Eleven of the greatest men in the Bible never guessed there was a phony in their midst. They had lived with him as a brother for three years, and had even trusted him with their group’s money. He had done everything they had done: he had preached, he had cast out demons, he had healed the sick as we see in Matthew 10:1-4, “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.“
Never once in all those activities was he “exposed.” Even at the Last Supper when the disciples were told one of them would betray Jesus; they all wondered who it was. No one knew: no one except Jesus and Judas himself.
But Judas didn’t have to remain a phony. The sop Jesus handed him at the Last Supper was a ceremonial bread reserved for the meal’s honored guest. When Judas planted the kiss of betrayal on Jesus’ cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane, the ever-loving Son of God turned to him and said, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Jesus never stopped loving Judas. He always left the door of repentance and salvation open. Judas himself slammed it shut by refusing to yield to Jesus as Master of his life. Oh, he had called him “Master” many times; even at the moment of betrayal, but his heart had said, “I will not have this man rule over me.”
How is it with you? Are you like Judas, saying all the right words, doing all the right things? Are you feeling empty, fearful, and guilt-ridden inside? Jesus waits to receive you, if you will only yield to Him as Savior and Master of your life.
If Judas could return for just one hour to speak to you personally, undoubtedly he would try to persuade you to make the decision he did NOT make. He would talk to you about your eternal destiny. There is a good possibility he would ask you: Do you know for certain that if you were to die today, you would go to heaven?
Tragically, many people have the idea that even if God made eternal life possible, He would not let us in on the secret. The good news is that God does offer eternal life and that you can be sure of receiving it. In fact, one reason the Bible was written was to get this message to you. The Bible states, “These things have I written unto you that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” I John 5:13.
Suppose that you were to die tonight and stand before God; what reason would you give Him for allowing you into Heaven? Would you tell Him about all the things you have done for Him? Would you mention your tithes and offerings, your work for the church, your baptism, your perfect Sunday School attendance? Many people would. But the Bible says that none of these answers are acceptable. There is only one answer and it is given in great detail in the Bible. This answer is known as the Gospel, which means, “Good News.”
Imagine yourself as an artist painting The Last Supper. You have spent many long hours painstakingly brushing in every minute detail. The canvas is beginning to come alive. The dimly lit room, the massive table surrounded by Jesus and the Twelve; it all seems so real. You have just one figure to portray before the portrait is complete: you have not drawn Judas. His chair is empty. Thoughtfully you study the scene and wonder: “What did he really look like?”
What do you think? Practically every portrait of Judas reveals a man dressed in black. His face is twisted in anger; his expression is sinister. His picture looks like one you would find in the mug file at the police station.
Contrary to what most people think, Judas could not have looked like that at all. In fact, he was the opposite. When the time came for the disciples to choose a treasurer, they picked Judas. he probably looked more trustworthy than any of the others! He was different and that is without question. He was the only disciple not from Galilee. He was from Judea and he probably felt like a Southern gentleman in New York City!
But we do not remember Judas for this difference. We remember him for the difference, not in his personality, but in his character. Judas was a traitor. That is what we think of when his name is mentioned.
But Judas did not have to betray Jesus Christ. He had the same opportunities offered to the others. He was, after all, chosen to be a disciple after Jesus spent a night in prayer. But Judas sold out. He made a decision and he paid the price for it.
Judas wrongly used the greatest power God gives to man: the power of choice. God has given to you that same power of choice. He offers you the same opportunity He offered Judas. On the surface, Judas was probably one of the most “spiritual” of the disciples, but he was a counterfeit Christian. He was 100% phony. And, unfortunately, a staggering number of professing “Christians” today are just like Judas.