Ask yourself the question, what makes a person a traitor? Judas Iscariot gives us a pretty clear answer to that question!
Judas name “Iscariot” probably identified where he was from – and he wasn’t from the same place as the other disciples. Every other disciple was from Galilee. That’s no reason to suspect him as a traitor of course! Many people figure if someone is “not from around here,” they must be a traitor. Should we view others who are not from around here with suspicion because they are more likely to be traitors? I don’t think the Bible would support that conclusion. According to 1 Cor.12:13 the offer of salvation is open to all. So it isn’t where you’re from that makes you a traitor…
Judas role within the disciples was as the treasurer. We are told in John 13:29 that Judas was responsible for the finances of the group. Now, some passages refer to Judas as a thief (John 12:6), it is likely that was not known until later, and every gospel account was written after the events which they record occurred, so this may have come to light after Judas was dead and someone tried to reconcile the books. Judas feigned concern for the poor and downtrodden (John 12:3), but was not really concerned for them as much as he was for himself. As a thief, Judas may have been skimming off the top to line his own pockets. Judas had a problem with money, that much is clear, and love of money has a corrupting influence (1 Tim.6:10). In fact, when Judas determined to betray Christ, he went to the scribes, Pharisees and religious leaders and his question was – what can I get for Jesus (Matt.26:15)? Judas was that guy who’s calculating in his head. But let me ask you this…is the love of money the reason someone might do what Judas did? The answer is, that it certainly could be. The love of money is a powerful motivator and as the root of all evil certainly is presented in the Bible as something that could easily steer a person to do despicable things!
Judas was also possessed of the devil. We are told in John 13:27-30 that Satan himself entered into Judas. So he was satanically motivated in his betrayal. One might wonder if Satanic influence is enough to betray Jesus and we would say yes! Satan knows God’s plan. Satan knows he is doomed, he has determined to stop God’s plan from coming to pass. Numerous of these events are recorded for us in the Bible. The killing of Hebrew babies in Egypt was a Satanic plan to thwart the arrival of the messiah. The murder of children in Bethlehem by Herod was a Satanic ploy to rid the earth of Jesus offspring. The crucifixion of Jesus was a Satanic play to bring about Jesus demise. Satan is opposed to me too, as a child of God. He has his wiles, his deceptive strategies, and his deception in concert with my sinful heart are a lethal combination. That’s why knowing Jesus is the only safe place. He that is in me after my salvation is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)!
I will say this about Judas. With brutal efficiency he carried out his plan to betray Jesus. Sure he felt bad after, since he knew Jesus had done nothing wrong (Matt.27:3-10), but he didn’t repent and plead for mercy. He figured his only relief would be death and so he hung himself (Acts 1:18-19). The description of that event is a stomach churning one. Unfortunately for Judas he would have been better had he stayed alive and repented of his sin while he still had the chance, because there are no second chances after death. The Bible says that Judas went to his own place (Acts 1:25).
Before we rush to condemn however, let’s examine our own hearts and reflect that there is a traitor in us all. We are often willing to sell our spiritual birthright for a mess of material pottage. We are often willing to deny our knowledge of Christ when expedient to do so. We are traitors all of us, deserving God’s wrath and we must each remember that were it not for God’s grace and mercy which we daily require, our end would be the same as that of Judas.
May God have mercy on us!