Devotion on Biblical Firsts (1st Betrayal of Jesus – JUDAS), 30 October 2015 Anno Domini
“47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.” (Luke 22:47-51 KJV)
Judas betrayed Christ with a KISS, but others betrayed Jesus on that fateful night as well, including the courageous Peter who also betrayed Christ with his own lips. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, the word, BETRAY, means to 1) to deliver or expose to an enemy traitorously; 2) to break faith with or fail to meet the hopes of; etc. Both Judas and Peter fit into this definition of betrayal. Judas was doomed and met a horrible fate, but what of Peter? He was forgiven and restored. Why the difference?
Jesus chose Judas from the beginning knowing that he was reprobate and a devil. “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:70-71 KJV) By the foreknowledge of God, Jesus chose Peter as well knowing that Peter would be driven in righteousness by the Holy Spirit. “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:13-18 KJV) His reference to Peter (a stone) is distinguished from the Rock which is Christ. Christ is the foundation and chief cornerstone of the Church. But the disciple is a symbolic stone from that Rock having the same nature and appearance. Redemption from every sin is possible for the Elect of God.
But Judas was a devil from the beginning. He loved mammon more than the Moral Law or the Law of Love. An example of this is found in John 12: “3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (John 12:3-6 KJV)
Judas’ love for filthy lucre led to his final egregious sin and fatal demise. “14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matt 26:14-16 KJV) There arises in the modern and apostate church, from time to time, the notion that Judas did not go to Hell because he had no choice but to betray Christ – that he was predestined to the act. Amazingly, the people who make this argument are, without exception, those of the Arminian persuasion who reject predestination under every color of meaning. Regardless, all men born of woman come into this world under the just sentence of death for sin, but God calls, by the agency of the Holy Ghost, His elect from among the inedible fishes of the sea. They are drawn in the fisher’s net and by the drawing power of the Lord Jesus Christ crucified.
But the nature of some men such as Judas is so disposed as to never come to terms with spiritual salvation. Even though the general call is sounded across the glassy seas, some are deaf to that call by nature of their own inner being. Judas was, of necessity, one of these men. He saw every healing, every miracle, every resurrection from the dead that Christ wrought. He heard every parable and every sermon, yet, He was reprobate and betrayed the Lord – not by compulsion, but by the dictate of his own sinful soul.
The fate of Judas is a sorrowful one. If we have the same sense of the matter as Jesus, we would have all men to be saved; but this is not compatible with the will of God since the heart of many have not the properties of heart to respond to the call. In heaven, there will be no reprobates, rebels, or sinners. “3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4 KJV) But all men are not saved, and God knows His Elect!
Please consider the pitiful nature of a demonic heart such as Judas had. He planned long and thoughtfully how he might betray Jesus. Of course, money played a leading role in his sinful heart. Following the anointing of Jesus by Mary at Bethany of which Judas complained for the expense of the ointment, Judas had seen enough. The money bag was being emptied gradually perhaps, and he desired his father, the devil’s, business. The very moment that the Scribes and Pharisees sought how they might destroy Jesus, Satan tugged at his minion’s (Judas’) heart and he responded. He went immediately to those seeking the life of our Lord and betrayed Him outright. “14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matt 26:14-16 KJV) During the period immediately preceding the treacherous decision of Judas, the priests, Pharisees, and Sanhedrin leadership decided on destroying Jesus: “53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. . . . Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.(John 11:53,57 KJV) See how well Satan coordinates his purpose in the hearts of his own chosen ones.
It may be a further enlightenment to the righteous to know what happened the night of the Lord’s betrayal. When Jesus made that profound and shocking statement at the Last Supper, the disciples wondered who was the culprit. Jesus gave them the clue: “26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.” (John 13:26-30 KJV)
Judas never repented to the Lord for his sin. He repented in himself based on logical outcomes of such an act and not out of devotion to Christ. He hung himself that very night; so, when Judas went out from the Last Supper, it was not simply night – it was an eternal night for Judas in outer darkness. He never saw another sunrise.
What of Peter? Did he betray Jesus in the same way as Judas? Not in the least sense! Peter betrayed and denied Jesus three times out of mortal fear. The last denial was the most hurtful of all: “60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:60-62 KJV) Peter was stung by his third denial and the look in the eyes of His Lord at the moment of His denial. He went out and wept bitterly because he loved the Lord and was in anguish for his own cowardice and failure. He wept for the next three days or more until Jesus rose from the Garden Tomb. Can you imagine those three painful days in Peter’s life. How did the Lord soothe Peter? The great Angel at the tomb told the disciples: “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and PETER that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” (Mark 16:6-7 KJV) Note that Peter is the only disciple whose name is singled out in the directions of the angel. The Lord knew of Peter’s hurt and intended to ease his pain as soon as possible. Later, on the shores of beloved Galilee, Peter was overwhelmed at the sight of the Lord and already knew that he had been forgiven.
There are only two families on earth, and every single person belongs to one or the other. Judas belonged to the family of his father, the devil. Peter belonged to the family of his Father in Heaven.
To which of these two families do you belong, reader?
“5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-11 KJV)