William J. Stewart | Faces Surrounding Calvary
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into may foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Paul writes the above statement in his first letter to Timothy, warning against the pursuance of material wealth. Many have ceased serving God in order to turn to the quest of money, fame and fortune; but none so widely known and tragic as Judas Iscariot.
Judas was an apostle of Christ. A chosen individual to walk about with the Saviour of all mankind. He saw sites that many never have, heard teachings that would pierce the ears, witnessed miracles that would cause the strongest of atheists to fall to their knees and confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Judas experienced what many men of God had desired over many generations. To see, hear and take part in the events of the coming of the Lamb of God.
Judas is an intricate part of the Calvary hill crucifixion. His face was not seen at the cross, but his influence and deeds are manifest there. Judas was used in the fulfilling of Scripture. He was the one by whom the Son of Man was betrayed.
The question that might cross our minds would be, “why would he betray Jesus?” How could he hand over a Friend, and the man that he knew was the Son of God to be nailed to a cross? We put ourselves in his position and confidently affirm that we would never commit such a hideous offense.
Place Judas’ actions along side the words which we opened with from the apostle Paul, and it should humble us all. Judas was not an evil individual. Jesus saw something in him, and no doubt, Judas served Jesus faithfully, for a time. “…Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Judas was not content. He wanted more. The sparkle of silver had caught his eye. The gleam of fortune attracted him. He found treasure in heaven to be insufficient, and thus attempt to lay up for himself on the earth.
“…Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare…” The desire in the heart of Judas was no longer to serve God. He was tempted by the pleasures of money. He fell to that which can be a root of evil if it is allowed to control an individual. And thus, it led to all kinds of evil. The betrayal of a Friend and Lord, lies and deceit, hypocrisy and greed.
His love for money polluted him, and possessed him. It became his goal. Money, Money, Money!!! he departed from the faith long before he betrayed Jesus. As soon as his desire turned from the service of God to the service of self, he had left the faith. The end result, his own destruction, eternal destruction. Judas would be condemned to an eternity of darkness and terror, by his own hand.
Judas is a warning to us. Paul gave Timothy instruction concerning the rich, but often instruction is hard to fully comprehend unless it is enacted. Judas is an example of what Paul was talking about. Let us decide for ourselves that “…having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”