This article is the last installment of Brother Jerry Valenti’s series on the original 12 Apostles of Christ. Check below for links to all the articles in this series!
Judas Iscariot is the most infamous of all the Apostles. He is described as “the traitor,” the one who betrayed Christ. After spending three years with Jesus and His other Apostles, how could Judas have done this, assisting the local authorities to arrest Jesus and eventually put Him to death?
It’s possible that Judas did it for the money. He was greedy enough to take advantage of his position as the Apostle Treasurer to steal money from their fund (John 12:6), which is noted after Judas complains about Jesus allowing costly ointment to be “wasted” on Him, rather than selling it to generate more money for their fund (which Judas would have taken a share of). It’s even possible that missing out on this additional money that would have come from selling the ointment may have pushed Judas to follow through on the betrayal, as these are the very next verses (in Matthew 26):
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16)
However, the more likely reason stems from the likelihood that Judas didn’t really believe that Jesus was actually the Son of God. In John 6, it is written that “Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him” (verse 64). When Peter asserted (on behalf of the twelve) that “we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 69):
Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:70-71)
If Judas didn’t really believe in who Jesus was, what was he doing as part of this group? It’s been said that he may have been interested in Jesus for political reasons, thinking that Jesus was going to lead a revolt against the Roman Empire, eventually becoming King of Israel in the natural sense. When he realized that Jesus was not planning to do that, he was willing to switch to the opposition, especially since they were willing to pay money for him to do so.
What it came down to for Judas — and what it comes down to for us — is that the most important thing is unshakeable belief that Jesus is the Christ and a firm knowledge that we are where we are — in The Church of Jesus Christ — because God has called us to be part of this group. Otherwise, we’ll find it easy to just move on when we’re not personally satisfied with how things are going.
It’s easy to look at Judas who allowed Satan to enter into him (Luke 22:3) and about whom Jesus said that it would have been better if he had never been born (Mark 14:21) and think to ourselves that we could never be guilty of such a betrayal. However, if our faith in Christ and His Church are not firm, and if we’re not on our guard, the enemy can enter in various ways and cause us to do things contrary to Christ that we never thought we would ever even consider.
In conclusion, I don’t want to leave you thinking that you’re going to accidentally turn into the next Judas. If you were sincerely repentant when you gave your life to Christ, you were forgiven of your sins and made clean — unlike Judas who Jesus specifically said was not clean (John 13:10-11). So, you’re in a much better place than Judas ever was — you believe that Christ is your Savior, and you’re part of His family in The Church of Jesus Christ.
To stay on the path, focus on growing your faith — especially in these turbulent times — and stay closely connected to Christ and His Church. Anything — any cause, any person, any thought — that tries to take you away from Christ and His Church is from the enemy. Don’t let the enemy enter in!
Catch Up on The Twelve Apostles Series — and Stay Tuned for Something New!
Below, you can find links to all the articles that Brother Jerry authored on the Twelve Apostles of Christ. Brother Jerry will return to his regular Wednesday column in February with a new series that will focus on events in the life of Jesus.
|Apostle||Link to Article|
|Simon||Be a Zealot for Jesus|
|Andrew||Recognizing Jesus and Following Him|
|Judas, Brother of James||Seeking Increased Understanding|
|Peter||Building on the Rock|
|Nathanael||You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet|
|John||I’m the One Who Jesus Loves|
|Philip||Come and See|
|Thomas||If Only He Hadn’t Missed the Meeting|
|Matthew||It’s Christmas Here Too, You Know|
|James||Working Even When Others Don’t See It|
|James, Son of Zebedee||How Much Are We Like James?|
|Judas||Don’t Let the Enemy In (this post)|
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.