“Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9, NKJV)
The story of Judas Iscariot is one of the saddest in the Bible. More than 2,000 years later, his name is still synonymous with betrayal. The term “Judas kiss” has come to mean “a traitorous action disguised as a show of affection” (thefreedictionary.com). He turned what was typically a kiss of respect into an act of betrayal.
We know little of the man personally. We do know his father’s name was Simon, and the family was probably from the town of Kerioth. We do not know Judas’s marital status, his occupation before becoming a disciple, his political views, or other facts that would give us a sense of who he was. We can only guess at the motivations that changed him from disciple to betrayer. The Bible is silent on these details.
When Jesus began His public ministry, many followed Him. Scripture mentions women, both named and unnamed, who followed His ministry and even supported Him financially (Luke 8:3). We also read of the seventy that He sent “two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1, NKJV). But those closest to Jesus were the twelve disciples. He gave them spiritual authority to preach, cast out unclean spirits, and heal the sick.
- “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” (Matthew 10:1, NKJV)
- “Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.” (Mark 3:14, NKJV)
From the above verses, it seems Judas, as one of the twelve, was actively involved in the ministry of Jesus. So what happened? And when? Did he believe at first and then become disillusioned? When did he begin taking money from the common purse (John 12:6) or was he always a thief? The other disciples did not seem to notice anything unusual in his behavior. On the surface, he was “one of them.” We will never know the full story of his downfall. But one thing is evident. At some point, Satan manipulated Judas’s area of weakness to lead him into this traitorous act (Luke 22:3-4). Judas made the choice to betray Jesus, one he later regretted. Although he later felt remorse, he never sought forgiveness.
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it.” (Matthew 27:3-4, NKJV)
If there is a lesson to be learned from the story of Judas, it is to guard our hearts. To be alert. To keep our motives pure. We must never allow Satan an entry point that can then lead us into forbidden areas we never dreamed we would go. And if we do fall into sin, we must move beyond remorse to embrace repentance. There is a way back to the Lord.
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)