Which one are you? Judas or a sincere Man of God?
By By Edison D Bynoe
Matthew 26:14-16, 19-25, 47-50; 27:3-5. Let’s consider some notes in relation to our texts. Judas may have been the only disciple coming from Judea; the rest came from Galilee – 26:14. He was an apostle – 26:14. He initially may have been a person of integrity because he would not have been trusted as a treasurer. We know that eventually he became a thief. He was willing to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver – 26:15. This amount was equivalent to 120 denarii; a worker normally received 1 denarius for a day’s work so Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 4 months of wages. 30 pieces of silver was also the price of a slave. To eat with a person was tantamount to saying, “I am your friend and will not hurt you” – 26:23. A kiss was a token of respect with which disciples customarily greeted their rabbi – 26:49.
Judas was the only disciple in Matthew to call Jesus “Rabbi,” an indication that he did not properly recognize Jesus for who He was – 26:49. Jesus called Judas “friend” which may indicate that even though Jesus knew Judas’ wicked heart and actions, He offered him friendship and an opportunity to change his mind. Judas felt remorse because he had not planned for Jesus to be arrested and tried. He may have betrayed Jesus in order to force Him to take action against His enemies and to inaugurate the kingdom. Matthew states that Judas “hanged himself” (27:5) while Acts 1:18 records that he died by falling. There are two possibilities: Judas threw himself on a sharpened stake (the word for hang can also mean impaled) or he may have hung himself on a tree, but the rope broke.
There are certain things that we can learn from the life of Judas. Judas was called by Jesus who chose His disciples deliberately and conscientiously after a time of prayer. Further, Judas had a relationship with Jesus. Although Jesus had a more intimate relationship with Peter, James and John, He spent time with all of His disciples; New Testament discipleship did not exist outside the context of relationships. Additionally, Judas was anointed and used by Jesus. Jesus sent out all of the disciples and anointed them with power to preach the gospel and perform miracles. Judas was given a significant and trusted responsibility: he had responsibility for managing the money.
We can also say that Judas was no better or worse than the other disciples. All of them were imperfect, at times carnal and petty. The Gospels show Jesus rebuking them at various times for their ignorance, lack of faith and immaturity. Remember, all of the disciples, with the exception of John, fled when Jesus was arrested and Peter, who eventually became the initial leader of the church, betrayed Jesus and returned to his former trade of fishing after Jesus’ death. Judas allowed greed to fill his heart, so that he eventually became a thief. He also allowed satan to fill his heart, which culminated in his betrayal of Jesus. It is my conjecture that like Peter, Judas had opportunity to repent, but he only felt remorse. Judas should have lived a life of godly purpose and destiny but ended up in despair and destruction. Don’t be a Judas, but be a man of God.
A man of God has a relationship with God
John 3:1-5 gives the following account: There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. You can never realize your potential as a man without having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. People can do some great things apart from God, but they can never truly be great without God.
Sin destroys man’s potential. Just look around and we see the reality of this. In Barbados, we have boys on the block who seemingly just waste their time and talent on things like drugs, violence, laziness and lawlessness. Our prison system is full of men who followed the dictates of sin rather than the voice of God. Though we have seen an improvement with fathers showing an interest in their children, there are still many delinquent fathers who don’t understand their God given responsibility to be good fathers.
Too many men are procrastinating from accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. God wants men to have an intimate relationship with Him. He wants us to be His disciples. God wants men who are radically transformed by the gospel. He wants men who will be fully obedient to Him and who walk in righteousness. He wants men in whom Jesus is reigning. God wants men who know how to pray and intercede. He is looking for men of faith, who know how to trust Him. These are men who hear God and are open to and guided by the Holy Spirit. God wants men who study, meditate and live out the Word. He needs men who walk in power and authority and trample on scorpions and serpents. In that regard, God wants us to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. God wants men who are passionate and know their life purpose.
The Bible is replete with men who knew God and did exploits. Noah’s obedience resulted in his family’s deliverance and the preservation of the human race. Abraham lived a life of faith, surrender and sacrifice and became the father of the nation of Israel and the spiritual father of billions. Jacob wrestled with God and secured His blessing, illustrating the principle that we must pray and persevere. Joseph prospered in spite of persecution from his family, slavery and imprisonment and was the channel of deliverance for his family and prosperity for the Israelites. David was a worshiper who came from being a shepherd to killing Goliath and eventually becoming king. All of these men, along with so many others in the Old and New Testaments, were committed to God.
A man of God takes care of his family
Ephesians 5:25-28 tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.” Husbands are to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church. The husband must submit to the needs of the wife in an attitude of love and self-giving. Additionally, the husband is to provide love and security and be interested in the wife’s welfare in the same way that Christ loves the church. Women thrive on security: wives need to know that we are fully committed to them; although many women are workers, we as men must still be willing to provide for them; we need to affirm them and by so doing boost their self-image/esteem.
Husbands need to continue to be romantic with their wives. Some husbands once they get the wife stop being romantic. Romance can be based on the wife’s love language. Some wives, for example, love gifts; such gifts do not have to be expensive. Some wives love words of affirmation; all the husbands have to do is to tell their wives that they love them or offer them a compliment. Big things such as a diamond ring or a romantic vacation are great, but we must not feel that we always have to do something big to be romantic.
There are other things that husbands can do that express their love for their wives. One of those things is to involve the wife in decision making. Husbands are the head of the home and have a responsibility to provide leadership. However, that leadership is not autocratic rule: the husband is not a boss who dictates what the family should do. A loving relationship will involve the husband getting input from his wife. This shows that he respects his wife and her insight, it provides balance to the decision making process and it allows for better leadership.
Husbands need to help around the house. Home ownership means a myriad of responsibilities – vacuuming, mopping, dusting, scrubbing showers, cleaning out cupboards, cutting the hedge and other tasks. There are some husbands who leave most if not all of these responsibilities to their wives. Many of these wives are already working full time jobs, yet are still expected to come home and work just as hard or harder. Loving husbands must also be available to help with the children whether this means changing diapers, helping with homework, taking care of them when they are sick or fulfilling other responsibilities.
Husbands are to provide leadership and provision for the family’s spiritual and domestic needs (1 Timothy 5:8). It is important that you pray for and with your wife. Marriages can easily crumble when Christ is not at the center. Husbands should lead the family in devotions. This can be a challenge especially as children get older and as things get more hectic. However, this is important in keeping the family together and imparting a godly legacy to the children. Husbands must take the family to church, not as a burdensome ritual, but as a means of drawing close to God in corporate worship. Husbands need to be actively involved in ministry and most importantly must live the life and walk the talk. In other words, husbands and fathers need to model an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Husbands must demonstrate honor, understanding, appreciation and thoughtfulness (Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). They must respect their wives: she is your queen, a fellow heir of the promises of the kingdom; therefore, she must be treated with dignity. It is also essential that husbands understand their wives – the wife is not a man, this is why husbands need to know some of the differences between men and women. More importantly, each husband must know the uniqueness of his wife. Husbands must appreciate their wives. For example, women are good at multitasking; they tend to accomplish so much that we can easily take what they do for granted. Husbands need to learn to express gratitude for all that their wives do.
Husbands must be absolutely faithful to the marriage relationship (Matthew 5:27, 28). This includes getting lustful thoughts out of your head. Husbands need to stay away from pornography. With the advent of the internet, pornography is readily accessible. Many men, including Christian men, have a hard time resisting its lure. Not only is looking at pornography giving into lust, it also distorts our expectations and thinking about sex. No wife can compete with the pornographic images floating around in her husband’s head. Further, since thinking is already warped, pornography can eventually lead to physical affairs. Husbands must also avoid getting into compromising positions such as talking back with ex-girlfriends, particularly those you were sexually involved with, flirting (no, it is not innocent fun) or spending too much time with work colleagues of the opposite sex: this can lead to ungodly soul ties as you may become emotionally and romantically attached to the person.
The husband must be united to his wife. That word “united” means to be glued to. Preachers often speak of “leave and cleave” – the husband must leave his parents’ household and cleave to his wife in the formation of a new family unit. The husband must leave both physically and emotionally. Some husbands don’t do either: they spend too much time at their mother’s house or allow the mother to take the rightful place of the wife. A husband and wife are to become one flesh. The husband is now inextricably linked to the wife in a union that is intended to be inseparable. God’s ideal is that marriage be a permanent and joyful union; this means that separation and divorce must be resisted. Too many Christians through rebellion, selfishness and immorality are divorcing, doing the very thing that God says He hates. Husbands have the sacred mandate of doing everything through God’s enablement to keep their marriage strong and healthy.
A man of God lives to fulfill the purpose of God
Luke 4:42-44 says of Jesus, “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; 43 but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’ 44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.” Jesus knew His purpose and He didn’t allow anyone to distract Him from that purpose. His purpose included accomplishing the Father’s will; Jesus did nothing except what the Father told Him to do. He also came to inaugurate the kingdom of God, the rule of God that had to first begin in the heart of man. Another aspect of His purpose was to preach the gospel of the kingdom, teach the truths associated with the kingdom and demonstrate the power of the kingdom through miracles and healings. Jesus’ purpose also included being an example to man, so that the goal of every believer is to be like Jesus. His ultimate purpose was to redeem mankind, reconciling man to God through His death, burial and resurrection.
God created man with purpose. God’s original design was that man was to fill the earth and subdue it, to rule over everything – the sea, the air, the land. Man, in connection with his wife, was to be fruitful and multiply. Every man has a purpose that he is expected to fulfill before he dies, but there is an enemy who is trying to rob men of their purpose. Unfortunately, the enemy has succeeded in blinding too many of our men to their purpose, so that they wander in purposelessness and mediocrity.
Men have a responsibility to be leaders. While we can appreciate that women can and do serve in capacities of leadership, we must recognize that the primary mandate of leadership has been given to men. Often, women want to see men assuming the position of leadership. Husbands are to be the head of their homes. This is where their leadership matters most; this is an area where they cannot renege on their responsibility. When it comes to pastoral leadership, the apostle Paul is clear that a man who cannot manage his family has no right to be leading the church. Jesus raised up 12 male disciples who were to provide the primary leadership in the church. The early church, when it faced its crisis with the Hebraic and Grecian women, chose seven male deacons.
God wants to reveal our purpose to us. To discover our purpose, there are a few things that we need to embrace. We need to draw close to God; we discover our purpose through intimacy with our Heavenly Father. Prayer and fasting are crucial to developing intimacy with God and to recognizing, realizing and maintaining our purpose. Further, God’s Word will reveal our general purpose. I say general purpose because the Word will not tell us specifically such things as who to marry, what type of career to pursue or where to live. We cannot truly know the will of God if we do not spend quality time in His Word. Also, we must allow God to deliver us and sanctify us fully so that we can be open to hearing God’s voice and following His leading. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are not to be conformed to this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we will know what God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is.
There are things that can hinder us from knowing and realizing our purpose. Unbelief and a superficial relationship with God are two of those hindrances. Believers need to have faith and walk in the Spirit; they need to be fully obedient. These things are sadly lacking among some believers. Some in the Corinthian church were carnal and immature. The writer of Hebrews spoke about believers who were not yet ready for solid food, that is, the deep truths of the Word. Superficial believers don’t spend quality time in God’s presence through study of the Word and prayer. They do not recognize their privileges and responsibilities in the kingdom of God.
Another hindrance to realizing our purpose is prayerlessness. Prayer is a critical key to realizing the purpose of God; in God’s economy, He has established prayer as the means of communicating with Him and accomplishing His will in the earth. It is the effectual, fervent prayer of righteous men that avails much. It is the prayer of faith that removes mountains. As an inspiration and as an example, Jesus spent whole nights in prayer. In fact, it was after such a time that He chose His twelve disciples. Persistent prayer is connected to the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Simply put, without prayer, there will be no real explosion of the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The devil’s original sin was pride, a sin that he readily passed on to the human race. Pride displaces God on the throne of our hearts and exalts self. It is a spirit that leads us into various sins, which hinder us in realizing our purpose. Also, to know our purpose we have to be humble and teachable. God resists the proud, but He does give grace to the humble. Humility means that we will have a right view of ourselves: we will know our strengths and weaknesses and rather than depend on ourselves, we will depend on God. Further, we will listen to others as the Holy Spirit works through them to teach us various principles and truths that will help us realize our purpose. Christians who fail to realize their purpose typically think that they know it all. Proud persons also fail to submit to leadership. Pride can lead to rebellion against God-ordained leadership. The Bible is clear that we must submit to our leaders; to fail to do so is to put stumbling blocks in our path of progress.
Two other things that hinder us from realizing our purpose and potential are inconsistency and faithlessness. Inconsistency can be defined as “not always acting or behaving in the same way; not continuing to happen or develop in the same way; not consistent in principles, conduct, etc.” God has laid out principles of truth in His Word (His whole Word is truth, but, we are talking about principles for our success); our path to success requires us to consistently apply those principles. We can say that God is looking for consistent obedience. Too many churches and individuals lack consistency in doing what God requires. We tend to be ambivalent about the things that we need to do, so we do them occasionally. Purpose driven people must be disciplined: an athlete that does not have a consistent and disciplined training regimen cannot be successful or at best cannot maintain success. God says that stewards must be faithful. They must be faithful to God, to their area of calling and responsibility, to godly leadership, to the organization that they are a part of and to their relationships, particularly family relationships.
An attitude of selfishness will hinder men from realizing their purpose. Scripture tells us that a generous man will prosper; the person who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Generous men are willing to share whatever they have whether it results in their benefit or not. Selfish men are the opposite and if they do share anything they are thinking about what they can get in return. The Bible warns us of selfish ambition, ambition that is self-centered. From an organizational perspective, such ambition is not concerned about team goals or the rest of the team for that matter. The individual is the superstar, the diva, the person around whom the universe revolves. Selfish men compete against others rather than cooperate with them. This spirit is detrimental in the church and leads to strife and division. Selfishness is about personal gain even if it is at the expense of others. Selfish men may get to a certain point, but will inevitably fall short of their potential, because we can never really succeed without the help of and cooperation with others.
Jesus spoke of unforgiveness as a critical hindrance to prayer. If it is a hindrance to answered prayer, then it must also be a hindrance to realizing our purpose. Unforgiveness involves holding on to hurt and anger: we remember what people did to us and refuse to let it go. In some instances, we believe that they have to pay so we retaliate in vindictive ways. Unforgiveness leaves us feeling bitter, a bitterness that can be directed to the persons who hurt us, to others and to the world. It skews our outlook on life so that we perceive the world as hostile and harsh. This negatively impacts our attitude and work performance. Ultimately, unforgiveness destroys relationships, and relationships are important to accomplishing what God wants us to do.
Another thing that prevents us from realizing our purpose is associating with the wrong company. The Bible tells us that bad company corrupts good character: typically, we take on the characteristics of those we hang around the most. In Proverbs 1, a godly father instructs his son to avoid being with the wrong people: such people are those who would entice him to do evil. We must not be around people who are consistently negative and who are carnal (dominated by sinful ways of thinking, petty and spiritually immature, lacking the ability to see and grasp God’s kingdom). We must avoid being around those who are discouragers, who speak against the call of God on our lives. Rather, there is a need to be around those who are positive and spiritually mature; these are people who know how to pray and how to tap into God’s presence and power.
The final two things I will mention that hinder purpose are laziness and lethargy. Purpose driven people are people who get up and do things, while purposeless people either adopt a laid back approach to life or fail to do the things that are necessary to success. I have discovered that one of the major lacks in the church is not a lack of good ideas or even in some instances God ideas, but a lack of initiative, that is, a lack of doing the things that need to be done. There is often a failure to follow through with the consistent action needed to be successful. Too many of God’s people are passive, watching and waiting for things to happen. They are comfortable in their Christian life.
While Jesus did wait for a period before initiating His ministry, His life was a model of strategic doing to accomplish the will of the Father. He emphasized that believers must work while it is yet day because night will come and no man will be able to work. What He modeled, He effectively passed on to the disciples, who were accused of turning the world upside down. Lazy, lethargic believers are typically like the man who buried his talent. A wise person has said that the opportunity of a lifetime must be redeemed in the lifetime of the opportunity. In other words, opportunities to do, to realize our purpose will not be around indefinitely.
Don’t be a Judas. Judas walked with Jesus but missed out on the true benefits and blessings of the kingdom. Perhaps, no one was ever so close to the kingdom, and yet so far. God intends for you to leave a godly legacy in the earth, a legacy that is based on becoming the man that He wants you to be: a man of conviction, character, confidence and courage. One of satan’s strategies has been to destroy men, to rob them of genuine masculinity and divine purpose. Ensure that he does not succeed in your life; and when you have been strengthened, turn around and strengthen other men. It is time for men to arise and be men of the Spirit.
Edison graduated from Global University, Springfield, MO with a BA in Bible/Theology (Dean’s List). Also graduated from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary with an MA in Theological Studies (cum laude). He is currently the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship and the national director for Global University, Barbados.