4 Lessons from Judas
In John 13:21-30, Jesus is with the apostles in the Upper Room. They have eaten and Jesus has washed their feet. On the heels of that act, the Lord tells them that a betrayer is among their ranks. Not knowing what to think, Peter gets John to quietly ask Jesus who it might be. Jesus’ response is to signal the betrayer by handing him a piece of bread. It must have been unimaginable to the other eleven that Jesus then handed the bread to Judas. When Judas got up to leave, they all thought he was just headed out for groceries and they remained dumbfounded.
But John clues us in with his statement in verse 27,
After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him.
It is a chilling moment in the Scriptures. A man who is trusted enough to carry the group’s money purse was overtaken by the enemy. The passage lays out several lessons that we can learn from Judas.
1. Proximity to the work of God is not equal to faith in the work of God. Judas was present for the miracles performed by Jesus. Apparently, they did not move him to a place of faith. He was physically close but spiritually distant.
2. Participation is secondary to a surrendered heart. Not only was Judas present but participatory. John 12:6 records that Judas carried the money bag. It was a signal that the group trusted him. Although they should not have because the same verse states that he stole from them. He was the financial administrator for the group but his heart did not belong to the Lord of the work. Judas walked with Jesus, worked with the other apostles, and surely participated in ministry to the needy. He was present but not surrendered.
3. Accountability matters. The apostles must have assumed more good about Judas than was reasonable. They let him hold the money. When Jesus said the betrayer would receive the bread He offered, the other eleven did not bat an eye at it. They must have thought they heard wrong or something was amiss. We need, as Judas did, for our fellow believers to test us and hold us accountable for our heart’s affections.
4. Your heart is more important than your work. Judas did what was required of him to stay in the apostolic group. But his heart was one of a coward and a thief. Outwardly, everyone would have hailed him as dedicated and helpful but his heart was far from God’s Kingdom.
For leaders, let me say: The state of your heart is more important than the stats of your ministry.
For all of us, remember: Your heart’s condition is more important that your life’s production.
Judas’ life is evidence of our hearts’ wickedness. Personally present with Jesus throughout the Lord’s earthly ministry but unable to surrender to Him. Judas had access, visual testimony, opportunity to participate, and face-to-face conversations. This is not a “might be” or “could be” issue when it comes to our hearts. It is hard evidence. Judas had every advantage but abandoned it all for his own agenda.
Today … not tomorrow … today, examine your heart to ensure that the way of Judas has been cleansed by the Spirit and replaced with the passion of Christ to see the lost redeemed.