studies in scripture by David and Renée

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Unlike Judas
I do not follow Jesus Christ out of selfish, ulterior motives.

The history of the 19th and 20th centuries contains numerous stories of men and women who formed their own religious cults to make a fortune from gullible souls. Judas had dreams of fame and riches as grand as those of any charlatan. And he saw Jesus as his sure ticket to achieving them.

From the first time he “borrowed” a little money from the apostles’ fund to the moment he pocketed thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16), Judas was looking out for his own best interests. When he objected to the woman’s lavish outpouring of perfume on Jesus, for instance, it wasn’t because Judas really cared about the poor. What Jesus saw as an act of worship, Judas calculated as a loss of funds to pilfer (John 12:1-6).

As Jesus approached Jerusalem and began predicting his sufferings, Judas counted the cost—and decided to cash in while he could. Whether he wanted to destroy Jesus or merely force Jesus to seize power, Judas’ focus was solely on his own agenda, not the will of God. With ease, Satan entered Judas’s heart and propelled him to cut a deal with the leading priests and plot a way to betray Jesus (Luke 22:1-6).

Even when Judas later was filled with remorse, he never turned back to God in repentance. He simply regretted the tragic turn of events and took what appeared to be the easiest way out (Acts 1:18-19).

Scripture warns us not to even consider the possibility of following the Lord as a means to financial gain and personal profit (1 Peter 1:13-19; 2 Peter 2:1-16).

Unlike Judas, let’s value Jesus far above silver—for who he is, not for what we can get from him.

FURTHER STUDY: Judas Iscariot was one of the Twelve Apostles, notorious for betraying Jesus. Judas' surname is more probably a corruption of the Latin sicarius (“murderer” or “assassin”) than an indication of family origin, suggesting that he would have belonged to the Sicarii, the most radical Jewish group, some of whom were terrorists. Other than his apostleship, his betrayal, and his death, little else is revealed about Judas in the Gospels. Always the last on the list of the Apostles, he was their treasurer. The reading takes place in the gospel of Mark (3:19, 14:3-11, 43-49)

Detail from drawing by Francesco Traini


This excerpt is from the Living Faith™ Bible (Tyndale House Publishers)
Copyright © 2003, 2000 David and Renée Sanford

"Whether he wanted to destroy Jesus or merely force Jesus to seize power, Judas’ focus was solely on his own agenda, not the will of God."

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