#12 (The 12 Disciples Series)
"JUDAS – THE MATERIALIST"
TEXT: John 12:1-8; 13:1-30; Matt. 26:14-16; 27:1-10
INTRO: How many people named “Judas” do you know? More than likely NOT ONE! This name is held with such contempt that no one in their right mind would name their child “Judas” – unless of course they are not familiar with the Bible! People don’t even use this name for their pet dog or cat because of the negative connotation to the name as a traitor! You’re not likely to find “Judas” listed in suggested baby name books!
Probably the greatest personal tragedy in history is the story of Judas. How does a man go from being one of twelve chosen disciples, a man who could have had his name inscribed on the foundation stones in heaven, to being one of the worse sinners of all time – a man Jesus described as the "son of perdition!"? Note: The word "perdition" in Greek literally means: "waste!" He was thus described by Jesus here as the “son of waste.”
How can a man fall from such a height to such a low place? Something edged him toward this great loss. The shock of this story is that it may have been something as simple as materialism that was at the foundation of his tragic fall!
PROP. SENT: The greater our passion for earthly things the less our passion for heavenly things! As Jesus aptly pointed out in Matt. 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The love of silver robbed a man named Judas of his salvation – and it can still do this today! Jesus statement in Mat 6:24 proved all too true in Judas’ case; "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
I. CHARACTER OF A SINNER! Jn. 12:1-8; Matt. 26:14-16
A. Association vs. Transformation Jn. 12:1-8
1. Judas was a full partner in Jesus' ministry!
a. He was sent out like the rest to heal the sick, preach the good news, minister to the poor and to those in prison! He laid hands on the sick and saw them recover just as much as the other eleven!
b. He must have had the trust of all the disciples since he was elected by them to be the group treasurer, something never challenged until near the end.
c. There were absolutely no noticeable signs that something was wrong with Judas, for at the last supper when Jesus stated that one of the twelve would betray him not one of the disciples could figure out who that might be!
d. It is thus fair to say that he did all the right things, believed all the right things, acted in all the right ways, had seen similar results in ministry even!
2. Yet it seems however that Judas never really was internally transformed, he merely maintained an association with the group, there was still something else holding his love more than his love for Christ!
a. Judas may have had the image, but not the substance of a believer!
b. How many “Christians” might this describe today?
c. The mere attendance to church, going through the motions of worship without any significant change in values, ethics, or lifestyle from the world is hardly the stuff of genuine Christianity.
ILLUS: On the French Riviera it is such an important status symbol to have a balcony on an apartment that it is quite common to see balconies painted on the walls of apartment houses. People even paint wet laundry hanging on a clothesline just to give it a touch of reality. – Source Unknown
3. This passage indicates the growing reason why Judas fell, his love for silver never changed!
a. He did join the disciples.
b. He looked and acted like a disciple – quite successfully!
c. But something like materialism gripped his heart, something that refused to be transformed, he was satisfied with just being a part of the association!
4. Judas was probably mad here because the large sum of money that they could have gotten from the sale of the perfume would have made a nice little bonus for him! With his eyes on silver he couldn't see his need of a savior!
B. Abundance vs. Treasure! Matt. 26:14-16
1. While Judas was building up his earthly bank account he was slipping into spiritual bankruptcy!!
a. While he may have accumulated wealth, he was losing his soul! (Sounds reminiscent of something Jesus said about gaining the whole world but losing your soul!)
b. The love of things can undercut even the more consistent church attendee!
c. I wonder how Judas must have felt when Jesus told some of the parables He told or some of His sayings:
(1. Such as this one: Matt. 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
(2. Or the Matt. 13:45-46 "Pearl of Great Price" story – selling everything to purchase that one pearl of ultimate value – Jesus!
(3. Or Mark 8:36 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
d. How often had Jesus talked about the dangers of loving things?
(1. There is a huge difference between “abundance” and “true treasures.”
(2. Too many people seek just “abundance” and never find “true treasure.”
2. Judas' occasional dipping must have grown greater and greater until here at the end all he could see was his own needs, silver had won out over the Savior!
3. How had Judas felt when he had witnessed men like Zacchaeus come to Jesus, repent and give up their wealth and pay back all the money they had taken from people through their corrupt ways?
a. Even among the twelve Matthew had once been a tax collector and had given up his corrupt finances to join the group – how did Judas feel around a man like Matthew while he dipped himself into the funds?
b. Judas had seen the rich young ruler walk away sad because he love money too much to change, a loser in the eternal hope of salvation – did this not make any impact on his soul when he witnessed these other examples, both the positive and negative ones?
c. How could he fail to see himself and the problem of wealth that was corrupting his own soul?
ILLUS: A despondent rich man one day went to visit a Rabbi to find out how to find happiness. The Rabbi took the man by the hand and took him to a nearby window and asked him what he saw. The rich man looked out through the window and said, "I see children playing in the streets and families together outside." Again the Rabbi took the man by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. "Now what do you see?" the Rabbi asked him. The rich man answered, "I see only myself." The Rabbi then explained what he was showing this rich man. "Behold, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass in the mirror is covered with silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, now you see only yourself." A little silver can change what a man sees, no longer others, now only self! It doesn’t even take a lot, just a little. – Source Unknown
4. It wasn't the amount of silver that corrupted Judas, there was not likely a lot in their account at any one time.
a. This is still often true in the church today!
b. It was Judas' love for silver that was the problem.
5. Judas' corruption enabled him to sell Jesus for a paltry 30 pieces of silver! (This was about 4 month’s wages for a common laborer!)
a. How many Christians have sold out their salvation or ministry for silver?
b. How many Christians have gradually grown more and more silver conscious and no longer sacrifice like they once were willing to do?
c. The more we coat things with silver the more we see only a reflection of ourselves!
II. CRIME OF A SAINT! Jn. 13:1-30
A. Advantages Trashed! Jn. 13:1-21
1. Judas had lost sight of eternity and focused his main attention on the temporal.
a. This spiritual shortsightedness will be extraordinarily costly for him eternally – eternal damnation in exchange for about 3 years worth of stealing some silver as a disciple, and at the end of his career selling God out for 4 months wages for a common worker – money he never got to use anyway since he committed suicide!
b. When we invest only in the now our pension will be little to nothing!
2. Only a dozen men have had the special advantages of walking with Jesus, eating with Him, having fellowship with Him every day for years ... Judas threw away some of the greatest advantages that only a few men in history have ever had the privilege to have!
3. If an apostle could do this what could happen to someone like us!??
4. It was bad enough that Judas had the “character of a sinner,” this was however a terrible “crime of a saint!” He was one of the apostles!
a. Perhaps he tired of the constant struggle and was looking for “easy street!”
b. Those who think they have found easy street however discover a big surprise.
ILLUS: There really is a street labeled "EASY STREET" — it is found in Honolulu, Hawaii. Take the Pali Highway northbound going about a 1/3 of the way to the Pali pass and turn right on Park street. Go one block and there it is “EASY STREET” – the problem comes when you drive down "easy street" because you will reach a point with a sign that clearly reads; “DEAD END!” The real “EASY STREET” in Hawaii is a dead end street – and so it is in life too! – Source Unknown
5. Judas had Jesus washing his feet, taking care of him for years, loving him; yet in spite of all this Jesus knew he was going to betray Him!
a. Yet all this attention and love was spurned by Judas!
b. Even when Jesus pointed out that one of them was a betrayer Judas ignores this opportunity to break down and confess his sins!
c. The reason Jesus on several occasions brought this subject up was to hopefully convict Judas' heart, there was opportunity for repentance!
6. Each attempt however fails as Judas simply keeps his mind on silver!
7. He throws away all the advantages of walking with Jesus for a common laborer’s mere 4 months salary at the end, how many have done this for even less?
a. "I don't have time for God; I have to make a living you know?"
b. "When I get caught up, I'll do lots for the Lord, can't now, got to get more money first."
c. "My expenses are just so much I can't tithe now," etc!
B. Adherence Terminated! Jn. 13:22-30
1. Judas' growing love for silver was about to break his adherence to the group also, though he had remained connected to the group even that was about to go!
2. Weighed down by a craving for more of this world he leaves the group and commits the greatest sin of mankind, to walk away from Jesus!
a. The greatest sin is not something we do, but something we fail to do, the failure to accept Christ is the greatest sin and results in eternal loss!
b. He will “sink” to a new low!
c. Too much gold can make anyone sink if they grasp it too much and allow it to weigh them down!
ILLUS: Long ago a great ship struck a reef and began to sink. It was obvious to the people on board that they had only a few minutes to escape, so most abandoned all their possessions in favor of a life jacket and rowboat. However, one man on the ship ran and filled his pockets with gold from different staterooms and the ship's safe ... this took just long enough that all the rowboats were full when he finally emerged to go for safety. Finding however a lifejacket the man laughing put on the jacket and jumped overboard, delighted with his cunning to get all this gold and still find a jacket to escape! But, to his surprise, and to the watchful eyes of his friends the man quickly sank through the water to his death, the tremendous weight of the gold was no match for the life jacket’s buoyancy! Are you busy filling your pockets and hoping the lifejacket of salvation will hold you up when the storms come!? -- Source Unknown
3. It is interesting to note that when Jesus made very clear that one of the twelve was going to betray Him they couldn't figure out which one of them it was?
a. Judas had been a master actor all this time.
b. It is also interesting to note in this passage that while John was leaning on Jesus on one side that it is quite possible that it was Judas leaning on Jesus on the other side!
c. On one side therefore, was the disciple whom loved Jesus greatly, and likely on the other was a disciple whom loved jewels greatly!
4. Even when Judas leaves the other guys only think he is going out to help the poor or get provisions for them all!
5. No more horrific statement can be found in the Bible than verse 27 "as soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him."
a. How many believers eat the bread during communion but have sold their spiritual inheritance for more of this world's goods?
b. Can we be so hard on Judas when his sin is so common and temptation so commonplace?
6. He “left in the dark,” how true in both senses!!! Jn. 13:30
III. CASUALTY OF SILVER! Matt. 27:1-10
A. Accountability Time! Matt. 27:1-5
1. Judas managed to get by for a very long time undetected, but there always comes the time for making everything known!
a. No matter how long we get away with something, sooner or later it is revealed!
b. How hard it is for humans, even Christians to realize this!
ILLUS: In addition to being one of the most successful baseball managers of his day, John McGraw may have also been responsible for creating the need for a 3rd base umpire. Long before he became famous as a manager for the New York Giants, he had played 3rd base as a young man with the Baltimore Orioles. As a 3rd baseman he would get away time and time again with getting men on 3rd out as they ran to home by delaying them, by hooking his finger on their belts. When they tried to run, this would slow them down enough to get the ball into home plate to get an out ... but he never could get caught, until one runner demonstrated absolute proof. The runner had loosened his belt without McGraw noticing and so when he took off running McGraw was left holding by a finger his belt in his hand! This led to putting a 3rd base umpire in the game! – Source Unknown
2. Judas' love of silver had now come to an end, he got what he thought he wanted only to be seized upon by guilt, but not the kind of guilt that led to seeking out Jesus' forgiveness, instead it was guilt that led to his demise.
a. This was not true repentance; true repentance would have turned him around.
b. This was just sorrow, sorrow means only being sorry for what happened, but not necessarily doing anything to change it.
3. Judas had lost both relationships and riches, the two biggest reasons for suicides still!
a. What would have happened if he had run to Jesus instead of men who were just as unscrupulous as he was?
b. It was too late to get rid of the silver, but was it too late to find the Savior?
c. Instead of seeking life he tragically sought death!
4. Everything done in secret is now brought to light, as it always is!
5. His final error was suicide! He could have chosen a different way. This ended for him any hope of recovery since he failed to repent! IT WAS ACCOUNTABILITY TIME, as it will be one day for us all!
a. How will your account look one day?
b. How does it look now?
B. Awful Trade! Matt. 27:6-10
1. What he traded was life for death!
a. He wanted to really live it up; instead he traded in life for death!
b. He wanted happiness through things; instead he ended up with nothing and misery!
c. He wanted things his own way; instead no one did what he wanted!
d. He traded one of the most privileged positions of mankind, being one of the twelve apostles for the deepest levels of Hell!
e. He abandoned Jesus, now to be abandoned in Hell by Jesus!
2. Was the trade worth it? If he could talk now, BOY WOULD HE!
3. A little thing like the LOVE OF SILVER took a man from the highest privilege to the worse punishment!
a. What can it do to any of us?
b. Do you find yourself saying right now, “There goes another preacher harping about money?” If so, where's your heart!?
4. There is a "PEARL OF GREAT PRICE" that is greater than anything this world has to offer, His name is Jesus!
5. Don’t trade your soul for temporary things, keep your heart on Jesus, not on jewels! Matt. 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
CONCLUSION: Judas is one of the most tragic stories in the Bible, how did it happen? Believe it or not it all started and ended with a love for silver and gold. It is not money that corrupts; it is the love of money! Judas kept his eye on silver and never saw the savior! What are you looking for to bring you happiness? Better to find Jesus than jewels!