GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 47
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|We’re going to examine three aspects of the life of Judas so that we can examine our own lives to see whether we have genuine faith or we’re just putting on an act.|
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
This morning we’re going to examine three aspects of the life of Judas so that we can examine our own lives to see whether we have genuine faith or we’re just putting on an act; to examine ourselves this morning to see if you and I have genuine faith or that we’re just acting as if we’re following the Lord.
If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Mark 14:10. And let me just say right out of the gate we’re going to do a more topical approach. If you’re coming this morning to Brainerd Baptist Church, this is not the norm. We normally will take a text and camp out on the text. But this morning I think it’s good for the edification of our church to take a topical approach and look at the life of Judas. We’re going to glean some things from looking at the life of Judas and you just can’t do it in two verses. So Mark 14:10: “Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him [Jesus, that is] to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.”
So the question is, who is Judas Iscariot? Let me give you three progressions. The first one is let me talk about Judas’ confusion. Judas was confused. In the first century, the name Judas, believe it or not, was a good name. In fact, people used to name their kids, or children, Judas. But that’s not the case anymore. No one names their children Judas anymore. But in the first century it was a good name. It’s actually from the root of the word that means Judah, which means in Hebrews God leads or Jehovah leads. So it was actually a good name. I believe Judas’ parents could have been practicing Jews. They were faithful men and women of God. They were believers in God who actually desired for good things to happen for their son. They maybe had aspirations of God leading their son out and doing great things for God.
The first part of his name is not really important. It’s the second part of his name, which is Iscariot. Now, Iscariot in the Greek means Kerioth. Kerioth is important for one reason. Kerioth was a town that was 23 miles south of Jerusalem. You go from Jerusalem two miles down to Bethlehem, and then you continue on 21 miles due south and you get the Kerioth. Don’t miss this. If you miss this, you miss the whole thing. Kerioth is the only place of a disciple who was part of the 12 which was outside of Galilee. Judas was the only disciple not from the Galilee region. He was an outsider. He was someone not of the fold. And that made it very easy for him to disguise who he was. He was an outsider. They didn’t know who he was. They didn’t know where he came from.
And so Judas traveled as an outsider to seek out Jesus. Why? He had a desire for money. He had an interest purely in financial gain and not spiritual. He didn’t follow Jesus because Jesus would save him from his sins, he followed Jesus to line his pockets. And this is what he said, I’ve got one shot in life and if I hook up with Jesus Christ then Jesus, maybe, can take me to the financial promised land. That’s what he said. And so that’s what he did. He sought out Jesus. Listen, he acted on his own will. No one coerced Judas to follow Jesus. This was a man following his own path and his own way and his own will. However, the flip side is this. Even though Judas acted on his own will, it was part of the providential plan of God to carry out God’s will.
Now Judas had a misunderstanding of Jesus. Like many of the disciples Judas thought the Messiah would come and take over the whole world. He thought He would come on the clouds, riding a horse, coming back to destroy the Romans and the Greeks from oppressing the Jews. And so that’s the man he followed. But Judas wasn’t alone. You can’t really fault Judas. At the beginning of Jesus’ calling of the disciples, all the disciples had a misunderstanding of who Jesus was, and I’ll prove it to you.
If you’ve studied the book of Mark with us and you’ve been here from the beginning, you realize that Jesus had to teach the disciples on three different occasions about what His main ministry was. Jesus said in Mark 8, I’m going to go and be delivered into the hands of the chief priests and the elders. They’re going to send me to the cross. I’m going to die and then I’m going to be raised from the dead on the third day. He talked about it in Mark 8. He talked about it in Mark 9. He talked about it in Mark 10.
And then after—go back and look it up—every time Jesus talked about His death and resurrection, the disciples talked about one thing every time. Do you remember what it was? Hey Jesus, when you get into Glory, can you remember some of us. I mean, we want to know who’s the greatest because we want to know who’s at the right hand and who’s at the left hand. When You get into Your power and You become King of the world, can we have a spot at the table? Jesus, are we going to be on the platform with You? Don’t forget about us. And Jesus had to teach them over and over and over. What’s said is Luke 22:24. Write it down.
At the Last Supper, Jesus is instituting the Last Supper. He’s eating the final meal with the disciples and the disciples got into a dispute. A dispute arose over what? Who was the greatest. They’re still arguing at the end of their life about who’s the greatest. But, see, here’s the difference. The difference between the life of Judas and the life of the disciples was this: after following Jesus for some time, the disciples grew closer to Christ. Judas grew further away from Christ. As the disciples’ hearts were softened, Judas’ heart was hardened. Why? Because he was still the captain of his own ship. He was still leading his own life. He was still following his own agenda.
So we see the confusion of Judas. He was a man who was confused. He had a confusing understanding of the Messiah and he had a confusing understanding of his purpose in life, which was greed and money. So first of all we see the confusion, which leads into the second aspect, which is his corruption, the corruption of Judas. Write this down, it’s not in your notes, we see the perversion of Judas. We see the perversion of Judas.
If you and I were to list the top ten most despicable, wicked people who’ve ever walked the face of the earth, we would take time and we would list different people. We’d take some of the worst rapists. Over the last couple of years the term serial killer has come about and so we’d write down some of the serial killers. We’d write down men or women who harm little children. They’d make the list. But undoubtedly we’d have two men on the list. We’d have Hitler on the list; we’d have Stalin on the list. But listen to me. No matter what list you’re writing, by anybody in this church or beyond, the number one person at the top of the list, of any list is who? The most despicable, wicked person to walk the planet is who? Judas. That old wretched man Judas, right? Judas made the list.
Now, there are some people who doubt this belief. In fact, if you study some of these liberal scholars, they will say that Judas wasn’t a bad man. He was just a misguided individual, that he was a good man and that Judas, the reason he turned Jesus over for silver was because he believed that Jesus would destroy the world. And he watched Jesus drag His feet through ministry and what he decided was this: Jesus, if You’re not going to start the war, I am. Jesus, I’ve seen You walk on water. I’ve seen You raise the dead. I’ve seen You heal people. For You to knock out a legion of soldiers with the blink of any eye or snap of a finger is nothing. And so I’m going to go turn You in so that the game can be on. And that’s what some people believe.
Although that concept is interesting, it’s completely wrong. In fact, when you look at the New Testament, it’s completely incorrect. What we have to do as Bible scholars and Bible students is we have to piece together the whole counsel of God to determine who this man was. It doesn’t take long before we realize that Judas didn’t have a good heart, that Judas was out to serve himself
Go to John 6:70, our first clue. Jesus is teaching the disciples. Jesus just gives them a very difficult teaching. Judas doesn’t leave. A lot of people leave but Judas doesn’t leave. Judas stays. Notice verse 70: “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a [diablos] .’” One of you is a devil. Did you catch that? A devil. What blows me away is the disciples were oblivious to who it was. I mean, it went right past them. They’re looking around, who can that be? They didn’t say right away it was Judas. Why? Because he was a hypocrite. He was the best hypocrite to ever walk the face of the earth. He was a master con artist. You would have never looked on the outside and notice that Judas was a devil because he put on an act.
Now, how in the world could Jesus say that about Judas? How would He know that he’s a devil? Obviously, He’s God. But the Old Testament prophesied about it. The Old Testament predicted that one would come and betray the Lord. It was prophesied of God. Write the second one down. We see the perversion of Judas; we see the prophecy of God. Now, there are three prophecies I want you to see and consider, so we have to go back to the Old Testament. Join me in Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
In the Old Testament, Psalm 41 speaks of a coming betrayer, one who would be—look at it—a close friend, one friend who would eat bread together. When you ate bread with another person, it was a sign of intimate fellowship. It was a sign of friendship. It was a sign of comradery. So Jesus, or the psalmist, is saying there will be one that you will trust and care for, but he will turn his heel against you. You know what that means? He will betray you. He will deceive you. He will come against you. This prophecy is about Judas.
Go to Psalm 55. I’ll give you another one. Verse 12, “For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. Part of the group; we used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
See, it’s one thing for an enemy to be disrespectful. It’s one thing for an outsider to degrade you. It’s one thing for someone who is not part of the fold to put you down or to act rudely to you. But it’s another thing when a friend, a companion, someone you’ve lived with, someone you’ve worked with, someone in the family, to turn against you. And that’s what the psalmist says. He will not be someone who’s an acquaintance—get this—he’ll be from the inner circle. This man will betray you. It’s talking about Judas. What an incredible picture of Judas.
Go to Zechariah 11 for the last one. Zechariah 11:12: “Then I said to them, ‘If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.’ And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of [What?] silver. Then the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.” Judas left, as we see in Mark 14—back to our text for this morning—he left the Last Supper with the disciples to negotiate a price.
Now this is just a side note. Did you notice that Jesus doesn’t give the promises, the assurance of heaven, or actually institute the Last Supper with the disciples until Judas is gone? Did you catch that? Why? Because he’s out of the fold. He’s not part of the promises of God. He’s not part of the inner circle. So he’s gone. Jesus waits until he leaves. But what he’s doing is he’s negotiating a price. Judas had fooled the disciples so much that they thought he was out giving money to the poor. Oh, there’s Judas again cleaning up or taking care of ministry. Boy, we love Judas. He’d fooled them so well. But Jesus is back with the disciples. Now what is he doing? He’s negotiating 30 pieces of silver for Jesus. What’s amazing is the only thing this con artist can bargain for the price of selling our Lord to them was 30 pieces of silver. Does that blow you away? Thirty pieces of silver.
Look at Matthew 26:14: “Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’” What kind of deal can we make? They said to Judas that’s all you’re going to get is 30 pieces of silver. “And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.”
Do you know how much 30 pieces of silver is worth? Exodus 21:32 tells us that—get this—the price of a slave, a menial servant, was worth 30 pieces of silver. The price of a slave. Judas sold Jesus for the price of a slave, or how much He was worth to him, which was the equivalent of $20 today. That’s all he could get. $20 or $30 for our Lord. John MacArthur said this, the pastor of Grace Church, Judas was trying to find the door to hell that was the most convenient for him and when he found it, he plunged into it. He feared Jesus’ popularity. He even feared the crowd. Look at Matthew 26:48. I’ll show you how the story ends. He found a time to take advantage of Jesus. Jesus is in the garden praying with the disciples. Verse 47: “While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.’ And he came up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!””
Notice that. Greetings, Teacher! And he kissed him. You know what the text says? The text says, in the language of the New Testament, that he kissed Him and kissed him and kissed him. A kiss was a mark of affection. It was a mark of friendship. It was a mark of love. Feel the weight of this. And then it says these words: “Jesus said to him, “Friend [Did you catch that?] “Friend, do what you came to do.”
I want to submit that Jesus Christ was hurt deeply by this. It’s one thing to be attacked by the chief priests. It’s one thing to be tortured by the soldiers. It’s one thing to be taken advantage of by the elders and the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the scribes and Pontius Pilate and the governor. It’s another thing to be disrespected and defamed by a friend. Can you imagine? This is not somebody on the outside. This is someone on the inside. It hurt Jesus so deeply that He simply said to Judas, do it and do it quickly. A poet once said, “It may not be for silver, it may not be for gold. But yet by tens of thousands, the Prince of life is sold. Sold for a godless friendship. Sold for a selfish aim. Sold for a fleeting trifle. Sold for an empty name. Sold in the mart of science. Sold in the seat of power. Sold at the shrine of fortunes. Sold in pleasure’s hour. Sold for your awful bargain, none but God’s eye can see. Ponder my soul the question, shall Jesus be sold by thee? It’s easy to point the finger. The question is would we do the same.
His confusion. His corruption. Judas was corrupt from the heart. But then we see the condemnation of Judas, the final aspect of the text. His condemnation. As we mentioned earlier, John 6:70, Jesus said one of you is a [diablos] or what? Or is a devil. But go to John 17. Jesus is finishing His ministry moments before the soldiers come. “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction [Why?], that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
No one is going to perish except for the son of destruction. What does the word destruction mean? It’s another word for perdition. There’s only one time in the New Testament where the word destruction or perdition is used again. It’s in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and it’s talking about the Antichrist. The word perdition or destruction means lostness. It means that at the core of who this person is, he’s on a path of destruction and corruption. To be a son of righteousness or honesty means you breathe righteousness or good deeds. You bear good fruit. To be a son of destruction means that by your very nature you’re lost. You’re heading to a place of eternal punishment and that’s why Jesus calls him the devil. Now, Judas is without excuse. He has no excuse as to why he’s heading on this direction because Jesus, time and time again, gave him every opportunity to repent. Did you know that? Every single opportunity. It started in Matthew 6:24.
Turn there. Matthew 6:24, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount says these words to Judas and the crowd. Verse 24. “No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”
Who is within five feet of this sermon? Who is in an earshot of this message? Who was there the entire time? It was Judas? Who do you think Jesus is talking to in this context? Judas. Brother, I know the pocket book of money is in your pocket but you can’t serve two masters. You either one or hate the other. Jesus goes on. Let’s back up to Matthew 6:19: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Who do you think He’s talking to in this passage? He’s talking to Judas. Turn, brother! He’s talking to the crowd but He’s specifically honing in on Judas. Turn, Judas! You can’t serve both God and money. Time and time again, over and over and over, he rejected the message of repentance. How could this happen? I mean, how could Judas be in the midst of Jesus and how could this happen? Here’s a great saying. The sun that hardens the clay melts the wax also. The disciples’ hearts were being melted before the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ and all the while Judas’ heart was being hardened. The message of repentance was continually offered to Judas and he rejected it.
You know what it shows me? That if you’ve been coming to Brainerd Baptist Church and you’re hearing the message of the Lord Jesus Christ and your heart is continually hardening and hardening and hardening, it’s better for you not to come anymore. Because that’s what happened to Judas. His heart had gotten so hard that he was hardened to the gospel. If you, being in presence of Christ, and your heart is hardening, it’s better for you to get away than to end up like Judas. He was a man of corruption. He was a man of selfishness. This was clearly displayed in his final hour.
Go to Matthew 26, final scripture, probably the most convincing. Matthew 26:20. Jesus is at the Passover reclining. They reclined at the Passover with the twelve: “And as they were eating, he said, ‘Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, ‘Is it I, Lord?’”
Now what Jesus did was this. They would have the meal. They would have bread at the table. Jesus pulled off a piece of bread and He would dip it in this jam-like substance. And He took the bread and what you would do with the bread is you would give it to the honored guest first. That was the honored guest. That was the person who was at the seat of respect. So Jesus dips the bread. He says, The one the I’m going to give the bread to will betray Me. We don’t know if He said it to the group. We don’t know if He whispered it to John, but He said it. And then all of a sudden, He says, One of you is going to betray Me. Now what do the disciples say? Is it I, Lord? Is it I, Lord?
Now, you and I are baffled by this, because we kind of think Judas, because of the account of his life, is a man in the backroom wringing his hands together with a hook nose and a sinister look the whole time, right? Boy, I can’t wait to take that money. That’s what we think Judas looks like. But that is the complete opposite of what Judas looked like. Judas looked like one of the twelve. He blended in so well because he was the hypocrite of hypocrites. He was the most corrupt person who ever walked the face of the earth. He was the epitome of corruption. He was the master con artist. You would have never picked him out of the group. In fact, he probably would have been the last person to ever be picked. He was a smooth talker even to the point to the end of the ministry.
Remember last week, Jesus goes into the house of Simon the Leper and then Mary breaks this bottle of expensive nard and Judas stands up and says, Hey, listen, we could have sold that nard and given the money and taken care of the poor. We could have built wells in Africa! We could have gone on a mission trip. Why did we do that? And everyone said, Wow, Judas. You’ve got your perspectives in the right place. There’s Judas thinking about ministry again. He fooled them all. He fooled every one of the disciples.
You know what that shows me about you and I? That we can be fooled even in this place by people who look like believers but are not. Is it me, Jesus? said Matthew. Peter, Is it me? John, Is it me, Lord? Bartholomew, Is it me, Lord? Notice what Judas says, Is it I, Rabbi? The word Lord means to put or to acknowledge Jesus as Lord of your life, that He’s in control and not you. Judas, at the end of his life, was still calling Jesus rabbi. Did you catch it?
Now, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, That’s old Judas. That’s Judas. We know Judas would have done that. Don’t miss this. Judas was chosen by Jesus. He lived with Him for three and a half years. He traveled with Him everywhere He went. He heard every truth that Jesus taught. He witnessed every miracle that Jesus displayed. He was one of the 72 that was sent into the world to cast out demons and to heal and prophesy. He experienced the compassion and love that Jesus extended to every person He healed. He shared meals with Jesus. He even probably slept on the ground next to Jesus at times.
But at the end of the day, he’s still calling Jesus rabbi. He’s still the captain of his own ship. He’s still on the throne of his own heart. He admired Jesus. He liked hanging out with Jesus. He appreciated His messages. He even enjoyed listening to His sermons. But when push came to shove, Judas was still in control. It was Judas’ way and not Jesus’ way.
This morning I want to share something with you with great humility. It shows us that if it happened to Judas, it could happen to anybody. You may be a second or third generation Christian. You may have been raised in church. You may have attended Sunday School since you were five years old. You may sing in the choir. You may serve in the church. You may have an office in this church. You may occupy a spot on a ministry team. You may have heard thousands of sermons. You may admire Jesus. You may even cry about Him when you sing. But when push comes to shove, Jesus is not in control of your life; you are. Because you’re the captain of your own ship, not Jesus. Jesus to you is still rabbi, not Lord. You may have a ministry. You may sing or perform for thousands. You may preach to hundreds. You may cloth the homeless and help the helpless but Jesus is not in control. You are.
Matthew 7:21, Jesus warned against this: “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 Jesus said] I will say to them Depart from Me. I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness.”
“Hey, Jesus, it’s Mike. Do you remember me?”
“Do I know you?”
“Hey, it’s Susan. I used to go to church. You remember me? I was on the back row. It was me.”
“Who are you? Do I know you?”
Is that you?
“But Jesus, you don’t understand. My mom was a mighty, humble woman of God. My dad was a deacon in the Baptist church. God, you know all the sacrifices I made? You know all the things I did for You?”
“Do I know you?”
How do I know if I’m in the kingdom of God? How do I know if Jesus is Lord of my life? Have you repented of your sins and placed your faith completely in Christ? Is Jesus leading your life or is it you? Do you have a hunger for spiritual things? Do you desire to be in the Word of God? Do you have the spiritual desire to serve people that is burned from within? Do you have a love for other people? Is your agenda to serve others and not yourself? Do you have a generous heart? Do you spend time prayer initiated by the Lord?
My friends let me ask you a question. You come to the house of God every Sunday but does God go to your house? It’s what happened to Judas. Judas knew all the right words, knew all the right answers. He looked the part. He acted the part. But when push came to shove, Jesus was not in control. He was.
I don’t know about you but I want my life to count for what’s more than what’s said when I die. I want my life to amount for more than what people say about me. Robby was a great golfer—I’m not, but that would be nice to say, right, when I die—He got a Ph.D. He traveled the world. He wrote 20 books. He spoke 15 languages. He had a big church. He played all, he played well with others. He performed in concerts all over the world. He sung for thousands. He traveled the nations on mission trips. He had an enormous house. He had a 401(k) plan. You should have seen the car this drove or you should have seen the boat he had. You should have seen the neighborhood he lived in. You should have seen the money he had at the end of his life.
Do you think that’s going to impress the King of the Universe? Do you think God’s going to be impressed with that? Do you know what impresses God? Come in, Mike. Come here, Elizabeth. Come here, David. Do I see Christ in you? I do. I see Christ in you. That’s what impresses God. And I want to ask you this morning to think of this question. Does Jesus have every key to every room of my heart? Does Jesus have every key to every room of my heart?