From time to time throughout history there have been people whose names have become synonymous with the word traitor. Benedict Arnold and Vidkun Quisling are two examples. But for 2,000 years, one man has become the ultimate personification of betrayal; Judas Iscariot.
There came a day in the young life of Judas when he first heard of Jesus of Nazareth. What he heard caused him to leave his home to follow after Christ and it was some time later he
found himself named among the inner twelve. The apostles were sent out, armed with Jesus’ power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and to preach the kingdom of God, and Judas was one of them, experiencing first-hand the power freely given by Jesus. However, all the disciples were unregenerate men during Christ’s ministry, and Jesus knew the hearts of all of them. “Have I not chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70)
Judas was there through the majority of the three years of Jesus’ ministry. He witnessed daily miracles, heard profound teaching, he ate and drank, and walked, and conversed, and worshipped with Christ. He was not an open foe, he stayed an apostle the entire time. But he did like money. He was the apostle’s treasurer (he kept the bag) and even John in chapter 12 of his gospel later called him a thief. In the end Judas betrayed Jesus to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. He deliberately made the bargain, coolly executed it, and with a touch of a true hypocrite, kissed Jesus.
In truth, we have all acted with blind spots, that when they were fully illuminated, we were mostly dumbfounded by our own stupidity. Judas, too, woke up to his actions and said, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood.” (Matt 27:4), threw back the pieces of silver, and cried out in remorse and despair. Ironically, he never prayed to God for forgiveness or to Christ for mercy, and after three years with Jesus he found he had neither faith nor hope. He hung himself with his guilt unpardoned and his sin upon his head.
Benedict Arnold received money and land for his treachery, but was never really trusted by anyone again. Vidkun Quisling’s reward was a firing squad. But of Judas Iscariot, Jesus himself said in Matthew 26:24 that it would have been better had he not even been born. How loyal have you been to Jesus and what will he say about you?