Judas, the Greedy Thief

We are continuing our meditation of the days before the crucifixion of Christ, looking especially at the person of Judas, thinking through what it could have been that prompted him to betray the Lord Jesus (Scroll further down for additional thoughts on Judas). Perhaps, it was the love of money that motivated Judas. He oversaw the finances for the party of disciples. When Mary, the sister of Lazarus, honored Jesus by pouring out her treasure (i.e. a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume) on his feet and wiping them with her hair, Judas was incensed at the “waste:”

4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:4-8).

This event had happened just a few days before the crucifixion of Christ (John 12:1). Perhaps, the gentle rebuke added additional motivation as to why Judas would sell out Christ. There could have been some bitterness at the gentle rebuke, and the fact that he couldn’t get his hands on a year’s wages. He could see no value in someone’s treasure being poured out on the Lord’s feet.

Think of it. If one of your friends was just about to part with a year’s wages on some person’s feet, wouldn’t you see that as a bit excessive? It wouldn’t be if it was believed that this man was God in the flesh, which Mary did. The longer Judas was exposed to the truth about Christ and yet remained hard-hearted and unresponsive, the darker his heart became (Proverbs 29:1). How could Judas have seen Christ move in a gift of revelatory knowledge in knowing the name of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5) and yet think that Christ would not be aware of his stealing out of the money bag?

Now, we return to our original questions about the responsibility and the intent of Judas.

What we have learned is that Judas was an unbeliever. A Christian has spiritual armor that is given to him that protects him against demonic attack and control (Ephesians 6:10-18), but someone who is not yet a believer can be used as a pawn in the enemy’s hands. Sometimes, even believers are not mature enough to deflect enemy thoughts and cast them down (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). An immature believer can be the mouthpiece of demonic attack on another. Jesus Himself had to confront Satan working through Peter. After the Lord told the disciples that He would be killed but would rise again, Peter took Jesus aside from the others for a chat:

32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Mark 8:32-33).

Satan could not enter Peter’s life as he did with Judas. He had merely cast a thought into Peter’s mind, and the ever impulsive Peter had acted on the thought, and spoke those words to Christ. Jesus immediately recognized that Peter was being used by Satan to deter Him from carrying out the Father’s plan. He rebuked the enemy for using Peter as a mouthpiece, much to the surprise of Peter. The enemy looks for every opportunity to cause disunity, and he certainly does not steer clear of churches. He joins them! Satan does more harm against God’s people by sowing weeds in the midst of the wheat (Matthew 13:25). Satan whispered into Judas’ ear and he obeyed him.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 58. (Luke 22:1-6). The Betrayal of Jesus. Keith Thomas