A comment on an old post yesterday questioned whether or not Judas served Jesus. I thought it might be helpful to share some of it here as to whether or not Judas served Jesus. Now granted we all know Judas was not ultimately serving the Lord; however, according to all anyone could see Judas served the Lord even better than the average believer today does. But ultimately it isn’t a matter of service but a matter of the heart. But for the Grace of the Lord we would all be a Judas even while we serve the Lord.
The general misconception that most Christians have about Judas is that he was noticeably different from the other disciples. See we have a hard time seeing Judas as he was when he walked with Jesus. Jesus chose Judas and knew what Judas was and what he would do. However, the disciples had no clue about Judas. Judas was an accepted member of the disciples. Not only that, he was given an honored position by the disciples to be in charge of the moneybag. You don’t give that job to a known thief.
John 12:6 (ESV) He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.
We must remember this was written after the fact of the betrayal and suicide of Judas. Judas was not known to be stealing beforehand by the disciples or, believe me, they would have dealt with it. These were men who argued over being at the right hand of the Lord in the kingdom. They would have had no problem pointing out Judas if it was known what he was doing.
Remember also at the Last Supper that the disciples had no clue who was going to betray Christ.
John 13:21-30 (ESV)
21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus,
24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.
30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Notice none of the disciples had a clue who would betray Jesus – “uncertain of whom he spoke.” Even when Jesus gave the morsel to Judas and told him to go quickly and do what he was going to do, the disciples had no clue. The idea that Judas would betray Jesus was foreign to them just as the thought that they would deny Jesus was equally foreign. Our hearts can and will deceive us.
We as Christians do ourselves a disservice when we think of Judas as embodying evil and being a totally selfish, self-centered evil person and the other disciples as serving Jesus. The other disciples where totally selfish, self-centered evil people just like Judas, except for the grace of God every one of them could have done the same as Judas did. There is nothing to separate us from being a Judas except for the Mercy and Grace of the Lord.
As a disciple of Jesus this is what Judas did:
- He followed Jesus. (Matthew 8:21)
- He had no home to sleep in because he followed Jesus. (Matthew 8:18-22)
- He listened to Jesus speaking and teaching, both public and private. (Matthew 5:1)
- He was with Jesus when He calmed the storm. (Matthew 8:23-27)
- He ate with sinners and tax collectors, just as Jesus did. (Matthew 9:10, Mark 2:15)
- He saw Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. (Matthew 9:18-26)
- He was given authority over unclean spirits and to heal every disease and affliction. (Matthew 10:1)
- He was sent out by Jesus to preach, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:5-8)
- Rebuked by the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:1-2, Matthew 15:2, Mark 2:23-24)
- He helped feed the people when Jesus fed the 5,000. (Matthew 14:19)
- He saw Jesus walking upon the sea. (Matthew 14:26)
- He wasn’t the only disciple who complained about Mary at Bethany and the extravagance of her gift. (Matthew 26:7-9, John 12:4-6)
- He may have participated in the first Lord’s Supper of the bread and the cup, albeit unworthily. (Luke 22:17-23)
- Notice though that Judas was never rebuked by the Lord unlike Peter who was often rebuked. (Mark 8:33)
Who of us have done so much? Service is not the issue; the heart is.
Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)
22 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?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
So see the whole point of this passage is that these rejected people truly thought they were serving the Lord.
I think it is more helpful to believers to understand that we might be doing everything seemingly “right” and serving the Lord in multitudes of ways. Yet when the final end comes be told to depart from the Lord because He doesn’t know us.
While it is true that the Bible states that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), the Bible also states that our hearts are deceitfully wicked and will deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9). We may deceive ourselves into thinking that we are serving the Lord when in fact we are serving ourselves or another.
Except for the Grace of God we might all turn out to be a Judas.
Those in Matthew 7:22-23 we can’t assume that those individuals have intentionally been deceptive. That they even know they are not serving the Lord. There are many, many individuals whose testimony points to serving the Lord in all ways possible and giving all they own to serve the Lord yet at some point the Lord opens their eyes to see that they were far from Him.
Biblical example being Paul who did all he possibly could to serve God prior to being stopped on the Damascus Road. Paul was not putting on a show but serving at 110%. Yet he was deceived. It wasn’t until the Lord opened Paul’s eyes that he could see how wrong he was.
There are pastors, deacons and missionaries who can attest to the fact that they served the Lord as fully as they knew how but until the Lord opened their eyes and changed their hearts they were lost.
Here is the testimony of a preacher’s wife and missionary who did not question her salvation until years after serving on the mission field and being a pastor’s wife. She is one of many that did have her eyes opened to the truth to see that her service was as filthy rags to the Lord. Many, many today have not had their eyes opened to the truth yet.
Charo Washer – video
Charo Washer – PDF
This is given from the perspective of having her eyes opened to the truth. However, if you had questioned her years before she would have insisted she was serving the Lord in the best way she could and that she was saved. She was not intentionally deceiving. We can easily deceive ourselves and others.
That is why reading or listening to things such as the following are so helpful. There are many walking around with deceived hearts.
Ten Tests of True Christianity
How are You Serving God
Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven
Six Signs of a False Conversion
We must give the Lord our all. But many are deceived and think they have. That is why we are told to test ourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:5-7 (ESV)
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.
We don’t know our hearts perfectly.
1 Corinthians 8:2-3 (ESV)
2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
Here in the South many, many people are serving the Lord daily by being pastors, teachers, deacons and even missionaries while the Lord doesn’t know them. They have been deceived by someone or even by themselves into thinking they have given the Lord their all.