“When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’” John 13:21
None of the disciples understood Jesus. They all had misconceptions as to what his work and goals ought to be, and they all had ambitions for him that were going to be disappointed in just a few short hours. But when it came right down to it, despite the fact that they were confused about what the Messiah ought to be like, most of the disciples loved Jesus like they’d never loved anyone else before in their lives, including themselves.
And then there was Judas.
Judas believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Judas was impressed by Jesus understanding of the Father and by the wonderful teachings he gave them. He was thrilled by the miracles Jesus performed. The years of following Jesus had only served to deepen his admiration for him and to strengthen the conviction that this man was like no other. He was the one that would secure their hopes and dreams.
The trouble was that Judas hopes and dreams were not in harmony with heavens goals for the Messiah and the people of God. God’s plans would never fulfill Judas’ selfish ambitions.
Years of association with Jesus had never exerted any change upon the heart of Judas. He came to Jesus selfish and ambitious and that’s how he remained. He was a thief and he longed for monetary riches. He’d been entrusted with the treasury for the disciples, and John tells us that he had stolen from the money bag to fuel his own desires.
Jesus had repeatedly disappointed Judas by not taking advantage of the opportunities presented and increasing his power and authority. Judas attributed this to timidity, lack of ambition, and ignorance of political strategy on Jesus’ part. Ellen White, in the book The Desire Of Ages, tells us that Judas had come to the conclusion that Jesus needed a push. He needed someone to put him in a position where he was forced to exerted his power and use it to set up his kingdom. On his own Jesus would do nothing but if he was manipulated in the right way he’d take the throne and those who’d been with him would rise to power, wealth and fame with him.
Judas’ plan was to betray Jesus to the Jewish leaders. They’d arrest him, turn him over to the Romans, and he’d be condemned, but Judas never believed Jesus would submit to what they had planned. If Judas had simply believed what Jesus had said about his ministry and the Father’s plan for him he’d have known this would never work but that wouldn’t have helped much because Judas real problem wasn’t his lack of understanding; it was his selfishness.
Friends, it doesn’t matter what you know and understand, if you still have the same selfish heart you were born with you’ll end up betraying Jesus like Judas did.
We all need new hearts if we’re going to follow Jesus all the way to the Father’s house. Jesus will give us new hearts if we’ll let him. Each day we just need to ask him to help us die to our own selfishness and to live a life of love, like he does.
Won’t you do that today?