The Course of Judas

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Men love something. Trace the course of Judas. What was it that led him astray? He loved money, not so uncommon an evil. In this he was the world's prudent man—"Men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself." Psalm 49:1818Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. (Psalm 49:18). But observe the progress of corrupt nature; a little circumstance in John 12:3-63Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 4Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, 5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. (John 12:3‑6) may help us to see the connection. Satan suggests a way to gratify the lust there. Well, he goes on, and what is his next step? Satan puts it into his heart to betray his Master. Judas, it may be, thinking that the blessed One would have been delivered in some way, as at other times, and thus he get his money and yet save his character, consents. Man will excuse himself by any folly. Sin has its progress with a defiled conscience. Hypocrisy now enters; he sits with Jesus at the table (goes on with religiousness) even after he had sold him. Mark, too, it was "after the sop" that Satan entered, never nearer to Christ in form. Now he is hardened against even the relentings of nature; he goes out and betrays the Son of man with a kiss. Here then is the progress of corrupt nature toward this fearful consummation—first, lust; second, a means of gratifying it in his office of bearer of the bag (all this goes on along with religiousness, in the very company of Christ, from day to day); third, he is led to the ultimate character of his crime, at a time and in circumstances of most blessing to a true disciple; fourth, the heart is hardened, so that the betrayal takes place even with a kiss, the token of affection. Sinning and religiousness go on together. Again we say, and here we have an illustration of it, that where the power of godliness is not, nearness to godly things is only the more dangerous.
Well, we have the solemn declaration that such shall be the history of Christendom. "Three unclean spirits... go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16)—that day when the long-suffering of God shall have closed, when, in fact, a longer delay would become the allowance of unrighteousness. Judgment will then be according to this nearness. Its full tide will roll in upon Christendom. At the present hour that long-suffering has been 1900 years running on; but when the testimony of truth has been fully rejected, the doom will come.
We speak not of the judgment of the dead, but of the living. Where then is the resource from this dreadful progress and consummation of wickedness, in the place where righteousness is expected? It is not in man's will, for through that he is the slave of Satan- nor in forms of religiousness. Satan can enter in with the sop. Neither the one nor the other will keep him out. Man's natural power, his capacity to do great things, may be vaunted on the one hand; and on the other, a reliance upon ordinances and observances may be insisted upon. For a time these may seem the most opposing schools, but a connecting link will be found in man's corrupt nature, managed by the craft of the great enemy; and at last both will subserve his purposes, who is to exalt "himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2 Thess. 2:44Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The place of special privileges unheeded, of special light, will be the place of special judgment.