I don’t know about you, but the story of Judas has always given me chills. How can a man spend three years with God Incarnate, betray him, and then kill himself? We don’t know a whole lot about Judas, except that he was born in a Judean city, when all of the other disciples were Galileans; the Bible doesn’t mention his age or any of his family members except the name of his father. Researching Judas Iscariot seems to add confusion instead of clarity, as many worldly scholars put their own twist on him instead of focusing on what’s Biblical.
Did he ever believe in Jesus? I believe he did; not as his Savior, but possibly as God. Why else leave all to follow him? If something didn’t stir in his heart when Jesus reached to him, why wouldn’t he just brush him off and go on with whatever he was doing? We are told of many disciples, or followers, of Christ who desired to follow Jesus but had other things they wanted to do first, and Jesus left them to it. Surely Judas must have wanted to join Christ, if he was willing to simply leave his life to roam about with Jesus and these other men with no actual place to live, relying on this man to take care of him.
He spent three years closely connected with Christ’s earthly ministry, witnessing every miracle, hearing every word, even at one point going with the other disciples in groups of two to preach repentance, cast out devils, and heal the sick, Mark 6:7-13. How is it possible to so actively participate in God’s work and still go astray? I believe there were three main steps that Judas took away from Christ for that to happen:
1. Judas closed his physical eyes to the miracles of Christ.
2. Judas closed his spiritual ears to the voice of God.
3. Judas opened his heart to sin.
These are all things that we as Christ’s redeemed should guard against, if we don’t want to end up like Judas, betraying the One we started out serving. We may not lose our souls, but we can certainly live a life that is pointless and affect the salvation of others!
Everyday, I find myself struggling to see the miracles that exist all around me. In Romans 1:20 it states that nature and creation give us an understanding of God and His power. Everything about this universe and our earth and our bodies is phenomenal, and is a reflection of the greatness of our God. Just like Peter walking on the water, taking our eyes off of Him leads to failure. His miracles aren’t even limited to nature; if you have spent any time with God at all you should be able to see the difference He has made in your own heart; that by itself is a miracle. Don’t close your eyes to the miracles He’s working in and all around you.
When God speaks, do you listen? Do you want to hear His word that He speaks in the moment of decision? Or are you content to just worship Him on Sundays without letting what He says affect you and turn you from sin? Open not only yourself to hearing His Holy Spirit speak to you, but also open your Bible to read what He’s telling you.
Is sin something you allow to dangle nearby, just out of reach? Is it something you entertain privately in your thoughts, where no one can see it? Is it something you try to hide behind closed doors? Or are you even blatantly playing with this fire that can burn you? I’m pretty sure that right now Judas could tell you of a fire that is not fun. Don’t let your heart lust; fight against your flesh. That’s why this step comes last, because without God’s power available, and without His word to change, it is downright impossible to fight off the sin nature that is a part of you.
I’m sure Judas would agree-
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
Keep you longer than you want to stay,
And cost you more than you want to pay.”
Liz Rigby is a wife and homeschooling mother of three who holds a B.A. in Church Ministries. Writing is her current passion, but she also dabbles in art, photography, gardening, and music. Liz serves in her local church and looks for creative ways to reach out to her local community. From wiping bums to getting published, the job doesn’t matter as long as Jesus and others are loved. You can check out her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.