Every August our staff gets together for one week (“Seek Week”) to refocus on Jesus before we launch into a new year of ministry. With just three weeks ’til my book releases, this Seek Week found me cranking out “book” work (book marketing, book website, book interviews, book, book, book) . . . and cold-hearted. I was working for Jesus, but I sure wasn’t enjoying Him.
When Pastor Walter Price told us he’d be preaching on Judas Iscariot, my ears perked up. I’d never heard a sermon preached about the disciple who betrayed Jesus. (Have you?)
Walter didn’t disappoint. And boy, did he sober me up when he said,
Judas knew the blessings of proximity to the things of God, he did a lot of great things for God, but he didn’t know God.
I’ve never thought about all the great things Judas got to do. Here’s just a peek from Matthew 10:
He [Jesus] called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction (v. 1).
Just to be sure we don’t miss it, Matthew lists all twelve names of the men Jesus sent out, ending with
. . . and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him (v. 4).
Judas was there! Check out the mind-blowing miracles Judas performed:
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them . . . “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (vv. 5, 8).
Not only did Judas do miracles, he saw miracles right and left. In Mark 6:43, Judas ate ’til he was stuffed—and then he brought home a whole basket of bread and fish—after Jesus fed 5,000 people with a skimpy five loaves and two fish.
And yet . . . Jesus hadn’t captured Judas’ heart; money had. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver—enough silver, at least, to buy a field (Matt. 27:3–10).
Judas’ story puts skin to Matthew 7:21–23, the most sobering words of Jesus in the Bible—at least in my opinion:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
So I need to ask, are you busy doing things for Jesus without really loving Him? Are you telling others about Jesus but not truly delighting in His beauty?
If so, let me help you out by giving you a glimpse of Jesus’ beauty. Just before His death, Jesus tells the same twelve men that one of them is going to betray Him. He then leans over to Judas and says, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” The passage continues,
“Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him” (John 13:27-28).
Did you catch that? None of the other eleven disciples suspected Judas. Jesus had never treated Judas any differently than the rest of His disciples. All along Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart, how Judas would betray Him, but Jesus loved Judas all the same. I don’t know about you, but I find that just beautiful.
My prayer for you—and me—is that we would never be too busy working “for” Jesus that we miss “drinking from the river of His delights” (Ps. 36:8).
“Are You A Judas?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.