-THE SON OF HELL-
Judas' name means "Praise of the Lord" and Iscariot is an Aramaic word which means "man of Kerioth". Judas was from the district of Kerioth, a town 12 miles south of Hebron; his father was Simon. He was the only disciple from Southern Judea and it is believed he belonged to the tribe of Judah.
Judas Iscariot was attracted by the preaching of John The Baptist towards Messianic hopes. His own motives were mingled with his personal beliefs and zeal.
Little is known about the life of Judas before he made his appearance among Christ's followers. He had ambitions to play an important and lucrative part in the coming of a Messianic Kingdom. Judas is always mentioned last amongst the list of disciples because of his role as betrayer.
Ambitious Judas, like several other disciples believed that Jesus the Messiah would set up an earthly Kingdom, in which he could see himself as influential.
Judas was the only non-Galilean chosen by Jesus to be as one of the twelve disciples, a distinguished company who were witness to Jesus' private teachings and given authority to heal the sick and cast out demons. He was an original apostle and apparently because of his business ability, acted as treasurer for the disciples. He filled one of the highest offices in Christ's Church. He also had worldly business connections.
At the beginning, Judas possibly followed Jesus with some sincerity but weakly yielded to the temptation of covetousness while handling the group's money. It was evident that Jesus knew from the beginning what Judas would do and what his character was, but like the others he was given opportunities to develop insight and integrity. As he handled the finances of the company, he enjoyed a measure of confidence. Being an early follower of Christ, he had professed Christ before both the secular and religious worlds.
Externally, Judas was a consistent servant of Christ, but was a hypocrite, selfish and hollow-hearted. Thinking only of self-gain, his heart was full of lies and deceit. Matt 27:35, Matt 8, John 6:66-70, 12:3. He was treacherous and wicked. Jesus had called Judas the devil. His weakness for greed and self-centredness continually overpowered him.
Sin gains momentum.
Judas consistently misused his position as treasurer for the elite band, despite his high credentials for commercial and business ability, and became known as a miser and a thief (John 12:5-6). His own gift he turned into his own curse.
It is not enough to be just familiar with Jesus and His teachings, believers have a choice to be committed followers or uncommitted pretenders.
After three and half years of ministry, Jesus and His disciples arrived at Bethany six days before the Passover Celebrations and stayed His final week there. A banquet was prepared in Jesus' honour, and Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed His head and feet with costly perfume, the equivalent to a man's yearly salary. The fragrance filled the room. Some disciples, especially Judas Iscariot, being the group's treasurer, thought that Mary's gesture was a wasted expense and disapproved with what she had done and argued that the money could have gone to the poor. Jesus spoke out that this performance was done in preparation for His Burial and predicted that her act would be remembered and preached throughout the world.
Judas' indignation over a waste of money regarding the perfume poured upon Jesus' by Mary, was out of his greed. His pretended zeal for the poor was really covetousness and he was known to steal the money given to help others, by followers of Jesus. Jesus was not deceived.
Judas soon realised that his desire for status in Jesus' Kingdom, which was spiritual and not earthly, would not be realised.
Wrong motives and plans leave people open to be used by Satan for greater evil; The consequences of any type of evil are devastating no matter how small the wrong doing may be. Judas was linked with the devil, and his life is an example of how sin does its work with the presence of Satan in the background.
Because Judas had considered the costly perfume a waste upon Jesus, he went to the Chief Priests during the week of the Passover Festival and offered to betray Jesus for a reward. It was total hypocrisy by the priests during the celebration time of the Exodus Passover Lamb (the saving of the firstborn) that they were looking for a way to remove Jesus, and plotting His death, who was God's Personal Passover Lamb gift and His firstborn.
Disappointed Judas expected a political Messiah who would free Israel from The Roman Empire and wanted to force Jesus into this position, also his desire for money was an incentive to betray Jesus.
Judas Iscariot, driven by the love of money went to the Chief Priests and made arrangements for Jesus to be handed over to them for the reward of thirty silver coins, fulfilling Psalms, 41:9. 55:13,14, Zechariah 11:12. The thirty pieces of silver, equal to the payment of a day's work, was the price of a slave and an insult, but the significance of silver was that it is used for redemption (liberation, rescue and freedom). He purposely pre- planned to betray and cheaply sell his friend, teacher, Lord and Master. This was the criminal climax of his career of iniquity.
The high leadership of the Jewish religious assembly were open to Judas and was pleased about the situation. Judas, being an insider would be the one answerable for their own action for the arrest of Jesus. They allowed Judas to nominate the appropriate time and place for the arrest.
Jesus' final night began by sharing a meal, The Last Supper with His disciples, which continued on to be The Lord's Supper. Judas was present, the man who would be the betrayer of Christ was at the table with the others.
During the banquet Jesus predicted his betrayal (Luke 22:21; Matt. 26:20-21). He quoted King David's Psalm 41: 9 to describe His betrayal by a close associate. He also quoted Zechariah 13:7 as a reference to Himself and His disciples. He knew before hand that all His disciples would scatter when He was arrested and killed, but first He would be betrayed by one of His friends, one who Christ considered privileged, telling him all, one who had been always near at hand with Jesus and the other disciples for over three years.
Jesus announced He knew His betrayer, the one who dipped his hand in the dish, the one to whom He would give the piece of bread. Jesus identified His betrayer as He handed Judas the bread. An Eastern custom of sharing the same bread was a sign of faithfulness and loyalty on behalf of the recipient, meaning, 'I am your friend and I will not hurt you'. Even after the treacherous deal was executed Judas still falsely called Jesus friend.
A wound from a friend hurts. Jesus did pick Judas personally and knew that he was of the devil. Jesus quoted the Psalm specifically regarding to Judas, a companion who had shared bread with Him. Their friendship also was witnessed in public and in worshipping God, The Father. A friendship that ended in rejection and betrayal.
Judas's act was more despicable by the fact that he continued to eat together with Jesus after the payment arrangement. The act of betrayal was not the outcome of a sudden impulse at The Last Supper, it was planned with the priests beforehand. The Chief priests had been involved in paying Judas to hand Jesus over to them. Jesus had known this from the beginning.
When Jesus spoke of dying, Judas by His own choice allowed himself to surrender to Satan. Because of anger and disappointment, Judas allowed his selfish desires to place him in a position where Satan could easily manipulate him. Satan entered Judas to have his way and not God's way and directed and influenced Judas' activities. The rest of The Supper and discourse was celebrated without Judas. He slipped away to the Chief Priests and made arrangements for the time of Jesus' arrest.
The disciple Peter was told by Jesus that he would deny that he ever knew Him, three times before the next day. Jesus announced that His Blood and His Body would institute the long promised New Covenant which was prophesied by Jeremiah 31:31-34.
The patience of Christ was with Judas throughout His years of ministry, knowing the so- called disciple would be a traitor to Him. Judas had tried to force Jesus into a revolution against Rome and had received the reward money. He was given a contingent of Jewish Temple police as well as some Roman soldiers in order to seize Jesus and bring Him before the religious court for trial. The priests had issued the warrant for Jesus' arrest.
Judas had told the Temple guards to arrest the man he greeted. Judas pointed out Christ, not because He was hard to recognise but because Judas agreed to be the formal accuser in a trial. Judas led the arresting party to one of Jesus' prayer retreats where no one would interfere with the arrest. He led a band of young priests, temple guards and soldiers, all who were carrying swords and clubs to arrest Jesus in the Garden, an olive grove, late at night and by a pre-arranged sign of a friendly greeting kiss, Judas singled out Jesus.
Jesus was hated for no reason. To experience such disfavour for no cause hurts emotionally, and Jesus did suffer emotional and mental misery because of unprovoked merciless attacks and by false rumours spread about Him amongst the Officials.
Jesus Himself knew Judas to be deceitful and treacherous. He knew of his criminal acts and confidences with The Jerusalem Temple priests, which had culminated in the betrayal of The Messiah. Jesus mentioned the loss of Judas in His Highly Priestly Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest. "I have kept all except the one doomed for destruction." John 17:12
Judas betrayed Jesus for personal gain, through a bargain, and coldly carried it out with the symbol of love and faithfulness, a kiss. It was Satan's attempt to make Jesus display His powers improperly. Judas showed his wicked heart in his crime when he gave the enemies of Christ his acknowledgement of betrayal by a deceitful kiss.
All these events happened because Jesus allowed them to happen. Jesus had chosen Judas to be His disciple and the other disciples, who also abandoned Him. They had all shown a misunderstanding of Jesus' mission, but they sought Him for their forgiveness.
Jesus, at dawn was condemned guilty and understanding that His life was in danger, Judas realised that he had been a traitor to Jesus, who was innocent. Jesus was not going to take control politically. Able to recognise the evil of his deception, he regretted his deed and was left with a deep sense of dishonour and threw the money on The Temple floor, giving it back to the priests.
The priests decided to buy a potter's field with the money for 'blood money', which was the silver that Judas returned, was not allowed to be used by the Temple Treasury, so they unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 11:13, by acquiring a potter's field in Judas' name (Matt. 27:3-10; Acts 1:18-19). The potter's field had been used for a dump for broken pottery. This piece of land was called The Field of Blood.
Instead of begging God's forgiveness for being disloyal, Judas killed himself. He knew he could not undo the evil that he had done, it was too late. He died in sorrow but without repentance. His death on the Potter's field was that (Matt 27) work of suicide, probably half accomplished when Judas fell resulting in the spilling open of his body.
Judas did not repent but was remorseful, he felt sorry for himself; his plan in betraying Christ had failed. He presumed Christ would use His miraculous power to save Himself and declare Himself King when in the crisis of facing danger and death. It seems probable Judas was impatient with Christ, who to Judas had powers so great but yet had not use them for worldly advantage.
Sincere sorrow and bitter remorse (for himself) is not repentance towards God. He returned to the Temple priests with deep feelings and emotions affecting his whole being and testified to Christ's innocence and his own guilt, who should have helped him when Judas admitted that he had sinned but they too had rejected their Saviour, they also had rejected their role as priests.
Having sold his Saviour, his end was hopeless, not that he committed anything unpardonable, but instead of fleeing to his Deliverer for forgiveness and mercy, he guiltily went unpardoned. Though he returned the ill-gotten thirty pieces of silver, he prayed not. He made no appeal to God or Christ, thus having no faith or any hope.
No one excommunicated Judas, he went out of fellowship of his own accord. Judas left a vacancy, a position that had to be filled. Another disciple, Matthias, who had also been with Jesus from the beginning was elected to take Judas' place. The Apostles quoted Psalm 109:8 in referring to the choosing another apostle.
The insincere today deny Christ's love and teachings on how to live, as they choose to do otherwise.
Many have pitied Judas for not realising what he was doing and many agree with his action to end Jesus' earthly mission as prophesied. He, by his own choice, willingly betrayed God's Son into the hands of the enemy. Jesus knew that Judas' selfish heart of evil would not change.
Although the betrayal of Jesus was part of God's Sovereign plan, Judas was not a puppet of God's will, he made a choice. God knew what that choice would be and it was confirmed by Jesus.
Judas did the most darkest deed, a horrible, diabolical crime. Judas himself, as a person, made the worst decision and mistake in human history.
Judas was not coerced against his will. God is not the author of sin, and His purposes are never thwarted. Judas' terrible crime was predicted, the bargain for thirty pieces of silver was foretold.
The Son of perdition, doomed to destruction, The Man of Sin as recorded in 2 Thess, 2:3 will be like Judas also doomed to destruction.
For three and half years the other close disciples of Jesus accepted Judas as a member of their community. A believer may deny Jesus, as Peter did and repent, but a sincere believer will never engage a full scale defection such as Judas. It is a decision of the heart, which is an attitude that cannot be read from the outside.
Faithful believers should check their choices and behaviour, especially any in secret or high positions of authority. Others are always injured by betrayal; it is human nature at its worst.
Disciples today can learn lessons from the characters of the certain types of people who are portrayed in The Bible. Judas is the example of 'the insider' who is really not an insider at all but stood with the priests opposed to Jesus. Judas' life teaches believers to beware of hypocrisy, deceitfulness, the hardening influences of sin, covetousness, despondency.
Judas became the devil's tool and was called the 'son of hell', belonging to the realm of damnation. He was never saved, he never had a committed relationship to Jesus.
Salvation is for those who believe in and trust Jesus to the end.
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