What I learned about Judas Iscariot is not exactly what I expected. At first, I didn’t have much sympathy. Betrayal comes from someone we trusted. One of the big differences between the other disciples and Judas, is that Judas allowed his own doubts and fears into full-fledged resentment and bitterness.
The odd thing about the story of Judas is that we have heard about his betrayal to the point that we feel we really know him. This act of betrayal resulted in the forgiveness of our sins. There are few biblical verses that mention Judas except when he disagrees with what Jesus is doing or allowing to happen, and when he actually performs his betrayal.
In Matthew 26:7 – 9 we read about a woman who came to Jesus with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it on the Savior’s head during His meal. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” This woman expressed her love for Jesus the best way she knew how. The disciples criticized her wastefulness, but Jesus commended her action.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
Even though it appears that all the disciples were resentful over this incident, it was only Judas who saw it as a point of separation from the group. It was after Jesus defended the woman’s behavior that Judas left the room and went to perform his betrayal. His leaving indicated the end of his willingness to follow the Son of God.
Immediate judgment is a trait that can get us all in trouble. We can all learn to be more patient, slow to anger, slow to judge, and willing to forgive and more tolerant of other’s actions.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
The lesson we need to learn in mortality is that we must all learn to become submissive, humble, teachable, and patient with one another. We must be forgiving of the shortcomings of others and pray that they will extend the same kindness to us.
Even though Jesus made Judas aware that he knew exactly what was going on, Judas passed an opportunity to confess his actions and restore his relationship with Jesus. When Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the kiss he used to identify the Savior was more than normal affection, perhaps a sarcastic kiss. Judas allowed his own issues to be worked on by Satan until he was willing to put an end to whatever it was he thought Jesus was doing, at any cost.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11
One of the big differences between the other disciples and Judas, is that Judas allowed his own doubts and fears to fester into hostility. The other disciples had not allowed their personal doubts to turn into resentment. It isn’t difficult to be offended; it is more difficult to seek reconciliation.
Judas is often painted as being a stingy man. I think this is partly because he was the keeper of the purse for the disciples, and we have all probably experienced those conversations that inevitably come up with the “keeper of the bag” at home or at work when the money gets low.
Are we willing to inconvenience ourselves and give to others? Are we seeking service or hiding from service? Are we stingy in any way with what we have been given from the Lord, be it in money, time, service, or attitude?
In many ways it appears that human emotions and relationships have changed little since the days our Savior walked the earth. We are just as susceptible to the weaknesses of the mind and heart as Judas and even the other disciples were. Our task is to learn from the tragic lesson of Judas Iscariot and keep constant vigilance over our own souls to make sure we don’t fall into the same traps he did.