Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve (12) disciples of Jesus Christ. The name Judas is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Judah, which most Hebrew dictionaries define as ”praise” or ”let God be praised”. Judas Iscariot is believed to be from a town in the tribe of southern Judah, as his name ”Iscariot” suggests. ”ISH KERIOTH” which means ”man of kerioth”, is widely believed to be the suggesting factor which indicates the origin of Judas Iscariot. His fathers name was mentioned as Simon (John 6:71), but there were no details about his identity.
Judas Iscariot is well known for the act of betraying Jesus Christ, hence believers and people of the world associate his name with treachery and betrayal. It is also very interesting to note that the name ”Judas” was quite common during the period while Jesus Christ was on earth, as there were several mentions of the name in the New Testament. In the books of Mathew 13:55, Mark 6:3, Luke 3:30, the Bible made reference to a man called Judas, who was one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, while also in the books of Acts 5:37, another Judas (Judas of Galilee) was also referenced as a man who led a revolution and perished in the process. Moreover, in the books of Acts 9:10, the Lord appeared to Ananias in a vision, and in verse 11, he was given direction to proceed to the house of a man called Judas, where Saul was said to be praying after his encounter while travelling to Damascus.
There are several schools of thought which suggests that Judas Iscariot was foreordained to betray Jesus Christ, which invariably means that God created him (Judas Iscariot) to betray Jesus Christ. This school of thought is erroneous and cannot be backed up with scripture. It also suggests that God is partial, and an originator of sin, which is also not true.
However, looking at scriptures, I would like to point out some salient points which were defining factors of the dangerous life lived by Judas Iscariot, and also to point out possible lessons which would deter us from living dangerously.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE LIFE OF JUDAS ISCARIOT?
1. CALLED BUT DID NOT ACCEPT THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST
Some have asked, why would Jesus Christ make a man of questionable character a disciple? Or even have anything to do with a thief, while others have also argued that Jesus Christ allowed him into the fold of disciples because he was foreordained to fulfill the prophecy by betraying Christ.
”I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” ~Luke 5:32 (KJV).
The ministry of Jesus Christ was very clear from the beginning, He came to reconcile men unto the Father (God), by calling them out from their wicked ways.
Jesus Christ preached to a large number of people from various works of life, and His disciples were privileged to be in those meetings. He did not just teach the multitude of people who usually gather to hear Him, but also His disciples. Judas Iscariot was never deprived from the word of God, as he heard frequently from Jesus, but what did he do with the word of God, and why did we not see a change in the nature of Judas Iscariot? This takes me to the parable of the sower. Jesus Christ made mention of a particular case in the parable, which was a spiritual diagnosis of the personality of Judas Iscariot.
”And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up, and choked them” ~ Mathew 13:7 (KJV)
Jesus Christ explained this particular parable (Mathew 13:7),as thus;
”He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” ~Mathew 13:22 (KJV).
Judas Iscariot received the word of God as others did, but something in his life choked the word of God that he received, hence it was of no effect in his life.
But someone might also say, but prophesy had to be fulfilled… Yes prophesy had to be fulfilled, but it could have been someone else, if Judas had accepted the word of God.
”The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born” ~ Mathew 26:24 (KJV).
However, it will be scripturally wrong to say that Judas Iscariot was foreordained to betray Jesus Christ.
2. PLACED MONEY OVER HIS CALL AS A DISCIPLE
It is a great privilege to be called, and a more prestigious privilege to be chosen. Judas Iscariot had the privilege of making the list of the twelve (12) disciples of Christ irrespective of his treacherous nature. This has a lot to say about the ministry of Jesus, and the love of the Father (God) for sinners or the lost sheep’s.
”I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” ~Luke 5:32 (KJV).
God had a plan for Judas Iscariot, as being called to be one of the disciples of Christ, but his cares for the things of this world led him into stealing that choked the word of God he received. He was more concerned about what he could get out of the purse (as he was the treasurer), than focussing on the call of God for his life. Judas Iscariot was ready to make money out of everything, hence of all the disciples of Christ, he was the only one that suggested that the expensive perfume be sold to carter for the poor (John 12:4 -5). The bible tells in John 12:6, that he cared not for the poor, but was more concerned of the money in the bag, because he was a thief, as he regularly helps himself with the content of the bag.
I have heard several people say ” It is the devils handwork” , when shame and disgrace has set in, consequent from the results of an unchecked sinful character, but let us be clear about this, an unchecked sinful nature or character is a key that opens the door of a persons life to the devil.
The promotion of a sinful nature or character is an invitation card for the devil.
satan was able to penetrate the life of Judas Iscariot, because he had already built a foundation for him (Satan) to operate. Judas knew fully well that the chief priest and scribes sought how they might kill Jesus Christ (Luke 22:2), and being who he is, the devil consolidated on the foundation that Judas Iscariot had already built for him (Satan) to finish the job (Luke 22:3).
Judas Iscariot eventually betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty (30) pieces of silver (Mathew 26:15).
3. WASHED BUT NOT CLEANSED
”He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all, For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean” ~ Mathew 13:10-11 (KJV).
The washing of the disciples feet by Jesus Christ was more than just a lesson of service and humility, but a spiritual sanctification and an introduction into the body of Christ. Peter saith unto him, thou shalt never wash my feet, then Jesus answered, if I wash thee not, thou has no part with me – John 13:8. Then Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord not my feet only, but also my hands and my head – John 13:9, then Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needed not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit, and ye are clean, but not all – John 13:10.
In the book of Mathew 23:25, Jesus Christ accused the Pharisees of hypocrisy, because they were only concerned about making the exterior of the vessel clean, while they neglected the interior of the vessel.
”Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” ~ Mathew 23:25 (KJV).
Salvation is a message preached to all without exception, that all may experience the love of God through Jesus Christ, by accepting Him (Jesus Christ) into our lives, that the inner contents of our vessels be transformed from darkness to light.
…..But what happens if we refuse to accept the message of Christ (Salvation), or we just listen to the message and not act upon it, can we be cleansed? The answer is No! We may be washed but not cleansed. Every believer and unbeliever should take a minute to ponder on this statement….”we may be washed but not cleansed”.
Judas Iscariot did not accept the message of Jesus Christ, because if he did, he would have changed his old ways, but he continued in his old path, which eventually led him to betray Jesus Christ.
Though Judas Iscariot’s feet was washed by Jesus Christ, he was not cleansed like the other disciples, hence had no part with Jesus Christ or the body of Christ. The washing of his feet by Jesus Christ was a mere ceremonial action than spiritual.
”For he knew who should betray him, therefore said he, Ye are not all clean” ~ John 13:10 (KJV).
God bless you.