The Face of Folly: Judas Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
A kiss can either be a sign of acceptance or rejection. In this instance, Judas bestowed a kiss of betrayal upon the Lord Jesus, and it was one of the most despicable acts of man. Some theologians contend that Judas was predestined to betray Jesus and could do nothing else. If that was true, Judas was nothing more than a robot. I believe that Judas made up his own mind to betray Jesus and that he had every opportunity to change his plans. I believe that it was the evil in his own heart that caused him to carry out his evil plan. You might say, “Yes, but it was prophesized that he would betray Jesus.” I have to agree with you. It was prophesized, and our Lord marked him as the man. However, after Judas had fulfilled the prophesy after Jesus was betrayed, Judas could have repented. Jesus gave Judas one final opportunity to repent and accept Him. Even after he gave Jesus that hot kiss of betrayal, Jesus called him, “Friend.” Later, when Judas went to the temple and threw down the silver given to him to betray our Lord, he could have changed his mind. As the priests were taking Jesus to Pilate, Judas could have fallen down before Him and said, “Forgive me, Lord, I did not know what I was doing.” The Lord would have forgiven him.
What makes this deed so hard to understand is that Judas acted with knowledge. He had both eyes open to the truth. He knew what he was doing. He understood who Jesus was, but he didn’t want any part of that kind of a Messiah. He had enjoyed three years of helpful instruction from the Master. He had been confronted with the best evidence of Jesus’ mission in the world. And yet, he acted not out of ignorance, but out of foolishness.
How much do we know about Jesus? We may actually know more than Judas. We have hindsight, the advantage of two thousand years of Christian history. We know the outcome of His death on the cross. If we refuse Him a place in our lives, we too are sinning in spite of all the knowledge we are blessed to have.
Another reason why we know that this was the deed of a fool is that by this act he aligned himself with the enemies of Jesus. Some scholars believe that Judas was displaying his inner resentment through the betrayal. They see Judas’s frustrated ambition behind his deed. He would get even by turning Jesus over to His enemies. Whatever the motivation, it made Judas one with the enemies of Jesus.
I want to ask another question, “What attitudes and actions have you taken toward Jesus?” Do you believe in Him? Do you obey Him? Do you love Him?
Finally, when Judas betrayed Jesus it was the destiny of a fool.
This is how Matthew describes Judas’s fate. “THEN JUDAS, WHICH HAD BETRAYED HIM, WHEN HE SAW THAT HE WAS CONDEMNED, REPENTED HIMSELF, AND BROUGHT AGAIN THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER TO THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND ELDERS.” You see, the Lord Jesus was there when Judas came. As the Chief Priests and elders were leading him through that hall to take Him to Pilate, here comes Judas. Why doesn’t Judas turn to the Lord Jesus and ask forgiveness? Instead of doing that he addressed the religious leaders--SAYING, I HAVE SINNED IN THAT I HAVE BETRAYED THE INNOCENT BLOOD. AND THEY SAID, WHAT IS THAT TO US? SEE THOU TO THAT. In other words, “You did the job, and we have no need of you any further.”
AND HE CAST DOWN THE PIECES OF SILVER IN THE TEMPLE, AND DEPARTED, AND WENT AND HANGED HIMSELF. This man leaves the temple area, goes out, and hangs himself. He could have turned to the Lord Jesus and been forgiven.
AND THE CHIEF PRIESTS TOOK THE SILVER PIECES, AND SAID, IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR TO PUT THEM INTO THE TREASURY BECAUSE IT IS THE PRICE OF BLOOD. How pious they are! They can’t put it in the temple treasury because it is blood money.
AND THEY TOOK COUNSEL AND BOUGHT WITH THEM THE POTTER’S FIELD, TO BURY STRANGERS IN. WHEREFORE THAT FIELD WAS CALLED, THE FIELD OF BLOOD, UNTO THIS DAY.This was a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. Matthew wrote--THEN WAS FULFILLED THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY JEREMY THE PROPHET, SAYING, AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF HIM THAT WAS VALUED, WHOM THEY OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID VALUE; AND GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, AS THE LORD APPOINTED ME” (Matthew 27:3-10). You will find this prophecy alluded to in Jeremiah 18:1-4 and Zechariah 11:12-13. It was credited to Jeremiah simply because in Jesus’ day Jeremiah was the first of the books of the prophets.
The significant thing is that Jesus was present when Judas returned with his thirty pieces of silver. In fact, Jesus was on His way to die—even for Judas. Our Lord had given him an opportunity to come back to Him there in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He had said, “Friend, Wherefore art thou come?” And even at this eleventh hour, Judas could have turned to the Lord Jesus and would have been forgiven. Judas’ folly is best seen when we consider the end of it. When Judas realized that Jesus was going to be crucified, he went back to the priests with deep regret. He wanted to return the money they had given him, but they mocked him. In despair, he cast the silver coins on the floor and rushed out to end it all. Suicide was the ultimate gesture of despair. It was his way of saying, “Nothing can ever bring meaning to my life. My life is no longer worth living.”
Allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of our lives is the only thing that puts us in touch with God’s ultimate purpose for our lives. Any other purpose for your life will fail. Judas had refused the only One who could give meaning and purpose to his life.
According to Acts 1:25, “JUDAS BY TRANSGRESSION FELL, THAT HE MIGHT GO TO HIS OWN PLACE.” In other words, Judas went to hell, a place of eternal separation from Jesus Christ. Although his end was tragic, hell is the logical end of a life without Christ. The destiny is directly related to the decision and the deed. If the decision is different, the destiny will be different. When we consider the end of Judas’s life, we have to agree with Jesus that he would have been better off if he had never been born.
Let’s consider where our decisions and deeds are leading. Jesus is our example. It might be a good idea to put a sign up in your room that says, “What would Jesus do.”That would answer all the difficult questions. And let’s try to be like Jesus. Let’s do everything for Him; pray to Him, sing to Him, witness for Him, teach for Him, preach for Him, and live for Him.
Judas kissed Jesus to signal the soldiers to arrest Him. But there is another way Judas could have kissed Him. It was customary in that day for a man to bow before a king and kiss his ring. The ring symbolized the king’s authority, and the kiss symbolized submission to him. This is why the Psalmist wrote, “KISS THE SON, LEST HE BE ANGRY, AND YE PERISH FROM THE WAY, WHEN HIS WRATH IS KINDLED BUT A LITTLE. BLESSED ARE ALL THEY THAT PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIM” (Psalms 2:12). Those who kiss the Son in submission to His authority are no fools. Their lives take on an excitement that will last for eternity.
How will you kiss the Son? Will it be the kiss of a fool or the kiss of a wise man?