The Judas Syndrome: Matthew 26:47-50
“47) While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48) Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” 49) Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50) And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26‬:‭47‬-‭50‬ ‭
The name “Judas” is of Greek origin. It literally means “praised.” After this fateful night, the name became associated with “traitor.” It is an example of how the actions of one man ruined a name.
Many wonder what motivated Judas to betray Jesus. The Bible hints at three root causes to his betrayal. The first is anger. Earlier in this very chapter Jesus rebuked him for being critical of Mary anointing Jesus with pure nard. Paul warns in Ephesians 4:25-27 that anger gives ground to the devil. The same plight awaited Able and his anger in Genesis 4:5-7.
The second character flaw in Judas was diagnosed in John 12:6. On the same occasion that Judas openly condemned Mary for anointing Jesus, John points out that he was a thief and used to skim the money from the treasure box. He was full of greed. Money had become his secret god.
The third motivation is the culmination of the first two. These two sinful strongholds made him an easy target for the evil one. John 13:21-27 records the story of Satan entering into him during the Passover meal as Jesus dipped the morsel of bread and gave it to him. He left immediately to arrange the betrayal of Jesus.
It is noteworthy that Judas was absent from the upper room discourse Jesus gave to the other eleven disciples in John 13:31-17:26. He was neither connected to the true vine nor one of the sheep in the flock. Jesus even made mention of Judas during His priestly prayer in John 17:12. He called him “the son of perdition.”
The sign that Judas picked to betray Jesus was a kiss. Proverbs 27:6 says; “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Judas added huge punctuation marks to this verse.
Judas is a warning that religious people are not exempt from temptation or evil intent. The Judas syndrome is very prevalent in religious circles today.
Are you religious? So was Judas! Guard your heart from sins like anger and greed. Judas was never born-again. His heart was closed to the gospel. He walked with Jesus only to betray Him. The wrong spirit influenced and controlled his life.
It never surprises me when fleshly Judas shows up in leadership in churches. Fits of anger, a lapse of integrity and a deceitful kiss are usually a sign that Judas is in your presence. Beware!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global