Judas is an example of what happens to those who put themselves on the throne of their own lives. This man spent a few years walking with Jesus, but that did not make him faithful or a true worshipper. He was in it for what he could get for himself, particularly money.
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. (John 12:3–6)
Whatever he stole out of the moneybag wasn’t enough. As the priests grew in antagonism toward Jesus, Judas saw another opportunity for personal gain.
Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. (Matthew 26:14–16)
The betrayal was also filled with hypocrisy. As if walking with Jesus to have access to money was not bad enough, his signal to identify Jesus to the arresting soldiers was a greeting of affection, a kiss.
While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47–48)
With self on the throne, Judas did the unthinkable, but he realized his sin. As recorded in yesterday’s post, Paul points out that idols and demons are partners. This is shown in Judas. Not only had the idol of self taken possession of him, but this idolatry opened the door to far worse . . .
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd. (Luke 22:1–6)
Years ago in a class on missions, one of the students asked if Christians could be demon possessed. The experienced missionary who taught the class said that if a Christian sins, we can confess our sin and escape the power of evil forces. However, if we keep sinning there is a point where we lose control and need help to be rid of such evil influences.
For Judas, Satan had entered him. Some say he was not a Christian in the first place, and he likely wasn’t, but he wound up with no power to rid himself of the idolatry that had taken control of his life.
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3–5)
The self that he had idolized was so demanding that it became impossible to deny. He could not live with the monster that he had nurtured so he hanged the self that he had put up on a terrible pedestal, dying without true repentance.
This is a huge warning to me or anyone who puts themselves first instead of serving others. Without repentance, the enemy, who is a liar and a destroyer, eventually could make this idol become an uncontrollable force that self-destructs.