Have you ever wondered what kind of a person Judas Iscariot
was or have you brushed him aside as a "misfit" and/or "loser"?
Actually, a study of Judas Iscariot is not only interesting
but it can serve as a gauge by which to check our own attitudes and
walk with Christ. It may surprise you to know that the "Judas spirit"
is still alive and well within Christian circles today. In this brief
article I hope to outline some of the characteristics of the "Judas
In Matthew 10 we read that Jesus called His twelve disciples.
It is interesting to note that Judas name is listed last. In this
portion of scripture we see that Jesus "
gave them power
against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of
disease." Judas, who obviously made the decision to accept
Christs invitation to be a disciple (student) was also given power
to "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast
" vs. 8a. He was given "equal opportunity"
with the other disciples. Jesus even entrusted the moneybag to Judas,
knowing full well that Judas justified stealing.
How many Christians today would decline if offered, directly
from the lips of Jesus, instant power to cast out demons, heal the sick,
raise the dead AND oversee the offerings? In it all, Judas saw a golden
opportunity to become a "somebody". We know he never truly
had a heart to help the poor and needy, even though he gave lip service
to it. Judas had his own agenda and his own cause, which blinded him
to the reality of who Christ was. This is an important fact to consider.
The moment we refuse to allow our own perception or frame of reference
to be challenged by the Word of God, at that point our course is set
to walk in the darkness of our own vain imagination.
Like so many people today, the promise of a "big ministry"
and "big money" fed Judas prideful image. In other words,
he saw certain personal advantages and benefits when initially called
by Jesus. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul who wrote to Timothy, "For
the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted
after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through
with many sorrows" 1 Timothy 6:10. I am sure Judas felt he
somehow deserved to "dip" into the moneybag. Perhaps he justified
his actions by reminding himself of what he had left to follow Jesus.
Or perhaps his high opinion of himself (now that he was "in the
ministry") gave him the excuse he needed to justify his actions.
Obviously, his darkened heart despised the poor as so many wealthy "Christians"
have done down through the centuries. Lets face it, most religious
people today would far rather support a "big" name or a "big"
church than get into the trenches with small, unknown ministries who
are truly of God!
Judas had three-and-a-half years with the sinless Son of God.
Time to come to the knowledge of Jesus true identitytime
to search his own heart and repent. But nowhere do we read of Judas
ever coming to grips with the fact that Jesus was God in the flesh--that
Jesus was indeed the way, the truth and the life. Obviously Judass
idea of what the Messiah should accomplish for Israel was based on his
own religious standards and images. Yet, Jesus publicly stated His purpose
in Luke 4:18, 19.
One can wonder how a man could be so blind, so deludedyet
this kind of destructive delusion continues around the world to this
very hour. Daily we receive heart-wrenching emails from devastated Christians
who write of loved ones, family and friends who have walked straight
into the abyss of spiritual darkness. And every one of these lost souls
is totally convinced that what they are doing is "right"that
it is of "God". Yet, the fruit of the Spirit is missing in
their lives! You will not find genuine love or concern for others within
the Body of Christ but you will find a mesmerized type of obsession
with their leader. Obviously, this entails powerful soul ties and control
that the deluded followers define as "love". Judas Iscariot
may have been "religious" according to his own standards,
but he displayed no love for God, his fellow disciples, the needy, the
women who continually ministered to Jesus or even to Jesus Himself.
Joy, the second fruit of the Spirit, is a deep, abiding joy
within the heart of every born-again Christian. This joy is not to be
acquainted with the shallow, fleeting, worldly happiness that so many
seek today. Those who have been caught up in error, a cult or delusion
have lost the joy of the Lord. Have you ever noticed that people who
are under the wrong spirit are intense, rigid, strict (legalistic),
judgmental and joyless? There is a vast difference between the sobriety
that the Word of God admonishes us to have and the "seriousness"
of those who do not have the joy of the Lord. Judas represents joyless
people who are ungrateful and who have a critical eye.
Peace is another indicator of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
People who operate under another spirit, such as Judas, lack the "peace
that passes all understanding." At this time we live in a neighborhood
that is predominately inhabited by members of a well-known cult. While
these people keep up their houses and yards and all other outward appearances,
they are without a doubt the most uptight, stressed out people you could
meet. Loveless, joyless and lacking real peace they tenaciously cling
to their godless leaders, false prophets and dead beliefs. What a tragedy!
As we consider the remaining fruit of longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness and temperance we see that the fruit of the
Spirit is indeed of the SPIRIT. The fruit of the Spirit is a description
of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. It only follows
that the lives of true believers, who are adopted into the family of
God, will produce the fruit of the Spirit as well. No one who is under
another spirit, or who has accepted another Jesus or believed another
Gospel will produce the true fruit of the Spirit.
Another problem Judas had is that he felt superior.
This feeling of superiority is common among those who believe that they
are the "only ones" who have the truth. It goes without saying
that "Superior" Christians are prideful and lack godly love
as well as the other fruit of the Spirit. This allows them to become
judge, jury and executioner of any or all who disagree with them. Judas
was no exception as he carried out his plan to betray Christ with a
To me, the most telling scripture concerning Judas Iscariot
is found in John 12:4-6. This is where we find the beautiful story of
Mary, who took "
a pound of ointment of spikenard, very
costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her
hair." Judas gave himself away when he complained, publicly,
that the ointment could have been sold for much and given to the poor.
Under the guise of "religious generosity" he rebuked Mary
directly, and Christ indirectly, for "wasting" money. Then
Jesus, in front of everyone, said this: "Let her alone: against
the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have
with you; but me ye have not always."
Think about it! How would you feel if Jesus, in front of your
co-workers and friends, soundly rebuked you? Judas "good
guy" image had been shattered; his pride and selfish motives exposed.
On top of this, Jesus had accepted and approved of the ministry of a
woman! Rather than humbling himself and repenting, Judas
anger, jealousy, resentment and pride dictated that this was the "last
straw". Scripture reveals that after this incident Judas sought
to betray Him.
Afterwards, when Judas had betrayed Christ and saw that Jesus
was condemned, he "repented himself, and brought again the thirty
pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned
in that I have betrayed the innocent blood" Matthew 27:3,4.
Notice that Judas did not say, "I have betrayed the Son of God."
Nor did Judas repent godly repentance but rather worldly repentance,
which gave him no hope (2 Corinthians 7:10). Judas never appreciated
and accepted the fruit of the Spirithe didnt respect it
in Jesus life; neither did he desire it for his own life.
How does one, who has followed the Lord for years, deteriorate
to the place where he or she is able to betray Him? The answer is relationship.
It is possible for people to be involved in ministry, talk the talk,
play the game, look the look, but never humble themselves at the feet
of Jesus in true repentance and surrender to His Lordship. A relationship
with Christ can only come as we confess Him as Lord and give up all
of our rights to ourselves TO JESUS--not to a leader, a creed, a doctrine,
a cause, a set of dos and donts, a religious movement or
A person with a "Judas spirit" will eventually turn
against and betray the true Christ (and His followers) because they
have never come to know Him through the process of giving up their right
to themselves. The "Judas spirit" can only submit to a god
of his or her own makinga god who satisfies unregenerate religious
perceptions, concepts, images and ideas.
Jesus said to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:2-5, "I
know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst
not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they
are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne,
and hast patience, and for my names sake hast laboured, and hast
not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou
hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen,
and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly,
and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
May this simple essay be a solemn reminder to all of us that
we need to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faithasking
God to reveal to us our hearts and motivations. As Peter wrote, "Wherefore
laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies,
and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of
the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the
Lord is gracious" (1 Peter 2:1-2).
May God richly bless you for your faithful love, prayers and
support without which it would be impossible for us to continue the
Lords work. Amen.