I’ve never heard a preach on Judas; I don’t know many babies called Judas; and not even my dog (if I had one!) would be graced with that name. The name Judas is synonymous with treachery and betrayal because of those fateful decisions he made, nearly 2000 years ago, to hand over the Saviour of the world to the Pharisees - for 30 silver coins. Christians have questioned and debated Judas; was he pre-destined to betray Jesus, was he ‘demon-possessed’, was he the devil incarnate? You won’t get those answers in this blog. But what you might get, is some top tips to help you live, like Jesus, and not Judas.
By looking at the life of Judas, I think we can learn a thing or two. Firstly, it amazes me that Judas, despite living and breathing the same air as Jesus for nearly 3 years, and then being anointed and commissioned and sent out on mission by Jesus himself, even managed to slip to such a low point. How did he let his heart get so cold that 30 pieces of silver seemed a better option than sticking with team-Jesus?
If we were able to ask Judas now, what might he do differently, I think it might look like the following:
1. I think Judas would be more about giving than getting.
In Matthew 26:14-15 we read that Judas’ words when he went to the chief priests were: “‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’. For Judas, life had become about ‘getting’. But the kingdom of Jesus, if he’d been listening, is always about ‘giving’ first; guarding our hearts starts by determining to be givers; of life, or finance, our time, energy, presence – to further the cause of Jesus and His church. I think Judas would be calling to us today; be a giver, be a person who looks to the needs of others first.
2. I think Judas would have looked for another job!
In John’s gospel, we read that Judas was the treasurer. He had a weakness where money was concerned; he couldn’t trust himself and John tells us that: ‘he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself’ (John 12:6).
If something causes us to sin, Jesus said something about cutting it off! It might not be that extreme, but guarding our hearts might look like running, staying away from areas of known weakness, using our brains to avoid things that might cause us to stumble – Judas would give the money bag to someone else!
3. I think Judas would re-write his story.
Matthew’s gospel tells us that Judas, when he realized that Jesus had been condemned, ‘was seized with remorse’ (Matt. 27:3). He returned the 30 pieces of silver, but it was too late! The chief priests had what they wanted. It was too late for Judas. But it’s not too late for us. Because of Jesus, and His finished work on the cross, our story doesn’t have to end hopeless; we can have life, and life in all its fullness (John 10:10). Regret and remorse are not the final words over the lives of followers of Jesus. We can learn from what Judas did; but it’s what Jesus has DONE that really counts. Lean on the finished work of Jesus. He loves you, He is for you.
Question for application?
- Where am I looking to GET, when God might be calling me to GIVE?
- What needs to GO in order to help me GROW
- How is your story looking? Does it point to Jesus, or you?