A Convenient Betrayal
“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him” (Mark 14:10-11).
“…conveniently betray Him.” What a haunting statement that is. Do we see it?
■ Convenient: in a way that fits well with particular needs, activities, and plans
■ Betray: to give into the hands of another; treacherously deliver up
Judas sought out those who would take Jesus, thereby betraying His Lord to evil men, and he did so for greedy "gain". But we know the end of his story, don't we? What Judas really "gained" out of this transaction was condemnation. What gain is there, really, that comes from sinning against our Lord; for, in essence, exchanging our Lord for some temporal or carnal gain (Matt.16:26)?
We often, rightly, condemn Judas. Primarily because God's word does so and Jesus foretold his treachery...but in our condemnation of him, do we go too far too quickly and miss the point? Do we condemn the actions of this man without seeing ourselves in his decisions, his frame of mind, and his ultimate betrayal of Christ? Yes, we can be just like Judas Iscariot -- what a terrifying thought that is!! But we don't have to feel as if all is lost or that we have no choice in the matter. Thankfully the scripture leaves us this record so we may learn. So, let's honestly and openly consider what we have in common with Judas so we can avoid his grievous errors:
Judas heard the teachings of Christ. Judas spent three years in the presence of the Master Teacher, hearing His many parables and sermons. How often have we, too, heard the teachings of Christ through preaching of God's word or through personal study? As with Judas, simply hearing or possessing knowledge doesn't save us.
Judas had the choice to apply the teachings which he heard from Jesus Christ daily. Observe how Judas heard, yet then forsook those teachings. How many lessons and opportunities did he have to make application from the teachings of Jesus (just a few examples: Mark 4:18-19; 10:23-30; 12:41-44; Luke 12:15-21). Do we not have the same opportunity before us to make the personal applications from the teachings of Jesus? As with Judas, not applying the teachings of the Lord only pushes us further away and inches us ever closer to betraying Him.
Judas was an Apostle, a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ. He was one of twelve personally called by Jesus to follow Him. To his credit, Judas left all that he knew to follow his Lord. As a disciple of our Lord, we must allow His teachings to produce good fruit in our lives. As with Judas, just being called His disciple does not save us.
Judas had a choice of which path he would follow - his own or Jesus Christ's. Judas had the same decision to make as the other disciples did - serve the Lord or serve self. Every disciple had to make up their own mind. When we realize that he heard the same lessons as they, he knew the Lord personally, and yet still he chose to betray Him; it really begins to set in that it is possible for us to betray Him as well. No matter how big or small the circumstances may be, it really does come down to choices. As with Judas, we must decide whether we will submit and serve our Lord, or serve ourselves.
What about us? Is there anything holding us back from serving God fully and faithfully? For Judas it was greed and selfish ambition. What is it for you and me? The truth is, no matter what it may be, whatever we let stand between us and our Lord is what we have made our god.
Judas sought an opportunity to “conveniently betray” Jesus, and we do the same thing when we choose sin over our Savior. The world, over our Lord. Earthly gain, over loyalty and devotion. Hopefully now we can see the reality: we, like Judas, must decide whether we will lovingly obey, or selfishly betray, our Lord.
Knowing that reality, let's learn the lessons from Judas's life. Let's make the conscious choice to truly be followers of Jesus Christ in every regard. Lay aside whatever sin may be holding you back and look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-4). Just take the next right step, one after another, all the way home to Him.