The Ultimate Betrayal

October 31, 2021

Josh Pollard

Jesus was betrayed by Judas - one of his own disciples! Why would he do that and what can we learn from it?

The Ultimate Betrayal

October 31, 2021

Josh Pollard

Jesus was betrayed by Judas - one of his own disciples! Why would he do that and what can we learn from it?


Hey everyone, My name is Josh Pollard. I’m the Adult Ministries Pastor Here at Renovation Church.

Let me take you back to the year 2005. An early June evening. It was my senior prom. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Do you guys remember it?.. you do?.. you remember my prom?... interesting ok… Well then you’ll remember that the theme was “under the sea” and that while I went with some friends, I actually wanted to go with this girl Daniella. Turns out, Daniella came alone to the prom so I had a chance. That is until Shawn… my “friend”… leans over and says “Hey Josh, when the last song comes on, I want to dance with Daniella. Will you dance with my date so that I can make my move?” … “yeah sure” I said, with the my mouth but not my mind…. A few moments late the DJ comes on and says “Alright everyone this will be the last dance of the night so grab that special someone” and “A moment like this” by Kelly Clarkson comes on. I had planned for this. I position myself strategically, Daniella turned around, and there I was. She put her hands up to dance. I Looked over a Shawn… he looked at me…. And I betrayed him with a shrug and a smile and danced the night away. I don’t remember ever talking to Shawn again after that. in fact I’m not even sure his name was Shawn, it might have been Mike or something, but who cares, I won!

Well, Today we’re going to look at another betrayal. One with far more sinister implication. It is the story of the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, a man named Judas. Go ahead an grab your Bibles. If you are using the Bibles under the chair in front of you we’ll be on pages 719. This week we are getting back into our study of the book of Luke. Luke is 1 of the 4 books in the Bible about the life, teachings, death, & resurrection of Jesus. We have been on-again, off-again teaching through the book of Luke for over 3 years now as a church. We left off in chapter 21 with Jesus pointing out the generosity of a poor widow. Following that is a long portion of Jesus teaching about the destruction of the temple and the signs of the end times. Pastor David did an entire series on that a few years back called “The End of the World” if you want to listen to that on our website. We’ve generally skipped over passages that we’ve taught on before, so that brings us today to Luke 22:1-6. Again, we’re on page 719 in in the bibles under the chairs. If you don’t already own one go ahead and keep that one! Let’s start reading at the biggening of Chapter 22:

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.

3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

The first question most people want to ask is “Why, Judas Why?! Why would you do that?!” Well there are three reasons why this happened.

The first reason this happened was the Sin of Judas.

[3 reasons Judas Betrayed Jesus

-The Sin of Judas]

Many people try to unravel Judas’ personal motivation for why he might have done this.

Some scholars think that it was that Judas was unsatisfied with Christ as the Messiah. Remember that this happened at Passover, when all of Israel is coming to Jerusalem to remember how God destroyed the Egyptians to set them free, but now they have to celebrate that memory under the thumb of the Roman empire. It was a time of nationalistic pride and had obvious potential to stir up rebellious activity. And then Judas follows Jesus into Jerusalem as everyone shouts “The King who come in the name of the lord!” and he’s seen Jesus’ power every day for so long so He knows what Jesus is Capable of. But when Jesus gets to the city does, he finally free it from the Romans? No. In Luke 19:41 it says he wept for it instead. “This is not the messiah I was hoping for. Where’s the king I left everything to follow. Where is the conquering and the destruction of these Romans? Where are your powers? Where is our freedom? What a waste of time this has been.” He had ambitions and expectations of being in the new Kings inner circle. Ambition can be a dangerous fire to play with.

Other’s think he did this out of fear. Everyone knows that the Religious leaders want Jesus Dead, Judas sees how things are going, Jesus has already predicted his own death 3 times at this point and told them all that about how their going to be persecuted and suffer, so maybe he wants to get out in front of this thing, and curry some favor with the religious leaders. Maybe if I turn Jesus over, I can get out of this alive.

Perhaps it was just the greed. John 12 calls him a thief – it says “he [didn’t care] about the poor… keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” So he sees an opportunity to make some easy money and he takes it.

Whatever the personal motivation I’m not sure, a lot of that is speculation but I can tell you that the reason Judas did it was because he was a sinner just like us. Everything in him was bent away from God. We think what a terrible thing to have done, but there isn’t much reason why we wouldn’t have done it if we were in the same situation.

The second reason why this happened was because of the Enticement of Satan.

[3 reasons Judas Betrayed Jesus

-The Sin of Judas

-The Enticement of Satan]

The last time we saw Satan in the book of Luke was back in chapter 4 where he tested Jesus in the wilderness. Satan promised Jesus all of these different things if He would just do what Satan said and time after time Jesus would just quote scripture back to him. Eventually Satan gives up and it says he leaves him until an opportune time. Here is Luke 22 is that opportune time.

We read “Then Satan entered Judas” as if it is some kind of invasion against Judas’ will and he’s just a puppet now but that not how it works. Satan tempts us but we are always the one that ultimately sins. Satan did not force Judas to do anything that was against his will. We should see this more as Satan tempting Judas with an idea, an opportunity, and instead of resisting like Christ did, he says ok come on in, let’s do this. Remember that Judas was already in cahoots with Satan all along. In John 6:70-71 Jesus says “…Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)”

So Satan entered Judas… but it was still Judas. Oh how often have I heard the voice of the tempter speak in my ear, but nonetheless, it is still always me that sins. He places the rock in my hand, but I throw it at my enemy, He shows me the dropped wallet, I put it in my pocket. He presents an idea or opportunity, I accept I open the door, I welcome him in.

We often make too much of Satan in our lives, and assume he’s responsible for everything bad, but we can never take ourselves out of the equation. He is a tempter, and nothing else. He can never sin for us, we do that all on our own.

The third reason why Jesus was betrayed is Sovereignty of God.

[3 reasons Judas Betrayed Jesus

-The Sin of Judas

-The Enticement of Satan

-The Sovereignty of God]]

The sovereignty of God means that God is our Sovereign, which is a fancy word for a ruler, a King. And the Sovereignty of God means that God is in authority over the world, and that his ultimate purposes will come to pass. We can never forget that it was God’s plan for Jesus to die for our sins from before the foundations of all creation. This was not an unfortunate mistake or an oversight by God, it was all part of the plan. He had a foreknowledge from the beginning that he would create everything, that we would fall away and that he would come to earth to die in our place and he did this all as a way to rightfully glorify himself. We know that everything that happened in Jesus’ life was just as God planned it because he fulfilled hundreds of prophecies in the OT. Today’s verse is an example of one of those. Psalm 41 prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend. It says:

Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.

Jesus ascribes this psalm to Judas is John 13.

The fact that Jesus would be betrayed for money is prophesied in Zechariah 11, where it says they would pay 30 pieces of Silver and that the betrayer would then throw those 30 pieces of silver back into the temple doors, which is exactly what happens in the book of Matthew. How amazing is that? The Bible records this incredibly detailed prophecy hundreds of years before it happened, and it happened in that exact way! It is truly God’s Word!

So those are the three reason that Judas betrayed Jesus; Judas sin, Satan’s enticement, and God’s sovereignty. We can also learn some really important lessons for our own walk with Christ from this episode with Judas.

The first thing we can learn is the Danger of Coming to Church without coming to Christ.

[4 Things we can learn from Judas’ Betrayal

-The Danger of Coming to Church without Coming to Christ]

Think about it like this. Judas was in the best church ever. Jesus was his pastor! Everyone else at the church was one of the disciples! He in the right crowd. He heard sermon after sermon. Perfect sermons every time! Never a touch of bad theology, always the perfect mixture of explanation and application, never a poorly advised dad joke that distracts from the main point. His “church” had the perfect mixture of learning and serving, The perfect balance of Evangelism and discipleship, it was never sidetracked by some topical issue no matter how many times people told their pastor that he was doing it the wrong way. No his pastor stayed focused on the Gospel. It was a church alive with prayer, it was a church the believed in the power of God and not just the words of men, and not just believed it but experienced it bold faced every day. It was a church that Loved both Justice and mercy and was made of people that were genuinely reborn striving to live holy lives. And you think your church attendance is good when you get to Sunday Morning and your house group both in one week, well Judas lived with his pastor.

The Bottom line is that Judas went to church. But he never came to Christ.

There is a danger in coming to church all the time in that you begin to think your attendance counts for something. Hopefully you’re like me in that you worked hard to find a church with solid theology - A church that knows it’s not perfect but is working to grow in holiness and love – a church that is dependent on prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. A church that knows their job is not just to “Go make disciples of all the nations” but also to “Teach them to obey all that Christ Commands.” But some of you in this room are church-goer, but not Christians. Being a part of a church and being a part of Christ are two different things. Remember that Judas was “One of the Twelve”! Even holding the highest office of the church does not necessarily mean that you hold Christ in the highest office of your life. But sometime, when you’ve been coming to church for so long without coming to Christ, you being to fear people more then God, and you think “Well I can’t stand up now, I can’t get baptized now, I can’t raise my hand now, I can’t admit that I just a church-goer, but not a Christ-lover. What would my friends think? I’m a small group leader! I’m a kid’s teacher, I went on that mission trip. Judas was there physically the whole time, but he still never went Christ in his heart.

Don’t get me wrong, Hebrews 10 tells us not to neglect coming together…coming to church is extremely important, but don’t be fooled into thinking your physical presence counts for too much.

The next thing we must watch out for is the danger of having friend but not fellowship.

[4 Things we can learn from Judas’ Betrayal

-The Danger of Coming to Church without Coming to Christ

-The Danger of HHaving Friends but ot Fellowship]

When Jesus predicted that one of his disciples was going to betray him, they all looked at him in disbelief and said who?!. None of them look over and said “I bet it’s judas.” They were all friends. I imagine for the most part they liked and trusted each other. Or at least they associated with each other. Friends at church is a great thing. But it’s not the same as fellowship. Fellowship implies that you have something outside of your relationship that gives your relationship purpose and strength. It means you are working towards something together – think of fellow team mates, or fellow soldiers, or the fellowship of the ring in Lord of the Rings. Friendship can be a part of it, but the mission is what makes the relationship meaningful.

Some of you go to your house group or your small group to make friends, which is fine, but as soon as it’s not comfortable, or totally natural, or super easy, or you have a conflict you jump ship. Being in Christian fellowship is not something we just do because it’s fun, we do it because we need each other to be the body. Do you hangout with these people just because you like them and have similar hobbies? Or because they are going the same direction as you, they have the same life purpose as you, they treasure the same thing as you with their entire being, they have the same Holy Spirit alive in them as you? That they are not just trying to glorify God with their own live but they will try to glorify God with your life too by speaking truth to you even when it’s difficult.

Judas did not treasure Jesus. He was not on the same mission as the other 11. He may have been friends with them but he never joined their fellowship.

We talked just last week about how Romans 8 teaches that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus Our Lord.” Well, one may ask what about people that walk away from the faith? Judas is a prime example. For a very clear answer to that question we can go to 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” People that walk away from Christian life may have had great friends at church, but they never fully join the fellowship in the first place. A proof of fellowship is endurance.

The third thing we can learn from Judas is the Danger of wanting the Kingdom but not the King.

[4 Things we can learn from Judas’ Betrayal

-The Danger of Coming to Church without Coming to Christ

-The Danger of HHaving Friends but ot Fellowship

-The Danger of Wanting the Kingdom but not the King.]

I can assure you that like any good Jew in the 1st century, Judas wanted a messiah, a new Jewish King to restore the Kingdom of Israel. Judas wanted that bad enough to leave his prior life and follow Jesus for three years. But he was only in it for what he could get out of it. He was a thief that would steal from the groups money bag. His question was what can this guy do for me. And when he saw an opportunity to make 30 pieces of silver off selling him out, he took it.

One of the worst things a pastor can do is to try to convince you to want to go to heaven because it’s so cool there, it’s got no sadness, it’s got no pain, all your friends are going to be there, you can ice fish all summer long if you want. If you want to go to heaven because it sounds amazing, then you’ve got huge problem. Heaven is only amazing because it’s where God is. Ask yourself a few questions. Would you want to go to heaven if Christ wasn’t there? What do you look forward to more – Heaven or God? Never approach the King asking what can this guy do for you, approach with the truth that you were created to glorify and enjoy that King! That is your created purpose and the best thing he can do for you is to allow you to live our your purpose.

He has to be your desire, your greatest treasure, He himself – the person of Christ. Not the effects of Christ, not the benefits of Christ, but Christ. I’m convinced that the longer you go on being saved in Christ, the less time you think about being saved and the more time you spend just thinking about Christ.

Which brings us to the fourth thing we can learn from Judas is the danger of the sinner’s belief without the sinner’s repentance.

[4 Things we can learn from Judas’ Betrayal

-The Danger of Coming to Church without Coming to Christ

-The Danger of HHaving Friends but ot Fellowship

-The Danger of Wanting the Kingdom but not the King.

-The Danger of the sinner’s belief without the sinner’s repentance]

Repentance is not just to feel sorry for our sins, but to reorient your whole life away from ourselves and our sin and onto Christ. We ask people at the end of each service if they want to become Christ followers so that we can walk along side them, help them, and celebrate with them, and pray with them. In fact I’m going to give you that opportunity in just a moment.

But what I want to stress here is that Judas believed Jesus existed. He saw with his own eyes the miracles that Jesus did. He knew that Jesus was loving, and merciful, and holy and just. He saw Jesus bring back people from the dead. He saw Jesus forgive sinner after sinner after sinner. He saw Jesus calm storms with just his words. So I think Judas “believed” in Jesus. But what I think Judas didn’t do was repent of his own sin – turn his life completely away from that sin at whatever cost. Nowhere does it say “And Judas came to Christ and repented of his sins”. No, he just kept on stealing. Though he saw Jesus’ love and grace every day. The closest we get is in Matt 27 where it says:

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

It says he was remorseful, he recognized his sin, but he didn’t repent and come back to Jesus. He saw Jesus forgive so many times, but when He needed it the most, he didn’t go to the one place where he could get it – to Jesus. Instead, he went and hung himself in a field. The thing that always gets me about Judas hanging himself is this: Had he gone to Jesus and repented, Jesus would have forgiven even his betrayal. Peter, another disciple, sinned against Jesus, but Peter was restored. And so could have Judas been restored. But Judas chose dying in his shame over bringing his shame to Jesus. The truth is that God loves you so much that even if you've BETRAYED him by the way you've lived your life, He would still forgive you. Bring your shame to Him, don’t run away in it."

So consider today, that even the best church ever, the church of the 12 Disciples, had some people that seemed Christian but really needed to repent. This passage teaches us that there is a difference between people who believe in something intellectually and believe in something with their whole life. There are many who can intellectually say, “Oh yeah, I believe Jesus died on a cross,” but that kind of belief won’t save you. It wasn’t going to save Judas. It’s faith that looks like repentance that saves you. Faith that says, “I believe you died for me, so I’m leaving my old life behind and I will treasure you, Jesus, as king of my life. All of it. That is genuine faith. And that is the decision before you. You may have been in church your whole life, and you may know all about Jesus. But have you truly repented of your sins, believed in his death, and treasure him above everything else in your life? If not, you aren’t saved, and I cannot urge you enough begin doing that right now. Don’t just come to church, come to Christ. Don’t just have friends, join the fellowship. Don’t just want the kingdom, worship the king, and don’t just believe in your head, without repenting in your heart.”

So let’s all pray right now. That the Holy Spirit would be moving and convicting people that need to be open and honest with God and with themselves and that they would know that heaven rejoiced more over one sinner who Repents then 99 righteousness people who don’t need to. And if that’s you then I want you to stand up. Don’t hide like Judas did. Say no more to that way of life. Listen to God’s call on your life and stand today.

Copyright: Josh Pollard
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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