While every other disciple we have covered follows the calling of the ultimate goal of glorifying Christ, one of them tragically betrays the same savior who loved him so deeply.
We stumble to the last disciple on the list to find an infamous name in many circles: Judas Iscariot. Even in secular conversations, his name portrays treachery and deception. He commits the greatest act of treason the world has ever known.
Jesus, knowing who Judas would become and the way he would betray him, still chooses to pour into him for three years. Regardless of the outcome, Jesus doesn’t write Judas off or treat him differently. Jesus loves Judas even when he knew Judas would never love him.
People often wonder how someone who spent so much time with Jesus could turn from the faith and betray Jesus.
Luke 6:16 wraps up a listing of the disciples by saying, “… and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”
I think it is very curious that Luke doesn’t say something like “Judas Iscariot, the traitor” or “Judas, the betrayer.” Rather, he says, “Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”
This implies that Judas is not always a traitor. It implies that there is a time in Judas’ life when he willingly chooses to follow Jesus. After all, Judas travels, goes hungry and serves along Jesus’ side for three years. Judas is not doomed from his beginning; instead, he allows his pride and selfishness to overshadow the value of a relationship with the Lord.
When we make our world revolve around ourselves and place our own desires at the top, we take Jesus off of the pedestal. In doing this, we end up fixing our eyes on our own strength rather than on God’s strength.
Romans 8:28 says, “ Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.”
This verse exemplified in the life of Judas is a perfect display of how God does not destine Judas for failure, but Judas chooses that path for himself and God allows him to have the desires of his heart.
Judas goes from a follower and disciple of Jesus to a tool for evil, sinful work. God is still in control and God uses Judas to follow through with his plan, but God no longer plans on blessing Judas’ life.
Judas’ life is a prime example of the reality that without God’s approval and blessing, we cannot succeed or be beneficial to society. We will end up going toward the oath of destruction, just like Judas.
When Judas feels the complete weight and separation of his actions, he takes his own life.
Rather than writing our lives for us, God gives us a chance and the freedom to follow him and devote our lives to him. The decision of what road we will take is ultimately in our hands.