Manuscript Releases, vol. 20 [Nos. 1420-1500]


MR No. 1452—Judas, the Self-centered, Unconverted Disciple

“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 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” [John 12:1-3]. 20MR 146.1

Mary's act displeased Judas. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” he asked angrily. “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.” He put a price upon all his actions, and paid himself according to his own selfish estimate. 20MR 146.2

At that time the disciples did not know that Judas was a thief, but they knew it afterwards. Although he had been with Christ during His ministry, his covetousness was not cured. He held it fast as a precious treasure, and it had become more and more confirmed. Christ's lessons on unselfishness were unheeded. His love of money led him to idolize the little treasure entrusted to his care to be employed for the benefit of the church and to relieve the necessities of the poor. 20MR 146.3

Why, when Christ knew the plague spot in his heart, was Judas permitted to remain among the disciples? When Christ knew him to be dishonest and avaricious, why was the bag still entrusted to him? The Lord permits men to remain in positions of trust that their hearts may be tested and their true character shown. The propensity to do wrong will be tried, and the defects revealed. If an avaricious spirit is cherished, circumstances will reveal the inward corruption. 20MR 146.4

“Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this. For the poor always have ye with you; but Me ye have not always.” Her act is a prophetic anticipation of My death and burial; and the record of it will be repeated to the ends of the earth. This was a more direct reproof than Judas had before received. He was provoked by it, and thus a door was opened through which Satan entered to control his thoughts. Avarice poisoned the life-current of his spirituality. 20MR 146.5

Today this spirit exists. It is not a new thing for the members of the institutions ordained by God to work in an underhand manner, in order that they may be advantaged. Their native selfishness leads them to plan for their individual interests, to the neglect of sister institutions, which, if they were partakers with Christ, they would place first. Whatever pressure God has permitted to come upon His institutions to test those connected with them, these established centers are God's merchant houses, in which the goods of heaven are deposited, to be handled as sacred trusts and traded upon, that light and knowledge may be imparted nigh and afar off. 20MR 146.6

In spirit and practice many resemble Judas. As long as you are silent regarding the plague spot in the character, no open enmity is seen, but when they are reproved, bitterness fills their hearts. When Judas was reproved, instead of repenting he planned revenge. Stung by the knowledge of his sin, and provoked to madness because his guilt was known, he rose from the table and went to the palace of the high priest, where he found the council assembled. There he sold his Lord. He was imbued with the spirit of Satan, and acted like one bereft of reason. The reward promised him for the betrayal of his Master was thirty pieces of silver. 20MR 147.1

What a terrible action was this, both on the part of Judas and of the priests. The rulers of Israel had been given the privilege of receiving Christ as their Saviour without money and without price. But they refused the precious gift offered them in the most tender spirit of constraining love; they refused to accept that salvation of more value than gold and silver, and bought their Lord for thirty pieces of silver. Judas was to find an opportunity of betraying him in the absence of the multitude, for the priests knew that the people were Christ's friends. Had it not been for this, they would, they thought, have accomplished their purpose long before. 20MR 147.2

The feast at Simon's house brought many of the Jews together; for they knew Christ was there. And they came not only to see Jesus, but Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. The raising of Lazarus was the crowning miracle of Christ's life. The last test had been given to the Jewish nation. Lazarus had been raised from the dead to bear a testimony for Christ. 20MR 147.3

Many thought that Lazarus would have some wonderful experience to relate. They were surprised that he told them nothing. But Lazarus had nothing to tell. The pen of Inspiration has given light upon this subject. “The dead know not any thing.... Their love, and their hatred ... is now perished” [Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6]. 20MR 147.4

But Lazarus had a wonderful testimony to bear in regard to the work of Christ. He was a living testimonial of divine power. With assurance and power he declared that Christ was the Son of God, and asked the people what they would gain by putting Christ to death. 20MR 147.5

Overwhelming evidence was given to the priests in regard to the divinity of Christ. But they had set their hearts to resist all light, and they closed the chambers of their mind, that no light might be admitted. 20MR 148.1

The honor showed to Jesus exasperated the scribes and Pharisees. They consulted that they might also put Lazarus to death; “because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus” [John 12:11]. The testimony of Lazarus was so clear and convincing that the priests could not resist its argument. It was a painful ordeal for them to be unable to say anything. They could not deny it, for he who had been dead four days was before them in the vigor of manhood, showing forth the praise of the great Restorer. 20MR 148.2

The priests could not prevent the effect of this miracle upon the people, therefore they laid their plans to put Lazarus to death. They thought that if he continued to bear his testimony the number of Christ's followers would be largely increased. They purposed to remove Lazarus secretly, and thus less publicity would be given to Christ's death. The end, they argued, would justify the means, but they must not summon Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea to their councils; for then their murderous designs would be opposed. 20MR 148.3

They could bring no charge against Lazarus, yet rather than admit evidence that could not be denied, they plotted to kill him. So will men do when they separate themselves from God. When unbelief once takes possession of the mind, the heart is hardened, and no power can soften it. 20MR 148.4

Judas was given every opportunity to receive Christ as his personal Saviour, but he refused this gift. In many respects he acted as Christ's disciple. He manifested an interest in His work, and in a certain sense believed on him. But Christ read beneath the surface. He saw the true inwardness of the heart. He knew that Judas was not converted. John says, “As many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” Judas had never received Christ; he was not a true son of God. He had not lost something once possessed. He had never experienced the soul cleansing, the change of character, that constitutes conversion. 20MR 148.5

“Ye are clean,” Christ said, “but not all.... I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen.” Who are Christ's chosen ones? Those who are rendering obedience to His lessons. Judas was not chosen, because he was not obedient. He did not believe in Christ as his personal Saviour. He did not think that his character needed Christ's transforming grace. 20MR 148.6

Judas had valuable qualities, but there were some traits in his character that would have to be cut away before he could be saved. He must be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible. Knowing that Judas was being corrupted by covetousness, Christ gave him the privilege of hearing many precious lessons. He heard Christ laying down the principles outlining the character which all must possess who would enter Christ's kingdom. But Judas would not yield his will and his way to Christ. 20MR 148.7

Because Judas would not believe in Christ, he fulfilled the Scripture, “He that eateth bread with Me [referring to the sacramental supper], hath lifted up his heel against Me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it come to pass, ye may believe that I am He” [John 13:18, 19]. 20MR 149.1

But though Jesus knew Judas from the beginning, He washed his feet. He who was to betray his Lord was privileged to unite with him in partaking of the sacrament. And today none who claim to be Christians should be excluded from this service, for who can read hearts? Who can distinguish the tares from the wheat? 20MR 149.2

I would that we could all remember as we assemble to celebrate the ordinances, that messengers unseen by human eyes are present. There may be a Judas in the company, and if so, messengers from the prince of darkness are present, for they attend all who refuse to be worked by the Holy Spirit. Heavenly angels are present also. They listened with regret to the contention between the disciples, which marred Christ's last evening with them. But the disciples knew not that angels were present. 20MR 149.3

Those unseen visitants are present on every such occasion. There may come in among you those who are not in heart united with truth and holiness, but who may wish to take part in these services. Forbid them not. There are witnesses present who were present when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and of Judas. More than human eyes beheld the scene.—Manuscript 47, 1897. 20MR 149.4

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

May 11, 1989.

Entire Ms.