I know that it technically makes sense to start a series on the disciples with Matthew or James or John—or really, any of the 11 besides Judas—but Judas is low-key my favorite. He’s the one I can relate to the most, and I know you will too when you finish reading this. The truth is, there is a little bit of Judas in all of us. Each one of us would have been, and is, capable of doing exactly what Judas did. I really believe that we have to recognize and address this before we can study the other disciples and learn about how they loved Christ.If you don’t know the story, Judas was one of 12 disciples that lived with, traveled with, and did life with Jesus during His three year ministry on Earth. He basically spent every hour of every day with Jesus. Judas knew Jesus intimately, or so it would appear. My roommate Chelsea and I have lived together for five years, and I KNOW her. I know her Chickfila order, I know what TV shows she’s binge watching on Netflix right now, and I know how to make her laugh when she’s had a bad day. I KNOW Chelsea, just like Judas knew Jesus.
The problem is that knowing someone can be superficial. If my relationship with Chelsea ended at knowing her Chickfila order and never got any deeper than that, we wouldn’t really be friends. But it doesn’t. I do life with Chelsea. We share our dreams, our desires, we have hard conversations even when we don’t want to, and she has full permission to call me out on my junk anytime she needs to. The problem with Judas is that he wasn’t fully convinced that Jesus was who He said He was, and he didn’t really care about an intentional relationship with him. If he knew Jesus enough to “get by” and keep up the appearances of being Jesus’ friend, that was good enough for him. Judas was in it for his own gain, and all he cared about was what he thought being one of the “chosen 12” could do for him.
Spoiler alert, Judas ends up betraying Jesus and turning Him over to the Roman authorities for roughly $600 in today’s currency. Judas cared more about getting some extra money on the side than He did about Jesus.. However, we all have the ability to be a Judas. How often do we throw away a promise from God because He took too long to deliver? How many times have I told Jesus that I was done with Him because I was temporarily inconvenienced or upset? We so easily throw off everything good and right about who Jesus is when we realize that we won’t get our way.
One thing that I can’t stand about our culture today—participation trophies. I hate participation trophies with a fiery passion, because they tell every child who gets them that they will always win something, when in reality, sometimes your kid is a loser, and that’s ok. When we give a child who rightly lost a sporting game or a spelling bee a trophy because “Everyone is a winner,” and children are all special snowflakes who do no wrong, we teach them that the world will always give them what they want. Judas was definitely a participation trophy kid. Judas realized that Jesus couldn’t give him the money and recognition that he desired, so he turned Jesus over in an attempt to gain them another way and have some semblance of significance. To Judas, a relationship with Jesus was just a tool to reach his end goal, rather than being the end goal—the whole point of life—itself.
Reader, if we keep trading Jesus for the wealth of the world, we will end up miserable, bitter old cat ladies yelling at kids whose balls keep rolling into our yard. If we continue to chase what we think will make us happy, the world will always turn up short. We can’t keep viewing the world through our participation-trophy lens and must accept that sometimes, Jesus won’t give us what we want immediately when we want it. Sometimes the beauty of our relationship with Christ, when we intimately know Him, is that we are given access to riches the world won’t always understand. Let’s press on to know more about Jesus than what His Chickfila order would have been, and really get to know His heart for us.