The character that I will probably find the most haunting may be the one that nobody wants to talk about. No it’s not the angry mob, the Jewish rulers, Mary Magdalene, Pilate, the apostles or even Jesus Himself.
No I am concerned that I may find myself relating too much with the ultimate villain – Judas Iscariot. He is the friend and disciple that betrayed true love with a kiss.
It’s not that I am in doubt of my salvation or plan to deliberately betray my Savior. It’s just that I can relate with Judas’ struggle. He lost sight of what is important when Jesus routinely did things that didn’t make sense. Jesus specialized in doing the exact opposite of what the disciplines, including Judas, expected Him to do. Jesus always talked about His Kingdom but never appeared to do anything about establishing it. Or at least that may be how Judas saw it through his earth-dweller mindset. Jesus never used his power to make money or kick out the Romans. He “wasted” his time with the people that nobody else cared about.
I wonder if Jesus was a disappointment to Judas. I know that there honestly have been times in my life when I was upset at God. I wanted answers and all I heard was the sound of silence. I wanted solutions and only found problems. While God is love and He always works things out for good for those who love Him, it can be hard to accept that in the middle of pain, despair and unfulfilled dreams.
I’ve read lots of different scholarly opinions on Judas including his possible motives for betraying Jesus. While we do not know for sure, he may have been led by mixed motives. I do not believe that Judas betrayed the Lord mainly for the bribe money from the Jewish leaders. No, I believe that ungodly ambition, fear, anger, and demon possession caused him to do the unthinkable. Judas made a calculated move that backfired on him. He wanted to make something happen. He had grown tired of Jesus’ story times and sideshow healings. Judas wanted to put Jesus in a position where He had to fight the Romans and mobilize the Jews.
Judas is the ultimate example of what can happen to those who try to manipulate things to go their way. Judas crafted a plan that ended up ultimately placing a noose around his own neck. His story is the story of mankind. Our appetites lead to our own destruction. The Bible is right. There is a way that seems right unto a man, but it leads to death.
I think about the times that I have tried to manipulate God or other people in the effort to accomplish my plan. I realize that I have some of Judas in me. Sometimes I try to play God’s role. It always eventually blows up in my face. In my impatience, I betray the Lord with a kiss. All the while, I think that I am doing what is best to bring about God’s Kingdom on earth. Have you ever betrayed true love with a kiss?
Take heart. There are two possible endings to the story. You can be a sinner saved by God’s immeasurable love and transformed by His supernatural power. Or you can be overcome by fear, pride and shame. You can be like Judas who died in his sin. Who are you going to be like? Are you going to be like Peter or Judas? The decision is up to you!