LEARNING FROM JUDAS’ MISTAKES PART 1

INTRODUCTION

One of the things that we parents do is teach and instruct our children. We teach them what’s wrong and what’s right. We teach them to do right. To live right. To believe right. Why do we teach them? Because we love them. We care very deeply about them. And we don’t want them to make wrong decisions that will hurt them or get them into trouble. We don’t want to see them suffer. So we do everything within our power to keep them from getting burned or hurt.

Our Father God is the same way with us. He loves us deeply. So deeply that He sacrificed His Son on the cross so that we can be saved. Since the day we got saved, God’s set Himself to teaching us a lot of things. He’s doing everything He can to make sure we make it to Heaven and stay out of Hell’s fires.

Now God has many ways of teaching us. He uses different methods that are best suited to each person’s style of learning.

  •  Some people learn best by teaching or  instruction. A sermon or Bible study is all they need to learn the lesson and live by it.
  •   Others learn best by example. They look at what other people did and they learn to either do the same thing or else not do it.
  •  And others learn best in the school of hard knocks. No matter how much or how hard you try and tell them, they just won’t listen. They’ll go ahead and make their own decision. Alas, they find out the hard way that their way was the wrong way.

Today we want to learn some very valuable life lessons by example. In the Bible, some people, like Abraham and Moses, set a good example for us to follow or copy. Other people, like Korah or Demas, set a bad example. But even though they set a bad example, their names and deeds are written in Scripture so that we can learn from their mistakes and not duplicate or repeat them.

One person who made big time  wrong decisions is Judas Iscariot. Judas, as you know, was one of the Lord’s twelve apostles. It was he who betrayed the Lord and set in motion the events that ultimately culminated in Jesus’ death. The brief Scriptural record of his life is filled with grief and tragedy, but  it’s also rich in lessons that we must learn.

You see, human nature being what it is, we are not a whole lot unlike Judas Iscariot. You might disagree with me on this point and that’s fine. But I hope to show you the Judas that’s in a lot of us as we go through these blog posts. We all have something to learn from Judas’ mistakes. So let’s begin by looking at five stages in Judas’ demise.

1. Judas’ Objection To Mary’s Use Of Ointment

John 12:1-6, Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. {2} There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. {3} Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. {4} Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, {5} Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

A denarius, or pence, is worth about 18¢ today. Three hundred denarii, then, would amount to $54. That would be expensive ointment even by today’s standards.

But the exchange rate is not as accurate as this. You see, a single denarius was the average wage a common laborer made for a day’s work. If we want to bring that denarius up to today’s standards, let’s suppose that a common laborer today makes $8 an hour and works 8 hours a day. A day’s wage, then, would be $64. This, roughly speaking, is what an ancient denarius would be worth today. Now if we multiply this single denarius by 300, which is what Judas wanted the sell the ointment for, then the ointment that Mary used on our Lord was worth $19,200!

That, dear brethren, is an expensive and extravagant gift of ointment! No wonder why Judas and the rest of the apostles were outraged by what Mary did (Matthew 26:8-9, Mark 14:4-5). If someone here today used over $19,000 worth of ointment or perfume to anoint someone’s feet, wouldn’t you be indignant and critical of this seemingly senseless waste of ointment? I dare say you would! I guess we’re not a whole lot unlike Judas.

{6} This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

THE MISTAKE. The Bible’s first-recorded words of Judas Iscariot were his objection to Mary’s use of a very costly ointment to anoint the feet of our Lord. The ointment could have been sold for over $19,000 in today’s money and the money given to the poor.

Judas’ interest, however, was not in helping the poor, but rather, in helping himself. You see, Judas had the bag. He was the treasurer of the apostolic company. Whenever people donated money to the Lord and the apostles, the money would be put in a single, common, money bag. As treasurer, Judas carried the money bag. He was in charge of the money. Whenever the apostolic company needed to buy things, pay for services, or give money to the poor; Judas was the fellow who made these purchases and forked over the dough (John 13:29).

Unfortunately, Judas was not only the apostolic treasurer, but he was also a thief (John 12:6). Being the thief that he was, Judas regularly stole money out of the bag for his own selfish use or gain.

His objection to Mary’s extravagant use, or waste, of this precious ointment was motivated by the fact that, had this ointment been sold for over $19,000 he could have pocketed quite a bit of this money for himself and still have some money left over to give to the poor. Judas lost an opportunity to enrich himself quite handsomely! And he was mad!

JUDAS HAD A SIN PROBLEM. It was a love, or lust, for money. And this lust caused him to steal money from our Lord. Apparently, Judas hid his sin quite well because no one knew, or even suspected, that Judas was the rotten apple among them. It wasn’t until after Judas’ death that the Lord brought Judas’ sin to light so that by the time John wrote his Gospel account he could look back at what Mary did and understand the real reason for Judas’ vociferous objection: he objected because he lost a golden opportunity to pocket a whole lot of money for himself.

Judas, I am saying, had a sin problem. And INSTEAD OF DEALING WITH HIS AVARICE, INSTEAD OF TURNING AWAY FROM HIS GREED, HE NURTURED AND HID THAT SIN. He hid it so well that none of the other apostles were aware of his sin.

THE LESSON? Brethren, BEWARE OF WHAT SINS, LUSTS, ADDICTIONS, WEAKNESSES, OR HABITS, YOU HARBOR AND HIDE. Numbers 32:23 warns and assures us, be sure your sin will find you out. You can’t hide your sin forever. Sooner or later, you will be caught. You will be exposed. You won’t get away with it. God Himself will see to that. As Judas was consequently exposed as a thief, so you will be too. You can be sure of that!

Sin is like fire: it’ll burn you. Proverbs 6:27 asks us,  Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? When you toy with sin you will be burned! You might enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, but be assured of this one thing: SIN UNREPENTED OF WILL EVENTUALLY KILL YOU—SPIRITUALLY, ETERNALLY, PERHAPS EVEN PHYSICALLY. Brethren, YOU’RE ONLY HURTING YOURSELF—NOT TO MENTION OTHERS—WHEN YOU NURTURE YOUR LOVE OR LUST FOR SIN.

Harboring a hidden sin inside you is like carrying a grenade around. The only thing of it is, the pin has already been pulled and it’s only a matter of time before that grenade goes off and kills you. Your job as a Christian is to get rid of that grenade. For some, the grenade has been ticking away for a number of years and your time is just about up. The grenade is about to go off. And you don’t have a whole lot of time left to make your mind up. You’ve played with sin long enough and the Lord’s giving you what might well be your last chance to save yourself. Be assured of this one thing. If you choose to hold on the grenade of sin, you will be killed.

Brethren, extinguish the fires of your lusts so that you don’t end up in Hell’s fires. THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE WILL NOT BE RESOLVED OR REMEDIED UNTIL YOU BRING  THEM  OUT IN THE OPEN, ADMIT YOU’VE GOT PROBLEMS, THEN WORK TO GET RID OF THOSE PROBLEMS. You may need help. So get it! THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE AREN’T GOING TO GO AWAY BY THEMSELVES. THEY’LL GO WHEN YOU PUT THEM AWAY. THEY’LL END WHEN YOU TERMINATE YOUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH SIN.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 2. The problem with committing one sin is you don’t stop with just one. One sin leads to more. Sin is addictive. Drop by for a visit next time and I’ll show you.

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