Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 6:70 (Holman) Jesus replied to them, ADidn=t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is the Devil!@
Question one, what did Judas do? Our Lord called him the devil. What does a person have to do to be called a devil by the kindest human ever?
Judas was guilty of terrible treachery! He was befriended and honored by Christ, but to no avail. Judas= betrayal of Christ was as though an arm would commit treason against our head, or as if our foot would desert the body.
Judas, easily history=s most infamous villain and scoundrel, has a name synonymous with treachery and betrayal. All humanity rankles at one who betrays a friend.
Caesar was stabbed by his intimate friend Brutus. Shakespeare, enamored by this, wrote, AThis was the most unkindest cut of all, for when the noble Caesar saw him stab, ingratitude, more strong than traitor=s arms, quite vanquished him: then burst his mighty heart; And, in his mantle muffling up his face . . . great Caesar fell.@ The closer the foeman is, the deeper the stab he can give.
David heard, AThe hearts of the men are after Absalom@ (2 Samuel 15:13). David=s own son led the coup. Ascending Mt. Olivet weeping and barefoot, David received another message, AAhithophel is among the conspirators@ (15:31). Losing the throne was not as painful as what two familiar men did.
None of these villains approaches in hideousness the name of Judas Iscariot. Even the pronunciation of his name has a ring of wickedness.
What did Judas do? He betrayed the only pure and perfect One who ever lived.
Question two, why did Judas do it? Herein lies one of Scripture=s deepest mysteries. We can only guess. How can we explain any person who turns to evil?
Alcibiades, originally a follower and admirer of Socrates, later turned to ambition, licentiousness, and treason. He said every time he thought of Socrates he felt a sense of shame, but this regret never altered him.
A young Frenchman once resigned as a provincial judge because it violated his conscience to pronounce the death sentence on a man found guilty of a capital offence. The judge was Robespierre, who became the evil genius of the French Revolution, and sent thousands to the guillotine.
How can anyone explain such drastic and deviant changes in behavior? Maybe Judas himself could not adequately explain why he did what he did. Even we believers commit acts we cannot understand, times we want to do good, but don=t, times we don=t want to commit a sin, but do.
No Christian ever finds power equal to their will. If we believers experience this much turmoil, what would lost people like Judas experience?
Ultimate reasons for Judas= deed elude us, but we can pinpoint some contributing factors to his crime. By discussing them, we may be helped to keep from acting similarly ourselves.
A. GREED (Matthew 26:14-16). Judas loved money. Judas went to the chief priests and asked, AWhat are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?@
Judas became angry when expensive ointment was poured on Jesus. He was a thief, and had the ointment been sold it would have come under his control as treasurer of the group. For 30 pieces of silver he sold Jesus= life, and his own.
B. DISILLUSIONMENT. Judas had lowly ambitions. He followed Christ thinking he would share in a messianic kingdom. Judas was attracted not by Christ=s teaching, beauty, and character, but by His political potential.
When the crowds soured, and Jesus began speaking of His death, Judas decided to bail out and salvage what he could from a sinking ship. When the true nature of Christ=s ministry began to dawn on Judas, he grew weary of it all.
C. RESENTMENT (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, Judas reprimanded her. Love=s impulses appeared absurd to selfishness. The carnal-minded make sport of spiritual deeds.
Jesus immediately rebuked Judas. Matthew and Mark place Judas= first interview with the leaders right after this incident. Jesus= reproof evidently aroused Judas= resentment. Injured pride and vindictiveness spurred him on.
D. SATANIC INFLUENCE. For some reason Judas allowed his heart to be Satan=s headquarters. Satan came and went as he desired in Judas= heart.
The Devil knew he had free passage into Jesus= inner group by way of Judas= heart. Satan always had his deputy Judas, the man-devil, as a vantage point from which to shoot his arrows at Christ.
Judas was a devil not in the sense he was something other than human. He was a man, but in him was a capacity for plotting and doing the foulest evil.
Those whose bodies were possessed by demons were only called demoniacs, never devils. But Judas, whose heart was filled by the prince of demons himself, was called a devil. He was almost Satan incarnate.
ASatan entered Judas@ (Luke 22:3a), who volunteered himself to the priests. Judas tempted them. His own initiative in the plot showed the vicious, greedy side of his nature. Rarely has Satan had a more willing instrument.
This brings us to the most solemn question of all. Question three, could this happen to me? Could I do this? Yes, the possibilities of the darkest sin are in each of us, including the sin of treason toward Christ.
Peter had valiantly said, AWe have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!@ (John 6:69). Jesus was not carried away by Peter=s exuberance.
Knowing what was hidden in human hearts, Christ knew what Peter did not know. A devil was in their midst.
Peter saw the visible separation between the faithful Twelve and the unfaithful crowd. He incorrectly assumed all Twelve were righteous because they stayed together with Jesus for the moment.
Jesus was able to see, in addition to the visible separation, an invisible separation. The chaff had been blown away and wheat was left, but even the wheat was mixed with weeds. The Devil always plants weeds among wheat.
There are undoubtedly weeds in this crowd of wheat before me. Some are headed to sin, potential thieves, adulterers, etc. It could happen to me.
No person reaches the lowest extreme of depravity in a single bound. There is progression in evil.
Judas= treachery followed a path of corruption unseen to all but Jesus. Judas reached his sinister climax by slow degrees, by paths we all are capable of treading.