Judas was among the called. The master found him and called him. Judas dropped all he was doing and followed the master. We are not told what his profession was or else we would vilify all who belong to that profession. But it wasn’t his profession that was the issue. It was his soul.
Judas walked with The Lord but nothing he heard or saw in the master’s ministry made an impact on his life. He saw what the Lord Jesus was capable of; his power to heal, save and deliver, but it made zero impact on him. He was there when blind Bartemaeus cried out to The Lord for mercy and witnessed The Lord restore his sight. He followed The Lord on his way to the centurion’s house. The Lord stopped on the road and said someone had touched him. A woman ran out of the crowd and confessed that she had been sick for several years but when she touched the hem of his garment, she was instantly healed. But none of these miracles touched his heart in any way. No wonder Jesus cursed the great cities which saw his miracles yet remained antithetical to the gospel. Unless the Holy Spirit moves miracles in themselves cannot turn a hardened heart to Jesus.
Judas was in the ministry with Jesus but he was in it for what he could use the Master to get. He was in the ministry to enrich himself. He used his title as ‘an apostle of Jesus’ to scam as much money as he could from the multitudes. When Jesus sent them out to go and heal the sick in Luke 9, Judas probably used the opportunity to ‘raise some funds for the ministry.’ He wasn’t thinking about what to do to expand the kingdom but all he wanted was what he could use Jesus and the kingdom to accomplish for himself.
A rich lady brought an expensive bottle of perfume, broke it and anointed the head of Jesus. Jesus commended her for her prescient act of worship. But not Judas. He was infuriated at the act of selfless, exuberant, heart-felt worship demonstrated by the prostitute. He complained that she should have sold the perfume, given the money to the ministry and from there given to the poor.
John the apostle noted that Judas never cared for the poor. He probably despised them. John said that Judas stole regularly from the purse. If John knew he stole from the purse, that means all the other apostles also knew he stole from the purse. Judas probably exposed himself by his wanton display of riches: an expensive Samaritan robe which competed with the master’s seamless robe, exclusive Roman sandals made only for the senators of the republic, a gold ring which graced the index finger of his right hand. Judas must have stood out among the disciples by his ostentatious life style and they must have wondered, ‘where is he getting this money from?’ It was soon discovered that the covetous disciple was helping himself freely to the contents of the purse.
Obviously Jesus knew he stole from the purse but didn’t take away the purse from him or take away his calling as an apostle away from him. He gave him enough opportunity to turn from his ways of profiting from the ministry but Judas chose rather to die with money than repent.
You may wonder why Jesus did not expose, shame and expel Judas from the ministry. First, the gifts and the callings of God are without repentance. Romans 11: 29. That means when God gives you a gift He doesn’t take it back. You may reject it, abandon it, bury it in the ground, run away from it, even misuse it, but God will never take it back from you.
Second, God is not in the business of shaming those he has called to serve in the kingdom.
Third, Judas was not the only flawed disciple of Jesus. We all are flawed in some way. Peter, Thomas, John were all flawed. Peter denied Christ. Thomas doubted. John was full of himself and wanted to sit on the Lord’s right hand. The good thing was that they all repented and became great instruments for God and the kingdom.
Judas never cared for the Master’s cause. He never cared to pursue the Master’s will. All he was interested in was how to use the Master to become rich and successful. His covetousness eventually led to his selling the Master for 30 pieces of silver. This money was cursed. He betrayed The Lord for money but that money was a fire that consumed him and led to his destruction. Judas was not contented with what Jesus had to give him. He was not contented with being with the Master, he wanted more…much more than the Master could give him.
What drove Judas to throw away the high calling, the holy calling on his life? What made him disdain and trash God’s divine purpose for his life? Was it money or material things he needed that Jesus couldn’t provide for him? Was he not there when Jesus blessed five loaves and two fishes and it fed a crowd of five thousand ? Was he not present when Jesus told Peter to cast his hook into the sea, open the mouth of the first fish he caught, take a coin from inside its mouth and pay the government? He was present at all these events but his eyes were blinded by greed, his soul was eaten by covetousness. He decided to put his own life in his hands and betrayed the Master for money. His covetousness sabotaged him, sabotaged his calling, sabotaged his future.
1 Timothy 6:5-6
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:from such withdraw thyself.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
There are those in the ministry who think they are there to make money and get rich. There are prominent pastors who have misrepresented Jesus by making it look as if the reason they are in the ministry is to make money and to become rich. You see them on television boast and flaunt their possessions and power. This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a strange gospel, another gospel, an alien gospel to the kingdom. It is the gospel of demons. These men and women are wolves clothed in sheep clothing. They quote a lot of scripture but the bottom line for them is money.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
These men and women deliberately misinterpret, misuse and abuse scripture so that they can extort money from the gullible. They deceive the ignorant multitudes, promising them riches and a life of affluence which appeals to the carnal nature of men. These ministers are not interested in saving the souls of men but enriching themselves through the preaching of the gospel.
Dear friend, ask yourself, “why am I in ministry? Why am I doing what I am doing?” If the answer is ‘to become famous, to become great, to become a millionaire,’ you are lost. If your reason for being in ministry is not to pursue the high calling of God on your life and to rescue the souls of men from perdition, something is wrong. If you are in ministry thinking that you will use the platform of the gospel to ‘become great’, you have already derailed from the path of Christ.
We should not use the gospel as a means to pursue our own personal ambition, to execute a hidden agenda, to fulfil a flesh-driven dream and to satisfy a carnal pleasure. Our sole aim in life should be to pursue the Master’s will for our lives and serve His eternal purpose. We should deny ourselves and nail every carnal ambition, desire, vision and motivation to the cross of Christ and leave them there. We should remember that there is a blessing in our total obedience to do His will.