When unbelievers tell the Jesus story they are drawn to the character of Judas.
Actors would much rather portray the character of Judas than that of Jesus. Who knows how to play the Son of God? Every competent actor knows how to play Judas—he is much more like us. In some unbelieving films, Judas is the only sane one in the bunch, perhaps even the real hero.

He was one of the Twelve.
For believers, Judas is an anomaly, the exception to the rule, an enigmatic figure of unknown motivations and mysterious behavior, from his betrayal of Jesus to his suicide. What can we learn from the story of Judas?

Mark, as is his custom, is sparse with details. In two verses he introduces this man of the Twelve who would play such a pivotal role in the redemption story. Perhaps the most important thing to note is the clear statement that Judas was one of the Twelve. He was a member in full standing. Some say he was the treasurer of the group. When Jesus sent the men out to minister in His name in small teams, Judas was on one of the teams. He healed the sick and drove out demons in Jesus’ name just as did the others. Judas saw the bits of food multiply in his hands as he fed the multitude on two different occasions. He heard the teachings of Jesus. No doubt he participated in the discussions of the meanings of those teachings. He was standing close by when Jesus did all the marvelous things He did. He was an eyewitness to the mastery of Jesus over the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and priests and to his tenderness with those who came to Him in faith. He, along with the other eleven, experienced Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Judas and the Chief Priests
What was Judas thinking? No one knows although many have speculated. Mark gives us no clue, Judas

“…went to the chief priests to betray Him to them.”

Mark gives no motivation for Judas’ actions and there is little to be gained from speculating on this. We must be content at this point with Mark’s report. We can note the irony of pleasing the enemies of Christ and grieving the Lord Himself.

What can we learn from Judas?
Starting is one thing while finishing is another. Judas probably obtained a position of leadership among the Twelve since he was treasurer of the ministry. Are we capable of answering the call of the Lord on our lives and then turning on Him at the end? While this is unthinkable and impossible it seems, this is what happened to Judas. How sad the report of the Evangelist,

And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money.

Judas responded to their joy by seeking some moment when He could betray the Lord “conveniently.” Whatever his motive, Judas did what he did. It brings sadness to us now to consider it, sadness and a warning.

Mark 14: 10-11
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.

Lord Jesus, I want to always be faithful to You. The kiss of my worship will always be one of love and never one of betrayal. I cannot imagine the deeds of Judas but I know that only You know what was in his heart. You also know the contents of my heart, even the deep things and the hidden things I don’t even know about myself. O Refiner’s Fire and Launderer’s Soap, cleanse my heart from any dark thing lurking there that would ever cause me to betray You. O Lord, Cleanse me! Amen.

Silver and Gold
Words and Music: Jimmy and Carol Owens

Here is the money you paid for my kiss.
I must have been out of my mind.
See I have sold you an innocent man
And you knew it all of the time.

Silver and gold I gained in exchange for my soul.
Silver and gold I gained in exchange for my soul.

The devil came in through the door of my greed
And swept through my head like a flood.
He told me that riches were better than love
And filled up my pockets with blood.

Silver and gold I gained in exchange for my soul.
Silver and gold I gained in exchange for my soul.

Forever the blame. Forever the shame.
Judas! Judas is my name!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

4 thoughts on “February 20 “Judas”

  1. Great post. Thanks!
    Peter also betrayed Jesus in his denials. Both seemed to feel some sort of remorse, but Peter sought forgiveness. Judas did not. I think, then, metaphorically Peter has become the model of redemption and Judas the model for unrepentant. I agree that speculation on motives is not necessary. The lesson is what the lesson has been throughout the entirety of the written Word … the wages of sin are death,


    1. Thanks, Tim. This one was a challenge to write. Mark gives so few details and I tried to stay away from the information in the other gospels. such a sad story. You will be blessed by Peter’s story in a few days. Keep reading and commenting!


      Liked by 1 person

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