John 17:9 and 12 says, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” The son of perdition – ruin; destruction; damnation. Judas Iscariot. Confined to torment in the heat of Hell's flame. Eternally damned in the lake that burns with fire; in blackness of darkness forever. How could this be? He was an apostle. He was one of only twelve hand-picked men that Jesus chose to sow His life into for three whole years. These were the “Navy Seals” of Christianity – the best of the best. Yet this hand-picked apostle – so trusted that he was The Lord's personal treasurer – committed the worst betrayal known to human history. He sold the Lord of the universe for thirty pieces of silver. How did this happen? Let's find out.
Judas Iscariot (Ish “man” Kerioth “city”) was from Kerioth in southern Juda. We have very little information on Judas before he became an apostle, but some believe he was a zealot – a Jewish patriot – who longed for the coming of Messiah, and the overthrow of Rome. He likely thought that Jesus was Messiah by the miracles He did; but his allegiance to Jesus was selfishly motivated. He never truly loved Jesus or gave his heart to Him. May I ask you: Why do you follow Jesus? Have you truly given your heart to Christ? Or do you follow Him for some personal gain?
The first mention of Judas in all four Gospels pairs his name with betrayer twice, traitor once, and devil once (Mt 10:4, Mk 3:19, Lk 6:16, Jn 6:70-71). However, we must remember that the four Gospels were written years after Judas died. It was all hindsight. The Apostles had no clue Judas was a traitor or a thief. That's right. While Judas acted like he cared for the poor, he was actually a thief who stole money out of the treasury (Jn 12:3-6). He went to the chief priests and asked them how much money they would give him to betray Jesus (Mt 26:14-15, Mk 14:11)! The love of money will destroy you – in this life; and possibly in the next.
Did Scripture prophesy of Judas? We can see in Psalm 41:9, 55:12-15, and Zec. 11:12-13 that it did – though not by name. So did Judas have a choice? Absolutely. Choose life. Choose this day who you will serve. Whosoever will, come. We have a choice. God's providence and man's free will aren't mutually exclusive. They both exist. Like train tracks, they run parallel, going to the same destination. Judas had every opportunity to repent and give his life to Jesus. But he didn't. Have you? Today may be the last day of your life.
Judas was lost. He was not clean (Jn 13:8-11). He was a hypocrite that was so hardened by sin that he actually allowed Jesus the Lord to wash his dirty feet! Imagine! He even had the nerve to ask, “Is it I” when Jesus said that one of His twelve would betray Him during the last supper (Mt 26:21-25). He knew good and well that he was the traitor. That's what sin does to you when you don't turn from it. It will harden you; sear you; & make you blind. Although he was influenced by the devil, Satan actually entered him when he took the bread from Jesus (Jn 13:27-29). Imagine the filthiness.
Because he knew where Jesus would be (Jn 18:2), he led a multitude of soldiers to arrest Him. Although Jesus came out to meet them and declare that He was Jesus, Judas still betrayed Him with a kiss. Yet Jesus called Judas friend (Mt 26:47-50). Jesus still loved him, and His heart broke for him; but Judas chose Hell.
Perhaps he remembered the curse in Dt. 27:25, and went to the priests and threw the money on the floor (Mt 27:1-10). However, he was not truly repentant. He was merely regretful. There is a difference. Repentance demands change. Regret does not. He thought he would escape his present hell by hanging himself. He was wrong. It is so sad when lost men think that death is an escape; when in actuality, it is the sealing of their hell for eternity. After Judas hung himself, the rope or branch broke and he fell from a high place and his guts burst out all over the ground (Act 1:16-20, 25). What a tragic end to a former apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus had a traitor in His midst: could you not have one in yours? Our job is not to find the Judas, but rather to make sure that we are not the Judas. Examine yourself today. Do you call yourself a disciple of Christ? Do you claim to be God's child through faith in Jesus? Or do you just pretend and fool the other disciples, while secretly your heart is full of wickedness, deceit, evil, & lust? Do you have a passion and love for Christ, and thankfulness for His death for your sins? Or are you hard and cold, and only going through the motions of Christianity by compulsion and/or personal gain? I say this because we must not forget that Judas was an apostle of Jesus Christ who ended up in Hell. Judas was a trusted disciple who sat under the teachings of Jesus Christ Himself everyday for three years of his life... and he never gave his life to Jesus. Could it be that you have been sitting in church for years; and you are as lost as Judas? Examine yourself. Get serious about your relationship with God. Make your calling and election sure (2Pt 1:5-10). Until next time, (if your saved) rejoice in The Lord!