jesus as the lawyer that never lost a case. But Jesus never opened His mouth in His own defense. He just allowed Himself to be condemned. The time had come and He was on a mission. When Judas realized what was happening, he finally experienced something other than greed. He felt guilt. A guilt so strong that it made him run to the High Priests saying, "I've made a mistake. I've betrayed innocent blood!" One has to wonder what, if anything, would have changed had Judas run to Jesus with his repentance instead of the High Priests. The High Priests told him they didn't care about that. Judas was so racked with guilt that he threw those coins to the floor, ran out and hang himself. Acts 1:18 tells us that "his bowels gushed out".

I couldn't put those two things together. A man hangs himself and his bowels gush out? What made the bowels gush out? With further reading I came up with two different explanations. The first one was that back then, hanging meant one of two things; either crucifixion or impalement. Since it was physically impossible for Judas to crucify himself, he went out and impaled himself on a sharpened stake. When the stake penetrated his stomach, his bowels gushed out. The second explanation was that Judas did hang himself with a rope around the neck, and as his body hung there for some time, it swelled, got heavy, and broke the rope. Then his big, fat, bloated, traitorous body rolled down a hill. When it reached the foot of the hill, it burst open and his bowels gushed out. When I first started reading for this lesson, I thought I really needed to know just how Judas died but then I thought, "I don't really care how he died, just as long as he died." And I guess he had to die, if not, Jesus would have stopped it. Good riddance, traitor!.

I guess Judas was spared all the way to the end by not having to witness the terrible torture Jesus would receive. Judas only thought he felt guilt. He didn't have to witness the soldiers beating the flesh on Jesus' back to the bone; the blood running down His face from the seventy-two thorns upon His head; His face swollen from the soldiers slapping Him over and over; the spittle running down His face. Judas didn't have to witness Jesus trying to carry the heavy cross on His torn back; the nails driven into His hands and feet; the soldiers gambling for His garments while He was dying cross. Judas didn't have to come to the realization that Jesus Christ had no sin; all He was going through, He was going through it because He loved us. Judas was spared all of this. Jesus saw no need to further punish Judas. He knew Judas' soul was condemned, and a lost soul is the greatest punishment that anyone can receive.

Judas didn't cause anything to happen to Jesus that Jesus wasn't expecting. Oftentimes, Jesus used the phrase"in order that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." These things had to happen. God did not choose false prophets, and the prophet Isaiah had prophesied all of Jesus' suffering over 700 years before Jesus was born. The Psalmist David wrote the events of the crucifixion almost 1000 years before it happened. Jesus knew these things were coming. That's why He never looked at His death as being crucified. He knew He was being glorified. "It is finished!" He completed the job He was sent to do.

One scholar suggested that since Jesus knew everything, then He knew Judas would betray Him, yet He chose him anyway. So really Judas shouldn't be at fault. Judas should be exonerated. Exonerated! Again, this has no reflection on the men here, but what man suggested this? It had to be a man. A woman wouldn't have suggested something so unsmart. All I have to say to that suggestion is, Matthew 26:24, "The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." Jesus, in all His love, kindness, mercy, understanding, and forgiveness says it would be good for Judas if he had not been born. Doesn't sound like exoneration to me. Some scholar out there trying to make excuses for Judas! There is no excuse for Judas and there'll be no excuses for us when Jesus returns.

We may shrink in horror at the treachery of Judas yet repeat it ourselves in some other form. We can't betray Jesus with a kiss like Judas did, but we can betray him with our lying, gossiping, stealing, greed, hate, backbiting, adultery, jealousy. It's all betraying to Jesus. And when He returns, He's naming traitors. Just be prepared to answer a question He already knows the answer to because He knows everything about everybody. "HOW MUCH WERE YOU PAID?"

Is your soul for sale? Is it worth burning in hell? It wasn't for Judas and it won't be for us.

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

Providence Family Ministries

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