In preparation for the sermon I preached last Sunday, I got thinking again about Judas and his part in the Easter drama. He had everything going for him. From Kerioth in southern Judea, the son of Simon Iscariot, a noted freedom fighter. A loyal Jew, he would have been picked out from the disciples as “the one most likely to succeed”. That was probably why he was made the treasurer of the group – the one to be trusted above the others. Yet it all fell apart as he slipped out into the night to negotiate a deal with the chief priests and teachers of the law to betray Christ to them. The price was agreed – 30 pieces of silver. The very price placed upon the head of a slave in Exodus 21v32.
Certainly, that was not a sudden decision by Judas. Gradually, his heart was becoming hardened, his disappointment with Christ growing more acute by the day. He probably thought that Jesus would head up the political revolution. But as it dawned on him that his kingdom was not of this world, he allowed his disappointment to grab and embitter his heart. Having become disillusioned, he started to steal (John 12 v 4) and covered up by pretending to be spiritual and genuinely concerned for the poor. He was neither.
How delighted the enemies of Christ must have been by his offer of betrayal. How thrilled they must have been to have an insider on their side. How much easier that made their terrible work. His double life though did not satisfy his conscience or give any pleasure and Judas died in ignominy and disgrace. To this day his name has nothing but negative connotations.
Oh, this is a powerful lesson. It is so easy to live a double life. This is a theme I think about often and try to safeguard my heart against. How easy our sinful hearts can slip into ‘spiritual’ mode when trying to impress others. How easily we wear masks and put on the evangelical grin, when our hearts are really cold, dead and lifeless. Beware the danger of a double life and heed these words “these people worship me with their lips but their hearts are far from me”.
Ah Judas – what you could have been!