Acts 1:15-20 – “And in those days Simon Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (there were there a number of men, about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16 Men and brethren, it was proper that the scripture should be fulfilled, that which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to them that seized Jesus. 17 For he was numbered with us and had a lot in this ministry. 18 He is the one who earned for himself a field with the price of sin; and falling headlong, he burst open in the midst and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And this very thing is known to all who dwell in Jerusalem; so that the field is called in the language of the country, Kha”kal- De”ma which is to say Ko-ri-ath”dem, the field of blood. 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no one dwell in it; and let his duty be taken by another man.”
Many if not most believers who hear the name of Judas Iscariot think of him as a traitor and he is readily seen as a villain. He betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin for thirty pieces of silver. Our view of him is justified but we tend to forget that he started well.
In American history there was a general in 1776 who led a regiment into Canada (by the time they arrived they were barely alive), they fought bravely at the Battle of Saratoga. This general was placed in command of the fort at West Point and was a trusted warrior. The British in New York seemed in danger, but the tide suddenly turned in their favor when this general sent a message to the British offering to sell West Point for twenty thousand pounds sterling. Imagine that!
Here was a man who saved the American cause at Saratoga and was now willing to betray his country and countrymen. The very country he had risked his life to save, he was now willing to betray America for a pot of gold. Who was this general? General Benedict Arnold. He died branded as a traitor even though he began well.
Why did he do it? That would require much speculation but some of the apparent reasons or excuses were because of a root of bitterness. He was deeply dissatisfied with the American Patriots. He had married a British loyalist. He was deeply in debt and had been reprimanded at a court-martial or misappropriation of government property. There are similarities between him and Judas.
JUDAS HAD WHAT IT TAKES…
Think about it for a moment. Jesus favored him and selected him to be one of the twelve disciples. He was hand-picked by Jesus Himself. That is noteworthy. He was apparently capable of handling money because he was selected as the treasurer of the group. That suggests that he was capable, trusted, and intelligent. He had what it takes to succeed.
Even at the Last Supper when Jesus was asked who it was that would betray him, Judas was not suspected by the others. He had intimate fellowship with Jesus. He had power over the forces of hell, power over disease, and sickness, and could cast out demons. In Matthew 10:1 we read, “AND he called his twelve disciples, and gave them power over the unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.” In verse four we read the name of Judas, so he was part of the band of brothers Jesus had chosen.
The Power of God operated in his life! Remember the words of Jesus in Mark 3:23, “How can satan cast out satan?” Judas began incredibly well. He walked with Jesus.
Also, his name was written in heaven. Before you argue that it was not, I suggest you read Luke 10:20, “But do not rejoice in this that the demons submit to you; but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
Judas was one of the twelve, but He was tempted by the devil, for whatever reason, and lost and left his first love. He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver! I suggest that his fall did not happen overnight or suddenly but was progressive. He began well but did not finish the course. That behooves each of us to carefully consider our walk, our work, our attitude, and our commitment to Jesus. We can overcome, He has empowered us to do so but we must continue in Him.
I want to address this a little more but will pause here and pick this up in the next session.
God bless you as you enjoy your day in Jesus!