Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Judas Principle

Churches around the world are getting ready to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ in a few more weeks. We will all hear the story of Jesus' last moments on our planet. Some pastors will talk about Judas and his betrayal. We will hear many different opinions about Judas as well. Some believe that Judas was never really a follower of Christ. Some believe that Judas was Satan in disguise, and some believe he was a believer who backslide. We all have opinions but what does the bible actually tell us about Judas?

He was prophesied about in the Old Testament but the Old Testament never gives a name. We know now these scriptures pertain to Judas.

Psalm 41:9
(9)  Even my closest friend whom I trusted, the one who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

Zechariah 11:12-13
(12)  Then I said to them, "If it's alright with you, pay me my wages. But if it's not, don't." And they paid me my wages-30 pieces of silver.
(13)  The LORD told me, "Give it to the potter." So I took the 30 pieces of silver. Such a magnificent price was set by them! I gave the pieces of silver to the potter at the house of the LORD.

Was Judas bound to be the person who would betray Jesus from the beginning? What about Judas? Was he ever a Follower of the Lord? Here is one truth. Judas was a believer and follower of Christ at one point during his three years with Jesus. He did miracles like the other Disciples , and he preached the Kingdom of God when Jesus sent the 12 out. People only commit acts of betrayal from truths he or she actually believed in at one point in their life. Betrayals are always done by those who once stood by a person or believed whole heartedly in a belief system.  Judas was a believer. He was a follower of the Messiah, but maybe his view of the Messiah's purpose was distorted. Maybe his personal weaknesses got the best of him. Maybe his relationship with the Lord was more shallow than foundative. Many Christians have a similar walk with the Lord even today.

One thing is certain Judas had a distorted view of who Jesus was. His personal strongholds held him back from going further into the heart of Christ.

John 12:3-8
(3)  Mary took a bottle of very expensive perfume made from pure nard and poured it on Jesus' feet. Then she dried his feet with her hair. The fragrance of the perfume filled the house.
(4)  One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was going to betray him, asked,
(5)  "Why wasn't this perfume sold for a high price and the money given to the poor?"
(6)  (Judas didn't say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the moneybag and carried the contributions.)
(7)  Jesus said to Judas, "Leave her alone! She has done this to prepare me for the day I will be placed in a tomb.
(8)  You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me with you."

Judas was recognized as a thief in this passage. He had went from a follower of Christ to a thief. His desire for worldly possessions began to control his life.  Sin has a way of controlling your life and distorting your belief system. Judas probably thought he was doing right. He probably thought his theology was sound.  Ladies and Gentlemen, most individuals belonging to denominations today would probably have questioned Jesus as well. How many times do we see this happening in churches today? Board members choosing to spend  money on a building instead of helping the needy. Deacons wanting to build a fellowship hall instead of serving their communities. The Judas Principle is still alive in the church today.

Judas had allowed evil to take over his life. Not only was he betraying Jesus but he was betraying himself. The Betrayal started before his kiss on Jesus' cheek in the garden. It started in his heart months earlier. It is a slow fade when you give yourself away. Any believer can find themselves extracted from the truth of God's presence. We are not immune to the enemy's attacks nor from the desires of our flesh. We all could be a Judas of the faith.

John 13:1-2
(1)  Before the Passover festival, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. Jesus loved his own who were in the world, and he loved them to the end.
(2)  While supper was taking place, the devil had already put the idea of betraying Jesus into the mind of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.

I personally believe Satan entered inside of Judas by the means of demonic possession. Judas had left himself open and Satan had to use someone to fulfill his evil plan. Satan wanted Jesus dead long before Jesus made it to the cross. Sometimes we forget we have a true, evil, and powerful enemy who stand against us. He is the deceiver to all men. Our flesh desires what he has to offer and that is why we so easily fall for the temptations. I believe Judas was convinced that he was doing the right thing. His sin took him to a place of self-righteous behavior. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss and pointed him out to those who desired to have Him killed.

John 13:26-30
(26)  Jesus answered, "He's the one to whom I will give this piece of bread after I've dipped it in the sauce." So Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.
(27)  Then, after Judas took the piece of bread, Satan entered him. So Jesus told him, "Hurry! Do what you have to do."
(28)  No one at the table knew why Jesus said this to him.
(29)  Judas had the moneybag. So some thought that Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the festival or to give something to the poor.
(30)  Judas took the piece of bread and immediately went outside. It was night.

Luke 22:47-48
(47)  While he was still speaking to the disciples, a crowd arrived. The man called Judas, one of the twelve apostles, was leading them. He came close to Jesus to kiss him.
(48)  Jesus said to him, "Judas, do you intend to betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"

Judas betrayed Jesus with an identity kiss, and Jesus was hauled off into the night to face His destiny.  Judas received some land and 30 pieces of silver. He sold his soul for perishable trinkets. After Jesus' death, we read that Judas was overwhelmed by his actions. He hung himself.

Mat 27:3-8
(3)  Then Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, regretted what had happened when he saw that Jesus was condemned. He brought the 30 silver coins back to the chief priests and leaders.
(4)  He said, "I've sinned by betraying an innocent man." They replied, "What do we care? That's your problem."
(5)  So he threw the money into the temple, went away, and hanged himself.
(6)  The chief priests took the money and said, "It's not right to put it into the temple treasury, because it's blood money."
(7)  So they decided to use it to buy a potter's field for the burial of strangers.
(8)  That's why that field has been called the Field of Blood ever since.

Judas ended his life and forever was placed in the history books as the betrayer. How did he get to this point? Why did he not just ask for forgiveness? The other apostles betrayed Jesus too. Judas could have asked for forgiveness from Jesus. His mind was so warped by the influence of Satan. The enemy is truly the great manipulator of the human mind.We can learn alot from the Apostle Judas. His story should be a warning to us all.

The Judas Principle.

1.  No foundation: Judas did not allow Jesus to go deeper into his heart and reveal the strongholds in his life. He did not base his relationship with Christ on a good foundation. It was more external than internal.
2.  Lust for worldly things:  Judas desired money and worldly things more than the truth of Christ. He allowed the temptations of world to get the best of him.
3. Man-made doctrine: Judas obviously thought he was doing Jesus a favor by turning Him over to the Pharisees. He did not know the Jewish leaders were going to have him killed. Judas regretted his actions but his personal dogma brought him to a place of betrayal. Man-made doctrine is deceiving many in our churches today. It has replaced the Living Word of God as truth.  We must be careful to not fall for the same trickery.
4. Deception: Judas was completely deceived by his own actions and from Satan's leading. Deception is easy to fall into and hard to get out of.
5. External relationship: On the outside, Judas seemed to be a great follower of Christ. The other Apostles never suspected him as the one who would betray Jesus.  How many " Christians" have an outward appearance of faith but inwardly they are as cold as ice?

The Judas Principle is still alive and well in our churches today.  In fact, a big bulk of Christians have the same heart and same shortcomings as Judas. Unless we repent and turn to the Lord; we will one day betray Him with our selfish actions. If you are leaders, please warn your congregations of this truth.

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