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The Master's Men Part 5: Judas Iscariot B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2022 4:00 am

The Master's Men Part 5: Judas Iscariot B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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So the Lord was anointed out of love and betrayed out of hate the same night. And may I hasten to add that it is so still and that it is so with every man, you either enthrone him or you betray him.

There is no middle ground. You are either Mary or you are Judas. You either pour out your love to him or you sell him for whatever price you have deemed proper. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. You probably know about Brutus and Benedict Arnold, both of them notorious traders, but neither their treachery nor anyone else's can compare to that of Judas. And yet, as awful as Judas's betrayal was, there is still a lot that you and I can learn from his life and his sin. Today on Grace to You, John MacArthur looks at some of the practical lessons that Judas Iscariot teaches us. Stay here as John continues his in-depth character studies of the twelve disciples. We call this series The Master's Men. If you have your Bible handy or the Study Bible app, turn to Matthew chapter 10 and here's John MacArthur with a lesson. Now we have met already the first eleven disciples.

We've set about to learn everything that we could learn about them. But one of them stands out against the background of the others. He is isolated. He is lonely.

He is alone. His name is Judas Iscariot. I believe this man can teach us some profound and awakening lessons. So let's examine what the Bible says about him. First of all, his name...his name, Judas, a common name. Levius Thaddeus in verse 3 is also called Judas. It is simply a form of Judah, the land of God's people. Some say the root of it means Jehovah leads and others think the root of it might refer to one who is the object of praise.

But what a paradox either way. If it means Jehovah leads, there never was one who was more obviously led by Satan than was Judas. If it means one worthy of praise, there is never lived one more unworthy of praise than Judas.

He's a very, very enigmatical man even in terms of his name. From his name we look at his call, secondly, his call. And I hasten to add that the call of Judas is not recorded in the Bible.

We meet him the first time right here in this list and we don't know how he got in the group. I mean, we know the Lord called him in but we don't know any of the circumstances. We know he wanted to be involved but we don't know how it was that he attached himself to Jesus. And that brings us to the third point, his progress into betrayal, his progress. Let's follow the sequence, John chapter 12.

We're coming to the final events, moving to the cross. Judas is utterly and totally disillusioned. The anticipation of anything good coming had totally removed itself from him. There was nothing good left and he no longer could contain his hypocrisy. He no longer could mask the vile, filthy, wretched soul that was in him.

And so in Bethany there was an incident that unmasked him. I don't think the disciples really picked it up because they so little suspected him that they didn't really read properly what he was saying. But Mary, in verse 3, took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, anointed the feet of Jesus, wiped his feet with her hair and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

She was just pouring out love, just pouring out affection. She gave this very costly thing to Jesus and it's something that was once used and then forever gone and so in the sense that she wasted it, she wasted it. Then saith one of his disciples, and this is the first time the man ever opens his mouth in holy writ, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who should betray him.

I wonder who Simon is, poor fellow. Why was not this ointment sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor? He hated Jesus so deeply now that he couldn't stand any homage paid to him. The hate had taken over.

What started as attraction and love and fascination had turned to hate because Jesus didn't do what he expected and he became more frustrated and more frustrated until he had this love-hate and finally it was hate, wasting that on this one in whom I have invested three wasted years. By the way, it may not have been worth quite 300. That may have been his exaggeration because of the greed of his heart and in order to overstate his case for effect.

If it was, it was 300 days work, so nearly a year's wages worth of ointment. This he said not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief. He didn't become one here, he always was one. He was stealing from the thing the whole time, all three years. He was a thief and he had the bag, and watch this, and the Greek says, and he pilfered what was put in it.

Can you imagine that kind of a guy? Here's a poor band of people going around doing good and he was stealing out of their resources all the while. He had absolutely no love for them, no affection for them. The fact that he didn't know any of them and was from the south played into the hands of his secrecy very well.

They knew nothing about him. And all the while he was stealing out of the bag. He was a materialist and he was in life for one thing, what he could get out of it, and he got it any way he could. And if he wasn't going to get the whole kingdom, he was going to get a few bucks getting out. That's the basic motive of Judas. And some people have tried to ascribe to him a good motive. You cannot ascribe to Judas a good motive any time, in any way, for two reasons. One, Jesus said, one of you is a devil. Two, before he betrayed him, Jesus said, and Satan entered into him. There was nothing good about him.

He was wretched. That incident occurred and immediately that night, Judas left Bethany and brought about the first fatal interview with the chief priests. And he began to negotiate with them as in Zechariah chapter 11 for 30 pieces of silver. So the Lord was anointed out of love and betrayed out of hate the same night. And may I hasten to add that it is so still and that it is so with every man, you either enthrone him or you betray him.

There is no middle ground. You are either Mary or you are Judas. You either pour out your love to him or you sell him for whatever price you have deemed proper. Look at John 13 then. After having initiated the betrayal, our Lord is meeting in the upper room with His disciples. They've gone from Bethany to this place. Judas has worked out his thing and now he comes back to join himself with the group and play the role of the hypocrite even further.

He comes back in, he's welcomed to the fellowship again. Jesus washes his feet, if you can imagine that, in the first part of the chapter. And then Jesus says in verse 10, and ye are clean, but not all of you.

And he's beginning to point out Judas. Not all of you, for he knew who should betray him, therefore he said, You're not all clean. Verse 18, I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen, I know the eleven that are saved, but that the Scripture may be fulfilled. And he quotes Psalm 41, 9, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. And I'm telling you, before it comes, verse 19, so that when it comes to pass, you may believe that I am he.

He wanted them to know that he knew this so that when it happened, they'd say, My, only God could have known that before it happened. And they didn't know it when he said, One of you should betray me. They said, Is it I? Is it I? Is it I?

Is it I? It wasn't manifestly obvious who it was and if Jesus knew, He had to be supernatural. And I am always drawn to verse 21. And Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit. He was troubled in spirit. He was upset, the ingratitude, the rejection of love, the hate for hypocrisy, the repulsiveness of the enemy, the heinousness of sin, the horrors of knowing that hell was waiting Judas and the anticipation of the sin bearing on the cross.

Do you know He actually would be dying on that cross with all the sins of all the world in addition to suffering this? It was so much that it tore Him up on the inside. He testified and said, Truly, truly, I say unto you, one of you will betray Me. They couldn't believe it. They looked on each other, doubting of whom He spoke.

They had no reason to believe it was anybody. There was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to Him that He should ask who it should be of whom He spoke. He says, John, ask Him, ask Him.

Who is He talking about? And I think Peter asked because Peter and Judas were a lot alike in many ways. They acted hypocritically. Peter knew he was a sinner of the first magnitude, and I think he was just checking in to find out if it was going to be him since he had so many other failures. Jesus answered and said, The one I give the sop to, it's him. And I think that's what He told John, and I don't think the others heard it because if the others had heard it, there would have been an attack. John in his quietness accepted it as the plan because Jesus had said, I say this now so you'll know when it happens that I am He.

John went along with the plan. He gave the sop. And then verse 27, horrifying verse, and after the sop, Satan entered into him, then said Jesus unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. And now no man at the table knew for what intent He spoke this unto him. Nobody knew why He sent him away. They maybe thought He sent him to get some more food. Out He said. It was over now.

The door was shut. Satan entered Judas. Can't imagine anything more horrifying. It's one thing to be demon possessed, it's something to have the devil himself get in there. I mean, what is it that the devil himself gets in an individual to accomplish?

It must be the big ones, right? Satan entered Judas, and Judas went away. Jesus remained with his own. Judas went out to consummate the betrayal. Matthew 26 16 says He sought an opportunity to betray Him. Mark 14 11 says He sought how He might conveniently betray Him.

And in Luke 22 6 it says He sought how to betray Him in the absence of the multitude. He was afraid of the crowd. He wanted to do it sneaky, and He wanted to do it right, and He wanted to do it the easiest way. He feared the populace because He was there at the triumphal entry. He saw the crowd. He was afraid of that, and He wanted to do it in a way that Jesus wouldn't suspect either. He wanted to do it in a sneaky way. So He met again with the chief priests, and they made a negotiation, and He was sold for thirty pieces of silver.

Today that would be worth somewhere between ten and twenty dollars. That tells me three things. Number one, that greedy people will settle for any price. Number two, that those chief priests had absolute disdain for Judas.

They wouldn't give him any more than that. Number three, that they hated Jesus because that's all they thought He was worth. And so He negotiated that He would point Jesus out to them in a secret place, in a quiet place, and in the pitch dark of the night, they had to have a sign.

So He said, the sign will be the one I kiss, otherwise they wouldn't have known which one He was in the darkness. And that brings us to John 18, the next time we see Judas, a few nights later. Jesus is in the garden. Verse 2, Judas also who betrayed Him knew the place, for Jesus often resorted there with His disciples. Judas not only profaned the Passover with blood money, he profaned the secret private place of devotion for our dear Lord.

He profaned friendship. He knew the place. He gathered together a band of men and officers of chief priests and Pharisees and they came with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth and said to them, whom seek ye? You see, Jesus knew that Judas was going to come in and He was going to come up to Jesus and He was going to kiss him. And then the soldiers would attack and Judas would say, oh, you know, in shock, as if he knew nothing. Judas would kiss him to put him at ease so he wouldn't think anything was up. Jesus knew all that.

So you know what He did? He removed the necessity for the kiss. He walked out and said, whom seek ye?

And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. And He said, I am He, thus eliminating the need for the kiss. But just to show you the pit of blackness in the heart of Judas, He kissed him anyway. The diabolical heart forced him into that unnecessary kiss. Even though it was no longer a kiss to point him out, it was a kiss to fake his innocence. A supreme act of hypocrisy.

Let me ask you a question. Is the act of Judas unique? Is it the only act of its kind?

Not so. For you will read in the Old Testament in the book of Ezekiel how that God was polluted among the people for handfuls of barley and bread. And if you read the prophet Amos, you will read of those who sold the righteous for money. And may I suggest to you today that men have and always will sell Christ for whatever they think is worth more. Judas sold Jesus for greed. People are still doing it for their ill-gotten gain, their lifestyle and everything else. Why did he do it?

Why? Sure there was malice. Sure there was worldly ambition, revenge, hatred of what was good, rejection of what was pure, pride, ingratitude, anger, but most of all, just greed, crass, worldly materialism. I submit to you that no man is more like a devil than a perverted apostle.

I guess that's why I hate false teachers so much. May I talk for a moment about his death? James says that lust when it is conceived brings forth sin, James 1, and when sin conceives it bringeth forth...what?...death. And Proverbs 10 says, the name of the wicked shall rot. Poor Judas. He sold Christ. He sold his fellow apostles. He sold his soul and he bought hell and the price was too high.

You know what he did? He knew it because his heart was filled with such pain and remorse that it says in Matthew 27 verse 3 this, Judas who had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, conviction must have been on him so that it pounded in his head. He repented, it says now, that might sound good to you but that's not the Greek word for repentance, that's the word for wanting to change your feelings. He felt bad. He regretted it. Now a spiritually minded man deals with his conscience in a spiritual way. He goes to God for forgiveness, but a materialist, a crass, earthly man deals with his problems on an earthly basis and so instead of going to God with his need on a spiritual plane, he went back to the chief priests on a physical level and he threw the money back thinking by the physical act of returning the money he could relieve the spiritual conviction.

But he couldn't. His unforgiven heart screamed out for vengeance on himself. And so he took the vengeance on himself and the Bible says he hanged himself after having thrown the money on the temple floor. In Acts 1 it says he died having his bowels burst asunder.

Some people think those conflict, they don't. He couldn't hang himself any better than he could do anything else. Either the knot was insufficient or the branch broke and having hanged himself over a precipice, he plummeted to have his bowels burst on the rocks beneath. And by the way, what did they do with the money that he threw in the house of the Lord? They said it is not lawful to put it in the treasury. So now all of a sudden they're getting lawful because it is the price of blood.

We can't use blood money in the treasury. They took counsel and they bought with it the potter's field to bury strangers in. That is exactly what the Old Testament said, that the 30 pieces would be given to the potter in the house of the Lord. And the plan was fulfilled. Finally, we've gone through some important things. His name, His call, His progress, betrayal and death, may I close and I want you to listen very close with some lessons learned from the life of Judas.

Just very quickly listen. Number one, Judas is the world's greatest example of lost opportunity. No man ever, ever, ever is a greater tragedy than that man. Twelve men in human history had the privilege of walking three years in the presence of the living God incarnate and he missed it. The other eleven got it.

Incredible. And there are people who will sit in the presence of Christians and thus in the presence of Christ there are fathers and families and mothers and families and people in churches who come and go and live their life. Around them are all these people in whom dwells the living Christ and they lose that opportunity and go into eternity without it. But Judas is the worst. And those who continue to miss the opportunity are in the line of Judas. He stood in the fairest surroundings the world has ever known and he's damned forever.

He was content to associate nothing more. Secondly, he is the world's greatest example of wasted privilege, the greatest example of wasted privilege. He wanted money, he wanted riches, he wanted possessions. He could have possessed the universe forever, but he sold it for ten or twenty dollars. God offers you and every soul the riches of eternity. What kind of a stupid bargain are you making?

By saying no to that to say yes to some pittance that'll burn in the end of this earth. Thirdly, Judas is the world's greatest illustration of the love of money as the root of evil. He loved money so much that he actually sold the living God. That's how far greed can take a man. He is a monument to the destructiveness and the damnation of greed, fourthly.

And this is turning the corner. I believe Judas is the greatest lesson in the history of the world of the forbearing patient love of God. Only God could have known what he knew and tolerated that man's presence that long. That is the patient forbearance of God. And then to have reached out in affection to him and offered him the sop and even after the kiss said to him, friend, incredible insight into the patience of God. And finally, I believe Judas provides an essential qualification in preparing Christ for His high priestly role. He served a purpose. The Bible tells us that Christ was perfected through suffering, that He became a sympathetic high priest. Many men are betrayed.

Many men are wounded in the house of their friends. People cut people up and all of us have known the hurt and the pain of that kind of thing. And when we go to the Lord Jesus and we say, you know, I've had this happen in my life, do you understand?

Oh, does He understand. Part of the perfecting of His high priestly work came in having to endure this from this man. Well, for whatever lessons should be applied to your life, I pray the Holy Spirit would do that work. This man is the consummate hypocrite of all time and he is an illustration to us of people who can hide in the presence of Christ and be filled with Satan. Jesus said Judas went to his own place, right where he belonged. That's the way it'll be for people who reject Christ.

I close with this, someone has written, and I think it sums it all up. Still as of old, man by himself is priced for 30 pieces Judas sold himself, not Christ. That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, here on Grace To You. I showed you today that even in the best of spiritual environments, unbelievers can hide among believers. John's focus today, Judas Iscariot, part of his compelling study of the 12 disciples titled the Masters Men. And you know, John, whether it's a positive example or a negative one like we saw today, there is much to gain from the lives of the apostles.

It's just a matter of taking a close enough look at them. Well, I think the disciples fascinate everyone. Everybody knows something about them, at least they know there are 12.

Most people know Peter, James, and John, and maybe Philip and Andrew, and everybody knows Judas. But most people sort of stop at that level and don't go any further. And you remember, Phil, we used to have discussions about the fact that we thought this study of the Masters Men should be a book, and we couldn't convince a publisher for a long time. It took years. It took years for them to say, well, maybe it would make a great book.

And then, of course, when we did the book, it just went crazy and it's still a bestseller because their stories are absolutely fascinating. Well, we've wrapped up the study on the Masters Men from Matthew chapter 10, looked at the disciples, how the Lord chose them, how He transformed their weaknesses into strength, and how He took people that most of us would think were useless and made them preeminently useful. And it's encouraging to see how Jesus took people who lacked faith, humility, commitment, power, and transformed them to turn the world upside down. And He does the same today for those who are willing to follow Him. That's the message of this wonderful history. The Masters Men study gives you a pattern for how the Lord trains us and how we can train and influence others for usefulness in His kingdom.

I think you need to have this study. It's available from Grace To You on MP3 download. You can also listen to every message using the free Grace To You app.

If you haven't done that, try that. And remember the new book we've been telling you about, 40 Lives in 40 Days, great devotional reading about the disciples, more than two dozen other Bible characters you'll relate to. Take advantage of these Bible teaching resources available from Grace To You.

Yes, do. Jesus took people who lacked faith, and He molded them into world changers, and He still uses ordinary people like you and me for His purposes. Get motivated by the disciples' example, pick up the audio series called The Masters Men, or John's new book, 40 Lives in 40 Days, when you contact us today. You can call our toll-free number, 800-55-GRACE, or go to our website, 40 Lives in 40 Days would be a great resource to go through with your family.

You might want to read a chapter each night at the dinner table and talk about it with your kids. Again, to get your copy of 40 Lives in 40 Days, call 800-55-GRACE, or go to That's our website, and while you are there, remember to download the messages from this series, The Masters Men. In fact, all of John's sermons, over 3,500 of them, are free at our website.

If you want teaching on the family, God's view on work, how to study the Bible, building self-discipline, how to pray, and dealing with sin, you'll find all of those subjects and a lot more. Again, 3,500 free sermons, yours at And thanks for praying for us and for the people we're reaching each day with this broadcast. We are grateful every time you bring our needs before the throne of God. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson, encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John will answer practical questions about the Christian life. Don't miss that helpful Q&A. That's 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-16 16:03:37 / 2023-03-16 16:14:12 / 11

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