Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Signs of the Times

December 24, 1894

A Lesson from the Experience of Judas

By Mrs. E. G. White ST December 24, 1894

It was a grief to the Saviour that his disciples failed to comprehend the character of his kingdom. He plainly stated to his followers the humiliation, suffering, and death that awaited him; but they seemed to be unable to understand it, and on the way to the scene of the Saviour's trial and death, disputed among themselves who should be greatest in his kingdom. Judas was numbered among the twelve. He was accepted, not because he was perfect, but notwithstanding his imperfections. Peter, James, and John were not perfect characters, but they were received by the Master in order that they might be moulded by the words he should speak and the example he should set before them. Judas had witnessed the power which the disciples had over the unclean spirits, and could testify that the devils were subject unto them. ST December 24, 1894, par. 1

But the often-repeated statements of Christ in regard to his kingdom not being an earthly kingdom, created thoughts of disaffection in the mind of Judas. He had marked out a line upon which he expected Christ to work. He had planned that Christ should deliver John the Baptist from prison, and, lo! John was left to be beheaded in prison, and Jesus withdrew himself and his disciples into a country place, instead of avenging the death of John. Judas wanted more aggressive warfare established, and thought that if Jesus would not hold them back from carrying out their schemes, they would be more successful. Doubt became more established in his mind as he saw the gathering enmity of the Jewish leaders, and saw the challenge go by unheeded by Christ when they requested that he should show them a sign from heaven. His heart was open to unbelief, and the enemy supplied mind and heart with thoughts of questioning and rebellion. Why did Christ dwell so much upon that which was discouraging, portraying his trials and persecutions, and describing the trials and persecutions which his disciples must endure? Why did he refer to his own humiliation and death? Were their hopes to be all disappointed? Was it not the prospect of having a high place in the new kingdom which God was to establish that led him to espouse the cause of Christ? Judas had not decided that Jesus was not the Son of God, he had not made up his mind that he performed miracles through the agency of Satan, but yet he was questioning, and seeking to find some way by which he could explain the mighty works which he did. ST December 24, 1894, par. 2

The other disciples were as unwilling as was Judas to receive the statement concerning Christ's humiliation and death, for it seemed to them to mean an end to all their hopes; but when Christ presented before them his true mission, they were not offended, but appreciated the spiritual good that was to come, although they but dimly perceived its nature. Jesus said unto them: “I am the Bread of Life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that Bread that came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead; he that eateth of this Bread shall live forever.... Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? what and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given him of my Father.” ST December 24, 1894, par. 3

Jesus, the Lord of life and glory, was about to suffer an ignominious death, and he spoke plain truth in order that the characters of all those who professed to be his disciples might be developed, so that the true and faithful might not have added to their trials the discouragement that these doubters and questioners should bring upon them at his death. Judas was among those who said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon; for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” ST December 24, 1894, par. 4

It was at this very time that Judas made shipwreck of faith. After this he permitted doubt, envy, suspicion, bitterness, and hatred to be his guests. He became jealous at once when he was not included among the three who were chosen to witness the transfiguration of Christ upon the mount. When the disciples disputed by the way as to who should have the supremacy, his voice was often heard. In all that Christ said to his disciples there was always something with which he disagreed, and the leaven of disaffection was fast developing under the influence and presence of Judas. When he witnessed the manifestation of the fervent love of Mary as she anointed the feet of Christ with the precious ointment, his very spirit seemed turned to gall. He manifested his covetous nature, and displayed his malice and hatred. ST December 24, 1894, par. 5

Judas was not a doer of the words of Christ. He had had every advantage given him in order that he might learn lessons concerning Him who brought to light life and immortality, but he failed to overcome his selfish spirit, and cherished covetousness, which is idolatry, and did not cleanse the soul temple of its defilement. Every human soul has some mastering passion which must be overcome or it will overcome him and plunge the soul into ruin. Christ said: “Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” ST December 24, 1894, par. 6

Each one has a work of overcoming to do. If the objectionable trait of character is not overcome, Satan will take advantage of the defect, and thereby defile the whole man. ST December 24, 1894, par. 7

While Jesus was at Bethany, he told his disciples of what was to come to pass in a few days from that time. At the Passover the case of Judas was decided. Satan took control of heart and mind. He thought that Christ was either to be crucified, or would have to deliver himself out of the hands of his enemies. At all events, he would make something out of the transaction, and make a sharp bargain by betraying his Lord. He went to the priests and offered to aid them in searching for him who was accounted the troubler of Israel. Thus it was that the Lord was sold as a slave, purchased by the temple money used for the buying of the sacrifices. ST December 24, 1894, par. 8

Satan bound Judas to his side to be his human agent to work the death of the Son of God. But conscience was not yet dead in Judas, and when he saw Jesus deliver himself into the hands of those who would condemn and crucify him, Judas rushed in to the priests, exclaiming: “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” As he saw Jesus given into the hands of his enemies, he remembered the words he had spoken in Gethsemane, “Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” His master passion had spent its force, and reason again held sway; but he felt nothing but despair. He knew that Christ was the Son of God, and that he was his betrayer. The leaders of Israel heartily despised his base conduct; though they had taken advantage of his covetousness and hatred, yet when he repented, and turned to them with a confession of his guilt, they spurned him, and left him to die in his sins. Judas failed to have a place among the sanctified because he failed to learn of Christ the daily lessons that he would teach his followers, of meekness and lowliness of heart. He failed to learn the lessons of faith that the other disciples finally learned, and thus became heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. ST December 24, 1894, par. 9

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»