Acts 1:15-20 – “And at this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 “For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead be made desolate, And let no man dwell in it’; and, ‘His office let another man take.’” NASB
Almost immediately upon hearing the name Judas Iscariot or Benedict Arnold, the word traitor, comes to mind. Judas is easily seen as a villain as we are reminded that he sold our LORD to the chief priest for 30 pieces of silver. He is, but it would serve us well to remember how he began.
In our own American history, there was a general in 1776 who led a regiment into Canada. It is reported that by the time they arrived they were barely alive and still they fought bravely at the Battle of Saratoga. This general was placed in command of the fort at West Point. The British forces in New York seemed to be in peril but suddenly their fortunes turned when this general sent a secret message offering to sell West Point for 20,000 pounds.
Imagine that! A man that had saved the America cause at Saratoga, now willing to sell out the country he had risked his life for. Benedict Arnold died a traitor even though he began so well. What was the root of is fall into disgrace? It is reported that he was extremely dissatisfied with the American patriots. He married a loyalist and her influence was immeasurable. He was deeply in debt and had been reprimanded at a court-martial for misappropriation of government property. He began well but allowed the little foxes to spoil his promising vine.
JUDAS HAD WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED…
He was a man greatly favored. I say that without reservation because he was handpicked by Jesus as one of the twelve apostles. He was given the responsibility of handling the team’s money. He was apparently respected and trusted by the group. It appears that he was intelligent and capable. In fact, he was not even suspected by the others when Jesus announced that one would betray our Lord.
Judas had intimate fellowship and a close association with Jesus. He had exercised, along with the others, power over the forces of darkness, healed the sick and cast out devils. I can state that as a fact because of Matthew 10:1 – “And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Judas had experienced the power of God in his life. Before anyone insists that he was a tool of the devil from the beginning we must remember the words of Jesus in Mark 3:23 – “How can Satan cast out Satan?”
This will be a sticking point for some but Luke 10:20 indicates that his name was written in heaven. Luke 10:17-20 – “And the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. 20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
Judas did not fall overnight and become the traitor he became. It was little by little and the Bible calls him a thief. Money was certainly a factor. Envy may have been as well. Possibly, he thought Jesus was moving too slow in establishing his kingdom and Judas’ thirst for power and prominence prevailed. Whatever caused him to turn back from his devotion to Jesus resulted in his destruction. His plight should be a warning to all that we need to ‘guard our hearts’ carefully and give no place to the devil.
I want to address this a little further and will address this more fully in the next devotional.
God bless you and may you have a fantastic day in Jesus!