Judas Iscariot who became a traitor. (Luke 6:16 ESV)
Now this passage, located in Luke 6, would seem to raise the idea that Judas Iscariot was not the evil man that most associate with the name, when he first came on the scene. Who was he before? I don't know... But it is clear what he became. In order for something to become something else though it must change.
Now we know the disciples were always squabbling amongst themselves as to who was the greatest, who would be the greatest, and their misunderstanding of the Messiah's coming to deliver Israel. It is highly likely that Judas saw some of Jesus' works in His early ministry and was won over to this Political Messiah belief after watching Jesus work. He no doubt probably fervently believed in Jesus and was devoted to Him. So what changed?
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you... When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"... After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. (John 6:53, 60, 66 ESV)
In John 6 we read of one of Jesus' more difficult teachings and the effects it had on those who at that point followed Him. There is no way to know many were following Him up to this point, I've seen numbers in the hundreds, but it was a sizable group regardless. Until Jesus taught about being the bread of life whose flesh must be consumed and blood must be drank for anyone to have life.
Now Jews had strict anti-cannabalism laws so this would obviously set them off and it did. Many, in fact most of them, decided they were no longer going to follow Jesus as a result of this. Now Judas we know continued on, but maybe, just maybe, this is the point in which Judas' idea of a political savior goes from fantasy to broken reality. At this point he probably begins to view Jesus a less than a Messiah and probably more as a traitor to the people. A traitor for leading so many into a false ideology of who He was, though Jesus never claimed to be a political entity. Perhaps this is when Judas began to plan his treachery.
Now the point I want to share with this is Judas became a traitor because he had a false understanding of who Jesus was. If he could walk with Jesus and yet still fall away, it is much more possible for us today to do so. How many today have a false understanding of Jesus?
Preachers teach Jesus gives riches, prosperity, good life, easy life, etc. What are we teaching the lost about Jesus in how we live? What are we teaching each other?
It is possible to lead someone to a knowledge of Jesus to where they legitimately feel love for Him for a while only for life to slam them in the face with the trials and tribulations we all experience, but they were never told of, never warned of, or perhaps even worse told would never come. Jesus after all wants them to life worry and trouble free, or so they've been taught.
Is it any wonder people fall away? Is it any wonder they have no foundation in themselves? Judas fell away and became synonymous with treachery. People today could just as easily fall away, for only those who endure will be saved. Those of us who know the truth have an obligation to share that knowledge, regardless of how we are received or treated.
People don't need Jesus the Financier or Loan Officer who gives them all riches and glory.
People need Jesus the humble servant from Galilee who shed His blood so we could live holy lives, separate from the rest of the world. Foreigners and sojourners in the land. Let us not contribute to people's misunderstandings of who Jesus is, but rather, teach them the true and living way! The way of holiness, righteousness, and love.
I think you are on the right track Byan. A converted Jew I know thinks that Judas was trying to force Jesus's hand. To give Him no choice but to reveal His power to the world.
That sounds more like my understanding. He was looking for the king to fight the Romans
Sounds very much like the Judas character portrayal in the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth
in my mind, Judas wanted a savior (little 's'; as in savior from oppression in the natural world such as the Romans' oppression), but not a Lord; not a Master. Judas believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but never expected Him to allow Himself to be crucified, even though Jesus told His disciples this would happen a number of times. Judas believed intellectually, but not on a heart level - he was still making his own decisions; still 'directing the steps of his own path'.
Jesus did save us from our sins, and that was absolutely necessary; but that's not why He came; He came to restore our relationship with God (and sin was a barrier that prevented people from approaching God, due to fear of His judgment and punishment for their sins); He came to show us how to live a life of victory by being led by God; He came that we would have life, and have it more abundantly.
living a holy life is good, but that is a fruit of right relationship with God, not a root; living holy is a by-product of the goal of being led by God through fellowship with Him; not a goal that we should strive for by our own understanding and according to our own strength.
the way of holiness, righteousness and love is the way that God directs - it's all about being led by Him instead of our ourselves.
Judas became a traitor when he decided that his idea of Jesus being king was that He would rule Israel and deliver them from their enemies in this life; by the time Judas sold Jesus out, he had long since rejected Jesus as Lord and Master.
the vast majority of Christians that i have met live their lives according to their own understanding, making their choices according to the world's reasoning and asking God to bless what they decide instead of striving to hear and follow God's leading. few think of Jesus as their Lord and Master; but rather think of Him as savior (little 's') who will deliver them from the bad things they've brought on themselves in this life - not as Savior who will lead them through this life and to the life eternal of knowing God.