The Review and Herald

901/1902

October 5, 1897

Judas

EGW

The history of Judas presents before us the sad ending of the life of a man who might have been honored of God. By co-operating with Christ, not mechanically, but with heart and soul, Judas might have obtained victory after victory. He was trusted by his fellow disciples, and by his Master he was given a special work to do for the church. He understood the Scriptures, and at times seemed to have large discernment to take in the meaning of the word of God. He could present the words of the Old-Testament Scriptures in an acceptable manner. He had keen perceptive powers, a retentive memory, and was able to communicate the word to others. Had he been a doer of the word, he would have had grace and power from Christ to apply that word to his own soul. Possessing appropriating faith, he would, under the influence of light, have appreciated the presence of the Spirit, would have consecrated his heart, and would have received the seal of oneness with Christ. RH October 5, 1897, par. 1

But Judas stopped short of this. He had not received Christ as his personal Saviour. He did not think that his character needed the transforming grace of Christ. 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. He was not a true son of God. He had not lost something he once possessed. He had never experienced the soul cleansing, the change of character, that constitutes conversion. RH October 5, 1897, par. 2

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. His great hereditary and cultivated tendency to evil was covetousness. And by practise this became a habit which he carried into all his trading. His economical habits developed a parsimonious spirit, and became a fatal snare. Gain was his measurement of a correct religious experience, and all true righteousness became subordinate to this. Christlike principles of uprightness and justice had no room in his life practises. RH October 5, 1897, par. 3

When Judas first united with the twelve, he manifested a spirit subordinate to his Master. He loved the great Teacher. He had listened to the parables illustrating the gospel of the kingdom of God, and he desired to be with the man whose teaching he knew to be superior to anything he had ever heard, although it was condemnatory of all pretense, hypocrisy, and avarice. There came to him a desire to be changed in spirit and inclination, and he hoped to experience this by connecting himself with Christ. Yes; in the companionship of Christ, Judas might have found continual strength and aid; he might have co-operated with Christ in overcoming temptation, instead of yielding to the suggestions of Satan. RH October 5, 1897, par. 4

Knowing that he was being corrupted by covetousness, Christ gave him the privilege of hearing many precious lessons. He heard Christ laying down the principles which all must possess who would enter his kingdom. He was given every opportunity to receive Christ as his personal Saviour, but he refused this gift. He would not yield his way and will to Christ. He did not practise that which was contrary to his own inclinations; therefore his strong avaricious spirit was not corrected. While he continued a disciple in outward form, and while in the very presence of Christ, he appropriated to himself means that belonged to the Lord's treasury. RH October 5, 1897, par. 5

Several of the disciples were looked upon by Judas as very deficient. They would not see their opportunities, and take advantage of circumstances. The church, he thought, would never prosper with such short-sighted men. Peter was so impetuous; he would move without consideration. John, who was gathering the power of the truths that fell from the lips of Christ and bringing them into the sanctuary of the soul, was looked upon by Judas as a poor financier, one who could not keep the church free from financial embarrassment. Matthew, who had had an education which qualified him for accuracy in all his undertakings, was very definite and particular in regard to honesty. He was ever contemplating the words of Christ, and became so absorbed in them that he could not be trusted to do sharp, far-seeing business. Thus Judas summed up all the disciples, and flattered himself that the church would often be brought into perplexity and embarrassment if it were not for his managing ability. Judas thought himself the capable one, who would not allow himself to be cheated in a bargain. In his own estimation he was an honor to the cause, and as such he always represented himself. RH October 5, 1897, par. 6

Christ's last journey to Jerusalem, whither he went with his disciples to attend the Passover feast, was a fatal one for Judas. Not that it needed to be thus, but he himself made it so by his own course of action. The dissensions which frequently arose among the disciples as to which of them should be greatest, were generally created by Judas. On this occasion this spirit led to the request of James and John that one might sit at the right hand of Christ, and the other on his left, in his kingdom. But Christ taught them that those who were nearest to their Lord in position, were not of special consequence; that those who would bring Christ into the heart as an abiding presence would not selfishly seek the highest position in personal relation to him. RH October 5, 1897, par. 7

Thus it is with Christians today. Those who, in the spirit and love of Jesus, become one with him, will be in close fellowship one with another, bound together by the silken cords of love. Then the ties of human brotherhood will not be always on the strain, ready at any provocation to snap asunder. “All ye are brethren,” will be the sentiment of every child of faith. When the followers of Christ are one with him, there will be no first and last, no less respected or less important ones. A blessed brotherly fellowship will bind all to Christ in a firm loyalty that cannot be broken. RH October 5, 1897, par. 8

The turn that affairs had taken at the feeding of the five thousand had dissatisfied Judas. It was he who had set on foot the project to take Christ by force and make him king. But Christ, with greater authority than he was in the custom of exercising, had rebuked this step. This had provoked Judas, and he became more and more separated from Jesus. RH October 5, 1897, par. 9

If Judas had practised the lessons of Christ, he would have surrendered to Christ, he would have consecrated his heart fully to God; but his confused experience was misleading him. When with the disciples, he introduced controversies, doubts, and misleading sentiments, repeating the objections that the scribes and Pharisees urged when questioning the claims of Christ. He did this at first in order to develop his reasoning powers; but the more he gave expression to the unbelieving remarks made, the more he turned them over in his mind, the more doubt and unbelief came in. RH October 5, 1897, par. 10

All the little and large troubles and crosses, the difficulties and hindrances to the advancement of the gospel, Judas interpreted as being evidences against its truthfulness. He would introduce texts of Scripture that had no connection with the themes of truth that Jesus was seeking to impress upon the minds and hearts of his disciples. And these texts, separated from their connection, and placed where they had no appropriate bearing and force, confused their minds and increased the discouragements that were constantly pressing in with the suggestions of the scribes and Pharisees. The sayings of the Pharisees also were so used by him to encourage unbelief, and lessen the force of truth upon the minds of the disciples, that Jesus declared of him that he had a devil. Yet all this was done by Judas in such a way as to give the impression that he was conscientious. And while the disciples were searching for evidence to confirm the words of the great Teacher, Judas would lead them almost imperceptibly on another track. Thus in a very religious and apparently wise way he was presenting matters in a different light from that in which Jesus had given them, and attaching to his words a meaning that he never intended to convey. RH October 5, 1897, par. 11

The disciples did not see in this the working of the enemy; but Jesus saw that the mind of Judas was open to questionings, doubt, and unbelief which had more or less influence on the other disciples, and that in this way, Satan was communicating his attributes to Judas, and opening up a direct channel through which to work. RH October 5, 1897, par. 12

If all could understand the deep trials and discouragements that came to the human nature of Christ in his mission, verily human hearts would draw nigh to the human heart of Jesus. The old nature of the disciples often appeared. Often their natural characteristics strove for the mastery. But Jesus was ever presenting before them that these must be given up, emptied from the soul, that he might implant a new nature therein. RH October 5, 1897, par. 13

That Judas, with all his faults and defects of character, was numbered among the twelve, is an instructive lesson, one by the study of which Christians may be profited. God takes men as they are, with the human element in their character, and then trains them for his service if they will be disciplined and learn of him. When Judas was chosen by the Lord, his case was not hopeless. He had some good qualities. In his association with Christ in the work, by listening to his discourses, he had a favorable opportunity to see his wrongs, to become acquainted with his defects of character, if he really desired to be a true disciple. He was even placed in a position where he could have his choice either to develop his covetous disposition or to see and correct it. RH October 5, 1897, par. 14

Judas might have been benefited by these lessons, had he possessed a desire to be right at heart; but his acquisitiveness overcame him, and the love of money became a ruling power. Through indulgence, he permitted this trait in his character to grow and take so deep a root that it crowded out the good seed of truth sown in his heart. But the fact that Judas was not right at heart, that he was corrupted by selfishness and love of money, is no evidence that there are not true Christians, genuine disciples, who love their Saviour and try to imitate his life and example. There will ever be some who do not live out their profession, whose daily lives show them to be anything but Christians. But those who, in the love of God, desire to do his will, will manifest the same in their lives. The more man views his Saviour, the more will he become assimilated to his image, and work the works of Christ. RH October 5, 1897, par. 15