Judas. What were you thinking? Or maybe you weren’t.
Your reputation is one of a thief. You steal money. And now you’ve stolen trust. When you were given the task to manage the disciples’ money, did you agree because it would be easy access for you? Did you think no one would notice? Did you think the money was yours to spend at will?
Have you always been a troublemaker? Have you always sought the easy way? When Jesus asked you to join him. To follow. What made you say yes? Did you seriously mean to say yes? I bet you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. If you had known, would you have followed him? Did you know his reputation? And you still said yes. You followed him. You preached. You spread the good news right alongside the other eleven. And alongside Jesus. You traveled with him. You ate with him. You knew him as a close friend.
Do you remember when Jesus gave you and the others the authority to heal every kind of disease and illness? Do you remember when he gave you the power to cast out evil spirits? And you did those things. In His name. He trusted you. You had the same power that he had. And look what you did.
What were you thinking?
Do you think Jesus didn’t know? Don’t you remember the miracles he performed right in front of you? He turned water to wine. He healed the sick. He brought a dead man back to life. He paid his taxes with a coin that a fish coughed up. So don’t you think he knew that you were taking money? Don’t you think he was aware of your faults? Oh. He was aware. But Jesus kept you around anyway. Jesus had to know you were taking money. Jesus had to know that you were looking out for yourself. Jesus had to know that you weren’t all in. Jesus also knew that you needed him.
Two days before Passover, you had heard Jesus warn that he was going to die. He probably had told you that the religious leaders were looking for him. They wanted to kill him. Again. If he knew that. If he knew he was going to die in a few days, don’t you think he knew you were going to betray him? Don’t you think he knew that Satan was going to take root in you and set him on the path of death? Don’t you think he knew? But he invited you to that last supper anyway. He ate with you that one last night. He dipped his bread in the same cup that you used. You were that close to him.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? Mark 8:36
But Judas. Do you know when the slow fade started? Do you know what caused you to start doubting? To start second guessing? To start thinking that perhaps you could work out a deal with the Pharisees and officers? To betray Jesus? When did that start happening? Oh. You had two days warning that Jesus was going to die. He told you himself. But you didn’t know when he was going to die. You didn’t know that your act of betrayal would push him down the path of no return. Did you? Were you that hungry for money? What were you really hungry for? You love money. Did you love Jesus? Why did you stay with Jesus if your heart wasn’t in it? When did you start to turn away? Were you ever all in?
Did you plan ahead? That betrayal was epic. You betrayed Jesus with a kiss? Really? Is the kiss supposed to make the hurt all better? He saw right through it. He knew what you were doing.
Looking in from the outside, you might appear to have it all. After all, you are one of the original twelve. But something somewhere happened along the way. Your priorities changed. Your allegiance changed. Your heart changed.
Were you not willing to give up everything to follow Christ? Were you not completely sold out for him?
What was it? Were the eleven surprised to learn that you were the traitor? Were you the one they suspected when Jesus said one would betray him?
Oh. Judas. Did you know that your sin fulfilled God’s purpose for His only Son? Did you know that your actions put Jesus’ trial and crucifixion in place? Did you know that you made history? Is that what you were hungry for? Fame? And fortune? Did you think that 30 coins was enough to soothe your betrayal? Obviously, it wasn’t. You returned the money. But blood money can’t be returned. You were filled with guild, remorse, shame.
But look what that betrayal and money did to you. It ruined you. Did you not know that sin is a deadly enemy? Did you not know that sin would ruin your life? Did you not know that sin always looks prettier and flirtier until it’s done? And then it’s too late. There’s no going back. You betrayed Jesus. You took the money. Then you slipped the rope around your neck and let go. Was that the path you intended to take? Oh. It didn’t have to end this way. Or did it? Did you not know that Jesus was dying for you?