We do not generally spend a lot of time talking about Judas, because he committed an unfathomable act of treachery. However, if we can step back for a second look, we may find a character who makes us squirm because he is just a bit too familiar. Before Judas betrayed Jesus, he was looking for a Messiah who would let him follow his own plans. How can someone who is in the presence of the Light fall so far from grace into darkness?
When Judas Iscariot, the disciple of Jesus, mouthed the Lord’s Prayer, especially when it came time to say “Your will be done,” perhaps he voiced this prayer with the tacit assumption that God’s will paralleled his own. We have probably all been guilty of that sin at some point in our lives. What happens when God’s will differs from my own? What happens when the fulfillment of the prayer, that is, the part when God’s will is accomplished, flies in the face of my will?
We essentially have two options when God does not follow our plan for life: going our own way or readjusting our course. On the night of Jesus’s arrest, Judas had previously made his decision to go his own way. That is to say, at some point in his apprenticeship to Jesus he rejected his Master and decided to do his own thing. It would seem proximity to light does not guarantee full illumination.
Shadows may arise whenever light shines on a room, they happen due to obstructions such as a table, chairs, or any objects. Likewise, the presence of the light in our heart will not ensure that our heart will be illuminated if we have objects that block the light. Going to the church is never a guarantee that we will emerge as God’s righteous people. It is about the change of heart, when we get out of the way and allow the light of God to illuminate completely in every corner of our heart.
We all occasionally have obstacles casting shadows and blocking the light allowing our own personal motives to override the plans of God for our lives. Judas must have had a motive for his betrayal of Jesus. Although money may have been a contributing factor, it was not the primary reason. Judas may have been a pilferer, as the Gospel of John suggests, but the fact that he very shortly returned the “blood” money he initially received from the Jewish leaders indicates that greed was not the whole story.
Judas refused to let the light of God to expose the dark places of his heart. We should be careful of having a spiritual light without authentic faith, light without enlightenment, and knowledge without belief. There is a difference between knowing biblical and spiritual truth, and between knowing the bible and knowing God. Knowing the Bible is accomplished simply by examining and studying the word of God or reading articles related to it. However, the personal knowledge of God can only be obtained with a personal relationship with God.
Plans come between us and God slowly, almost imperceptibly sometimes it is often hard to imagine that God could possibly have something better in mind than our own plans. Over the years, I wanted to follow Jesus, but I always maintained a backup plan or two. I had goals I wanted to meet, assuming that I could keep them along with my relationship with Jesus. I was quite far from Peter’s statement, “Who do we have but you?” If I were honest, I would have said, “Well, I sure would like you to be in my life, Jesus, but I also have some other great stuff that offers meaning and fulfillment. In fact, I’d like your help with some of those things.” Each time I let go of these plans or goals and allowed God to reshape them, I found that my own original vision for the future was not very great after all. A surrendered disciple can say to Jesus: I will do whatever you would have me to do; the details do not matter, as long as you are in my life.
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21