Posted on: March 21, 2023
Written by: Thomas Kilian
Read time: 7 mins 32 secs
"And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had handed all things over to Him and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper and laid His outer garments aside; and He took a towel and tied it around Himself." - John 13:2-4 (ESV)
Christ's last meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Judas, at this point, has already made a covenant or agreement with Satan that he will betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (a few hundred USD today). Verse three is the only time Simon's name appears in the Bible, and it's mentioned to tell us that he's the father of the one betraying Jesus.
I pray for us as men that we will pray for our sons, daughters, and those we disciple as elder brothers or fathers in the faith. I pray we do not live a legacy of raising people who betray the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just a man's children who carry his legacy, but also their children’s children. We ought to think about legacy and lineage, especially those of us who are Christians.
In a secular world, normally, the women raise the children, meet with the church, and serve in the church. Normally, it is the men who are the absent ones. We need men to be present to raise and love their children in a relationship with God. If a man does not, he will automatically have children that enter a covenant with Satan and betray Jesus. And he will automatically have a church that enters a covenant with Satan and betray Jesus. God's mercy still stands for those children and churches, as He is their true Father, but the lesson here is how a man should set an example to protect what God has given him, as a man is designed to mentor, protect, and cultivate good things.
In our John 13 passage, we find Judas with Christ, and Christ is about to serve Judas, pouring water into a basin, washing his feet, and drying them with the towel wrapped around Him.
First, let us talk a little about Jesus and Judas:
Question: Was Jesus a good friend of Judas?
Did Jesus serve Judas?
Did Jesus love Judas?
Did Jesus feed Judas?
Was Judas there when Jesus preached his sermons? Yes or no?
Was he there when Jesus did his miracles? Yes or no?
Judas had a privileged seat in the history of the world to witness the person and work, the words and the deeds, of Jesus. You can have all the facts and experiences with Jesus, but that doesn’t mean you will believe and accept Jesus. Judas had a front-row seat, but He would ultimately betray Jesus with a kiss; he handed Jesus over to be murdered.
If you do not love Jesus, you will not be in the same place as Him forever. Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone else in the Bible. We need to know this. For those who love Jesus, this life is as close to hell as you will be. For those who do not love Jesus, this life is as close to Heaven as you will be.
Judas gives us this terrible, worrying story. You can look at this in one of two ways: religiously or repentantly. If you choose to look religiously, you will say, “What a horrible man! Thank you, God, I am not like him.” Or you can look at it repentantly, saying, “God, am I prone to follow in his example and suffer his fate? Please save me from my flesh." Jesus not only saves us from hell, but he also saves us from ourselves. Judas is unwilling to be saved.
So what about Judas? We know he is a bad example, but can we learn from his life?
Here are six lessons from the life of Judas:
1) Sometimes, you bear no responsibility for someone who betrays you, betrays Jesus, wrecks their life, and shipwrecks their faith.
Some of you know what it is to love someone like Jesus loved Judas, but you see them go on a path of self-destruction and utter destruction. They are drinking themselves to death, addicted, they are out of control, and their life is self-destructive. You have or perhaps had watched this before, and you love them. It is reasonable to ask, "What else could I have done or said?"
In the relationship between Judas and Jesus, nothing else could have been said or done because Jesus is perfect. And Jesus had a perfect relationship with Judas. For some of us, I need to unburden you. There are people you love who are destroying themselves, and you are carrying a burden that is not your burden to bear. It is not your fault. Now, If the Holy Spirit convinces you that you have contributed to someone’s pain and evil decisions, I want you to own that, repent, and move forward.
2) Sitting under good Bible teaching is not enough to believe it.
Judas went to the "University" of Jesus Christ for three years. Jesus Christ taught every class he took. Every lesson he learned came from the lips of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ answered every question he asked. And Judas did not believe any of it. Let me remind us of another passage. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (James 1:22). I can make sure that I get the Word of God to you, but you have to make sure that the Word of God gets into you. Judas’ problem was not with information but with transformation. Knowledge can puff someone up, but knowledge with love always builds up. Judas did not love Jesus.
The question we must ask ourselves when reading the Word is: "Am I just reading this for information or transformation?" If you read the Word for information only, you will be a person who is not only a deceiver but also self-deceived.
3) The Church has wheat and tares.
Matthew 13:24–43 records Jesus saying there are wheat and tares. Looking out at a field, you see crops and weeds growing together. And some of us are unsure what might be wheat or what may be weeds. So it is with the Church.
Some people look at the disciples and say, "Look at Judas. Was he ever for Christ to begin with?" Sometimes it is hard for us to know who are the true followers of Christ. I am sure Judas's betrayal was a stunning moment for the disciples. It is stunningly awful. If we were the disciples during that moment, we might say, "He was a part of our little church; he was a leader, went to Bible college, and memorized Bible verses!"
Judas worked for satan.
Wheat and tares grow in the same field. Even so, Jesus tells us He will do the sorting out. In the meanwhile, our job is to love people as Jesus did.
4) Your heart follows your wallet.
Judas was the bookkeeper for Jesus’s ministry, and the Bible reveals in John 12:6 how Judas was stealing from the ministry account. Jesus knew this.
Hard words produce soft people, but soft words produce hard people. So, I am going to give us a hard word:
How many of you have stolen from Jesus?
How much have you stolen from Jesus?
How much belongs to Him that you have kept for yourself?
The problem with Judas was that he saw the ministry money as his money, not Jesus’s money. As a result, he took what belonged to Jesus. You and I are prone to do this same thing. We must be very careful that when looking at Judas, we do not say, “Thank God I am not like that!” Why? Jesus told a parable where a man said exactly that, and that was the man's problem.
When we read John 13, and we see Jesus and Judas, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I following Jesus's or Judas's ways?” If you read the Bible and think, "Look at Jesus here; He reminds me of me!" you are reading the Bible with a haughty spirit.
Jesus tells us this: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). People often say that when they manage their finances right, then they will get their heart right (referring to giving charity). But this is not true. One way to straighten your heart is to straighten out your finances first. Judas was not a giver; he was a taker. If God can get you to give, He can get you to forgive. Giving will transform you. Judas was not transformed, in part, because he was not a giver.
5) You can fake your salvation.
Judas attended Bible studies; you attend Bible studies. He learned the Bible; you learn the Bible. He had relationships with Godly people; you are in relationship with Godly people.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul tells the Christians in Corinth to judge themselves. We can imagine Paul giving them the gavel and saying, "Put yourself on trial!" We should ask ourselves, "Do I love the Lord Jesus Christ, or am I faking it?” Judas could have very well faked it for three years.
6) The most important day of your life is the last day.
Judas had some great days. He saw Jesus in the storyline of John’s gospel turn water into wine; he saw Jesus feed thousands with a boy's dinner contents; he saw Jesus cross water without a boat; he saw Jesus heal people without payment. Judas has had an amazing life; he had stories he could tell. BUT. He chose to be committed to evil in his last several days on earth.
The most important day of your life may be the last. This is only true in the view of Paul's words: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Philippians 3:12-14). WE MUST COMPLETE THE RACE. YOU WILL NOT WIN A RACE WHEN YOU FAIL TO MAKE THE LAST STEP. Because that step is the day that launches you into eternity. Are you ready for your last day? I know that life seems long, but in tens of thousands of years, this life will seem very short.