Men of the Bible
His name means: "Praised"
His work: As one of the twelve disciples, Judas's responsibility was to act as the group's treasurer. His character: John's gospel indicates that Judas, though chosen by Jesus, was a thief, a man who regularly helped himself to the community purse. Though he would have been on intimate terms with the Lord, he betrayed Jesus by handing him over to the religious authorities, who then had him condemned to death. The motives for his act of treachery have never been clear. His name always appears last in the list of Jesus' disciples. His sorrow: Regretting his decision to hand Jesus over to the religious authorities, Judas hanged himself. His triumph: He was a member of Jesus' inner circle. Key Scriptures: Matthew 26:6-16; John 12:1-8; 13:1-30; 18:1-11
A Look at the Man
Under cover of darkness, Judas led a detachment of soldiers and Jewish officials to an olive grove on the other side of the Kidron Valley, the place where Jesus and his disciples had retired after the Passover meal. There he betrayed the Lord with a kiss, saying, "Greetings, Rabbi!" Then he watched as the soldiers bound Jesus and led him away.
If Judas intended his act of betrayal to be the spark that ignited the revolution, he must have been disappointed. There was no great uprising, no crowds clamoring for Jesus' release, no miracles from heaven to establish the Messiah on his throne. The next morning brought with it only the grim news that Jesus had been beaten, handed over to Pontius Pilate, and condemned to death. Suddenly Judas felt overwhelmed by a tide of grief so great it swept away his previous certainty. Flinging the thirty pieces of silver—blood money now—into the temple, he went out and hanged himself.
The story of Judas is one of the saddest and best known in Scripture. A man chosen by Jesus to become part of his inner circle, he was privy to God's wisdom, power, and love to an unprecedented degree. But Judas valued the privilege so little that he handed Jesus over to his enemies for the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Jesus himself commented on Judas's situation with a warning Judas failed to heed: "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
Two thousand years later, Judas's name is still a synonym for betrayal. As one of the Twelve, Judas had been offered a place of honor in the kingdom Jesus promised to establish. But by serving his own vision rather than the Lord's vision, he became not an instrument of good but an instrument of evil in the story of salvation.Reflect On: Romans 5:6–11 Praise God: For redemption and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Offer Thanks: For personal salvation and a community of believers to love and from whom to receive love. Confess: Any tendency toward self-pity rather than true repentance. Ask God: For a renewed love for his people and commitment to fellowship, transparency, and accountability. Ask him for the courage to speak the truth in love and the grace to receive the same.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.