“’What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they weighed our 30 pieces of silver for him”
Matthew 26:15 (HCSB)
As Passion Week unfolds the whole city of Jerusalem is in turmoil over this man called Jesus. Who is He? Where did He come from? How does He work his miracles? And the greatest question—Is He really the promised Messiah, as some say?
Meanwhile, the religious leaders bide their time, looking for an opportunity to arrest Him. Filled with hatred and envy, they have already decided Jesus must die. Getting rid of Jesus would keep the peace and also rid them of a man they cannot control and cannot defeat.
But how will they do it?
Enter Judas, the most mysterious of all the disciples of Jesus.
Let’s focus for a moment on Judas. Consider his experience leading up to his betrayal. When we study the four gospels, we find a remarkable series of facts about Judas:
He was personally chosen to be an apostle by Jesus Christ.
He forsook all to follow the Lord.
He spent 3 1/2 years traveling the length and breadth of Israel with Christ.
He saw all the miracles of Christ in person.
He heard Christ give His famous discourses.
He watched as Christ healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons.
He was sent out to preach the gospel along with the other apostles. He was one of the leaders of the apostolic band. No one ever suspected him of treason.
Everywhere they went, He also went. He was right there, always by the side of Jesus. He heard it all, saw it all, experienced it all. However, you explain his defection, you cannot say he was less experienced than the other apostles.
He heard it all.
He saw it all.
He walked with Christ every day.
He was one of Jesus’ handpicked men.
He knew the Son of God personally.
Add one other fact. No one ever suspected him. As late as the Last Supper, when Jesus predicted someone would betray Him, no one pointed at Judas and said, “He’s a traitor.”
Is Judas alive today? No, but his spirit still lives in all those who play the religious game. It lives in those who come to church for what they can get out of it. It lives in all those who are pretending a commitment to Jesus Christ that isn’t real in their hearts. It lives in all those who just go through the Christian motions. It lives in those who come to church, give their money, follow the rules, and yet don’t love the Lord Jesus.
What he did, I could do. If I think otherwise, then I have missed the point of this story. Judas is a lot like us and we’re a lot like him. In fact, the more religious we are, the more like Judas we are. After all, you can’t get much more religious than being an apostle. He was as “in” as any person could ever be.
We should all take a solemn lesson from Judas. Don’t leave the door open for Satan to enter your heart. Please don’t say it could never happen to you. We all say that just before we fall.