If you look around, you would rarely meet people whose name is Judas. Even if the name means “the praise of the Lord,” it seems no parent would like to name their child after a man best known for selling out Yahshua.
In the process of studying the lives of Christ’s apostles, it would be a good idea not just to look at the good, but also at the bad. In this case, though Judas’ life was tragic, we need to study more about his life so we won’t be able to repeat the same mistakes.
In this post, let me share with you the 5 lessons we can learn from the life of Judas Iscariot.
You can’t serve God and mammon
Judas is known to be the treasurer of the disciples. We read in John 12:4-6:
But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
This is supported by John 13:29:
For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.
There’s no doubt: Judas could have been a brilliant man. There is something in him that made him rise to such a position that he was given the money box.
Money in itself is not bad. However, the LOVE of money is.
We read in I Timothy 6:10:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The problem with Judas was he let the love of money take root in his heart. As a result, he became a thief.
His love for money even exceeded his love for his Master. In the end, he betrayed Yahshua for 30 pieces of silver.
The Bible is clear:
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.(Matthew 6:24).
In the case of Judas, he hated Christ and loved money. That’s the danger of serving mammon and prioritizing the accumulation of wealth rather than obeying God and doing His commandments.
Judas should have taken seriously these words of the Master:
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”Mark 8:36
Material wealth is good, but only if we use them to achieve the greater purpose that God has given us. We must not make wealth as the end of itself, but rather only a means to the end.
Judas made the mistake of putting more importance on money – money that does not offer lasting happiness.
If we are to follow God, we must be willing to let go of everything and forsake them just to follow God’s will in our lives.
God gives us a chance to repent
When I was reading the story of Judas, I can’t understand why would Yahshua call a person with that kind of attitude problem.
Then, I realize that God is calling sinners to repentance.
Judas was like any of us.
We simply sin in different ways.
Christ, who is the discerner of the heart, knows very well the character of Judas. However, He still called Judas to be part of His inner circle.
Like any of us, we are all sinners. Yet, God has called us to be part of His Family.
Whether we answer that call or not, it is up to us.
Whether we act upon what we learn or not, it is up to us.
For several years that Judas was with Christ, he had the golden opportunity to recognize his evil desires and get rid of them.
The problem was, he never did. He wasn’t able to overcome his human nature to the point that he has become a traitor.
The Bible tells us that it is the GOODNESS of Yahweh that has led us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
Can you imagine if God is not merciful or good? Right at the moment, we committed sin, we could have already been dead.
Yet, here I am writing this article and here you are reading it.
God gives us a lot of opportunities to repent. We need to take action. Accepting Christ in our lives isn’t enough. We must do our best to overcome our sins and become children of God.
Let us not be like Judas who didn’t see the need to change until it was too late.
Being in the church is not a guarantee of salvation
Being in the church or assembly of God does not automatically mean that you will be saved.
There are a lot of people who simply warm their seats during church services. After that, they simply go back to their old ways.
They seem to be a Christian only during the Sabbath, but the rest of the day, they are part of the world.
You see, Judas was like that.
He was given the awesome opportunity to be part of Yahshua’s group and yes, he was one of the disciples.
Can you imagine being part of the very group Yahshua himself is training?
That would be a rare opportunity for anyone of us.
Yet, we see Judas failing.
You see, whether you are the pastor, deacon, leader, or simply a member of your church, there’s no guarantee for you to be saved.
There are those who left the church and yet they came back and there are those who stayed and yet, their heart was never with God.
So, do your best. Take advantage of the opportunity that is given to you. Not all are given the chance to be part of a nurturing church. Study and show yourself approved.
Don’t give Satan a foothold
We read in Ephesians 4:26-27:
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
James, or properly known as Yacob, tells us that we must not give place to the devil. In other words, we must not give Satan a foothold.
How is this possible?
This is possible when we constantly stay away from God. Remember, there are just two options. It is whether you stay with God or stay with the devil.
In this case, Judas stayed with the devil through his evil intent. Instead of getting rid of them, he succumbed into greed.
In the culmination of his evil desires, we read what happened next:
“Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve” (Luke 22:3).
“And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him” (John 13:2).
You see, the devil or any demon does not have the power to enter or possess us IF we don’t let them.
However, because of our constant disconnection with God and our willingness to harbor evil intent, the devil can use us to do unspeakable things.
It is not because Judas didn’t have a choice, but rather, his natural disposition made it easier for Satan to get a hold of him.
This is the main reason that we must stay close to God. Don’t entertain evil thoughts and fill our mind with pure thoughts.
Here’s a list of things that we must fill our minds with:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Our sorrow should lead us to repentance
After betraying his master, Judas realizes the magnitude of the evil he has done. Perhaps, at first, he just thought that the Jews and Romans would take it easy on Yahshua. But later, he recognized that there is a bigger problem with what he did.
We read in Matthew 27:3-5:
Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
At some point, Judas regretted what he did.
But here comes the problem: instead of repenting, he even committed another sin – he took away his own life.
Do you know that it was not only Judas who betrayed Christ?
If you think about it, Peter also betrayed Yahshua. He promised that he will stick with Yahshua through thick and thin. But instead, he left Christ in the time when He needed him the most!
Both of Judas and Peter betrayed their master. Both of them regretted what they did. Both of them cried.
However, only one of them repented and that’s Peter.
For Judas, it wasn’t too late for him. He could still reform himself, ask for forgiveness, and change his ways.
However, he didn’t.
Instead, he hanged himself and died a tragic death.
For us, Christians today, no matter what sin you have committed, you still have the chance to ask for forgiveness. If you genuinely repent of your sin and accompany it the willingness to change, then God will forgive you.
Instead of running away from God, you need to run toward Him and say sorry. He is merciful and is more than willing to forgive even the worse of our sins.
These are just some of the lessons you can learn from the life of Judas.
The story of Judas, how he betrayed Christ and how he ended his life, was recorded in the Bible for us to learn its lessons.
It is my sincerest hope that we take these lessons to heart. Let’s do our best to avoid the mistakes that Judas committed. From there, let’s strive what it needs to be like our Master, Yahshua the Messiah.
When we do, I’m sure that God will be pleased with us and we will live a more blessed life!