On Sunday, September 25, 2016, while reading the words of Matthew 26, verses 14-16, something stood out to me.
In these verses, we see Judas go to the chief priests (Israel’s leaders), asking, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver [Jesus] over to you?” They counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, verse 16 says, Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over.
So, for 30 pieces of silver, which was worth about $20 each piece, adding up to roughly $600 (about five weeks labor at that time), Judas betrayed Jesus. Hear me again, for 600 measly dollars (and it would make no difference to me if it were a million dollars; I’d still deem it measly when compared to Jesus) Judas would betray the King of the world.
Wow. That is sad, indeed, but precisely what greed will make one do.
Many, like me, have probably read or will read that verse and think, “How could he do that to Jesus, a man who loved him, fed him, called him friend, spent three years of his life with him? I would never do that to Jesus.” However, what I find today is that many, although they won’t admit to it, are still betraying Jesus, like Judas did, for dirty money.
I see it among the false teachers, who are using His name for their own gain, among preachers, who preach His name and doctrine only for money, among general Christians (and so-called ones), who pervert His name for money, and it’s truly a sad case. Nevertheless, it’s not a case that goes unnoticed before the eyes of the Master. All who misuse the Lord Jesus Christ for their own selfish agendas will get their due, just as in verse 24 of our chapter Jesus says that Judas will get his. “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him,” Jesus says. “But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
That verse speaks volumes, and those who betray God for mammon – or for anything – will feel every implication of it (unless they heed His Word and turn from their wicked ways).
Sisters, if you’ve found yourself caught up in the let’s-get-money-off-of-Jesus scandal, I urge you to repent, speedily. Many of those whom you’re connected to or follow via some social media platform may be on the “money train,” and it may seem that they’re doing okay, and even like they’re truly sold out for Jesus and He approves of what they are doing… so why shouldn’t you imitate them? Nevertheless, you must remember that everything that seems to be God, or God-approved, isn’t. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that satan disguises himself as an angel of light, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his servants also disguise themselves as angels of light.
The way to distinguish those of the light and those of darkness is by observing their fruit (Matthew 7:15-16). “…Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:17-18).
“What is fruit?” you may be wondering. Examples of fruit are doctrine, actions, conversations, and associations.
So if you want to know if those whom you are imitating (or simply following) are of God, or of themselves and the enemy, observe everything (while seeking God for His perspective), from their real life actions and interactions, to their social media actions and interactions (their doctrine as well, in both cases). Those things will tell you a lot about a person, really fast.
With these things noted, sisters, here are a few questions to ask yourself during your own necessary self-examination process:
- “Have I, like Judas, betrayed Jesus for dirty money?”
- “Am I connected to anyone who has betrayed Jesus for dirty money?”
- “What is my motive for using Jesus’ name in the things I do?”
- “Is my motive simply gain, or seeing God glorified?”
It’s always important to take a moment to examine ourselves, to find out the true meaning of why we aspire to do the things we do, using Jesus’ name; and if we’ve already begun, to examine, or reexamine, ourselves to find out what’s driving us to do what we do (and reroute ourselves, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, if we find that we’ve been doing it for selfish gain). Because, just as Judas betrayed Jesus for dirty money back in the day, we could very well be doing the same thing today…
Examination is key.