Judas is a man I think we tend to hate, or at least would like to avoid with a wide range of feelings, considering him a traitor.
After all, he is the one who betrayed Jesus, selling him out for thirty pieces of silver but Jesus loved him.
Judas was the treasurer of the Jesus of Nazareth Evangelistic Organization.
Before we go any further, I want to lay a foundation that might give you a better understanding of some of the bible terms we often use, without knowing all their significance.
According to common custom, the names of some of Jesus’ disciples were associated with their fathers, such as-
Judas is a bit of an enigma. He is often called Judas Iscariot and we are uncertain of the reason.
Such detail is important, but often overlooked. The more likely reason for the use of Iscariot is that it could mean lie, man of the lie, liar and dagger- bearer.
Would you choose such a person for a strategic role, knowing that he was a cheat, a liar and one who would stab you in the back?
Scriptures tell us-
They did not have such things. They walked dusty unsealed roads and tracks in the open with sandaled feet. The paths they took were often shared with animals and I need not share more about that, so their feet would have been dirty to say the least, so this might not have been a pleasant task at all, yet Jesus did it, even to a man who was already plotting against him.
Let us see the full account.
I pondered over Jesus’ reply. Let us see the first part-
“One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “doesn’t need to wash anything except his feet” John 13:10-11
When you or I take a shower, we are clean all over. After we have bathed, our feet are clean—just as clean as the rest of our bodies, but the Lord said that even after we have bathed, we still need to make sure our feet are clean. “What does this mean?”
I thought about this when suddenly the Lord poked me in the ribs and said that our feet take us on our journey in life. It speaks of our way of life. If this is true, then when we come to Jesus and are born again, we are washed in the precious blood of Jesus and are clean indeed, but...
We can be born again but still think like aliens, or as Paul said, be at enmity with God in our thinking processes according to Romans 8:7. Actually there are some 39 references to this topic in Paul’s epistles, so it is important.
Judas never did that! Judas started well, and preached with the others on their assignments. He would have seen miracles and returned with the others as seen for example in Luke 10. He would have distributed the fish and loaves of bread with the others when Jesus fed the multitudes. He would have seen Peter walk on water to the Lord. He would have seen Lazarus walk out of the tomb, but he never kept his feet clean.
He knew that Judas would betray Him, but still washed his feet. Why? Why would the Lord even choose such a man, knowing such things? The Lord needed a traitor! I shall come back to this later, but let us continue.
The Last Supper has been depicted by the arts and religious tradition, picturing Jesus sitting in the middle of a single long table. This might not be accurate. It is more likely to have been a U-shaped table, with the Lord indeed sitting in the middle, with John at one side and Judas on the other! I say this carefully. When He told them that one of them would betray Him the disciples ooked at each other in wonderment—except for two—John and Judas.
It was Passover, so the meal would have been roast lamb, with accompanying items. Jews today follow similar lines. My Passover Haggadah (order of service) comprises three plates. On one is three Matzoth (bread). In another is a shank bone and a boiled egg, some horse radish (bitter herbs) and either celery or parsley and a compound called Haroseth of nuts, fruits and wine. Vinegar or salt water is on the third. The egg, shank bone, bitter herbs, parsley and haroseth is on the Seder Plate.
Jesus made this declaration when they were dining and it startled them.
Peter asked John to ask Jesus who it was and as John was reclining next to Jesus (leaning on His breast), all John had to do was ask. Why didn’t Peter ask Him directly? Why didn’t Mathew or the others ask?
I put it to you that it was Judas and this is why.
All the disciples except John and possibly Judas wondered who it was. Peter didn’t know. He asked John to ask Jesus and when the Lord answered, he said that the one to whom He gave the sop was the one.
Now, this poses a problem. What is a sop?
This is a small mouthful of food coming from the Greek word psōmion that is a crumb or a small portion that is rubbed off something. They were Jews, so followed the instructions given them by God back in Exodus chapter twelve.
To give this to Judas without it breaking up meant that Judas had to be very close. Remember that they were all reclining at table. Now if Judas managed the finances, it is logical that he would have been close both in relationship and in proximity. In Matthew’s account (Matthew 26:2) it states that Jesus said that the one who dipped his hand with Him in the dish was the betrayer. You’ve got to be close to do that.
They assumed one thing correctly however in that Judas handled their finances, but he was a cheat. It is believed that he mishandled money and was looking for a way to restore what he had stolen, possibly worth 30 pieces of silver before anyone discovered it. He now had a golden opportunity to restore things before things before being caught out and went to the priests to negotiate the amount. He had been working to a plan and Jesus gave him the way to execute it.
Did Jesus make a mistake in picking Judas? Certainly not. When He started His ministry, He chose men, just in the same way He picks and choses men today (no gender implied). The core qualities He is looking for is not ability but avail-ability. Ability, gifts and talents come along the way as the anointing comes. That’s what it is for. Jesus saw men who were available and simply told them, “Follow Me”. He still says the same things today and it is really that simple.
Early in His ministry, Jesus chose men who were no different to you and me. In Matthew 10, we see that He called his disciples and gave the authority to do what He did.
In that account, Matthew included Judas Iscariot adding, “who also betrayeth Him”. Judas was handpicked for a specific role and it was crucial for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Without Judas, Calvary may never have happened!
When you and I pick someone for a task, we often make our choices depending on personality traits, talents and abilities, education, training and qualifications. We can pick those who appeal to us touch our hearts.
Jesus picked those men for what they had to offer Him and He also picked a scoundrel who would steal from the bank account and give the devil a legal foothold to infiltrate his life thinking he could kill off the ministry and cause what he thought was happening from happening.
Pause for a moment and think that the devil, despite all his evil and venom, did the will of God. He had no choice really. Imagine that.
So the Lord had a collection of all kinds of people working with Him. We usually think about serving Him or working for Him but we are co-workers with Him. This is not negating His Kingly reign and all that is associated with it. He is still God, but in a mysterious way we rule and reign with Him in life and we in essence take him with us when we minister on His behalf.
What is he like? Well, we know that he pilfered money. Such people are still with us.
Some church tradition teaches that there were only 12 believers, but we see here that there were 120.
Please do not misunderstand what I am about to say, but in a sense may also need our own “Judas”.
Hard as that may sound, we do not want a Peter to challenge our mission or a Peter to deny us when we need someone to stand with us when necessary, even if only to say, “I believe in you.”
You might be called to be a “Joseph” but Joseph was betrayed by his own brethren and went through hell on earth before God promoted him and his prophetic destiny was fulfilled.
We do not necessarily immediately go straight into our ultimate ministry, but go by way of testing, refining, opposition, disappointment, opportunities to prove God—and betrayal just as much as the good times and highs we like. Sometimes we have to go into the crucible to refine us.
A goldsmith refines gold by melting it and as the dross rises to the surface, skims it off and plunges the gold back into the furnace to repeat the process. He knows the gold is pure, when he can look down at it and see his own reflection. I am not advocating that we have to go through all that stuff, but if and when we do, we need to realize what is happening. Sometimes we fight against that and miss out on what God is really wanting to do in our lives.
I want you to know that God can bless you in the most unlikely ways in the most adverse situations or in the worst of relationships. We can be and sometimes are betrayed, by those we thought we could rely on. Sadly, it seems that the ones who hurt us most are fellow believers or co-workers. We are hurt more because we expect them to understand, know better and be supportive.
A Judas could be “used by God” to make you keep digging until you find that. We can be wounded or betrayed by someone we allowed to have too much liberty in our lives. We could have a great vision and think that everyone else will be happy for us and shoot our mouths off prematurely or with the wrong people (a Judas) and inevitably be hurt in the process. The dream or vision is OK, but in our keenness and excitement talk to someone who will not like it or misunderstand it. There are times when we just do not have the full picture, so until then—Shhh!
I think that by now you will know that a challenge or a setback is not the end of the story. It could be an opportunity to put the things of God to the test by applying the principles and see what God does.