We must all guard against this tendency.

The Gospel of John: John 12.1-11

Read and meditate on John 12.4, 5.
Jesus saw a work of goodness and beauty; Judas saw a missed opportunity – for himself.

                                    4But Judas, one of His
disciples – Simon’s son, and it was this
one who would ultimately betray Him – he
said, 5“Why was this sweet oil not sold for three
hundred denarii, and given to
the poor?” 6He said this, not that he might do
some good for others, for he cared not for
the poor, but he their money kept in store,
and he would often steal it.

- John 12.4, 5

1.  We rightly condemn Judas’ false piety and sinful motives. He wasn’t alone. According to Matthew, other disciples joined in his complaint (Matt. 26.8), and Mark suggests that other guests gave their “Amen” to Judas’ complaint (Mk. 8.4). Perhaps these all chimed in on Judas’ false piety regarding the poor, but their protest may have been sincere. What do you think? Explain. Complete this prayer: We are prone to parade our faith, Lord, when what we should do is…

2.  Judas is a classic example of failing to heed the warning of Hebrews 2.1 about drifting from the Lord and our salvation. We recall that Judas had been among the disciples from the beginning. What kinds of activities would he have been involved in as one of the twelve? What does this suggest about looking to ministry activities as proof of discipleship? I understand, Lord, that mere activity in Your Name is no guarantee that we know You. Instead,…

3.  Jesus and His disciples maintained a fund, which they used for various purposes as they went about their work. Judas kept the “money box,” and the temptation of those funds was apparently the cause of his drifting from the Lord. What other temptations can cause us to drift like Judas? Where am I vulnerable, Lord, to using my relationship with You for personal gain? Help me to…

4.  Judas’ work with Jesus had become entirely self-serving, and this proved that he was in fact no true disciple at all, but a “son of perdition” (Jn. 17.12). Outwardly, he looked pretty much like the other disciples, and he appeared concerned for the poor; inwardly, he was all about Judas. What is the warning for us from the sad case of Judas? Lord, I know that I belong to You because…

5.  If mere activity is not the measure of true discipleship, what is? What might be some signs that you were beginning to drift from the Lord and His salvation? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you wrote for questions 1-4.

“In the other Gospels it is the disciples who murmured at the waste of the ointment.… I think myself that Judas is put for the whole body of disciples; the plural used for the singular. … But at any rate we may supply for ourselves that the other disciples said it, or thought it or were persuaded by this very speech of Judas. The only difference is that Matthew and Mark expressly mention the concurrence of the others, whereas John only mentions Judas, whose habit of thieving he takes occasion to notice.” Augustine (354-430 AD)

We can all become drifters, if we’re not careful to attend to the daily disciplines and duties that come with following Jesus. What are those disciplines and duties?

Closing Prayer
But You, O GOD the Lord,
Deal with me for Your name's sake;
Because Your mercy is good, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy,
And my heart is wounded within me.
I am gone like a shadow when it lengthens;
I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees are weak through fasting,
And my flesh is feeble from lack of fatness.
I also have become a reproach to them;
When they look at me, they shake their heads.
Help me, O LORD my God!
Oh, save me according to Your mercy,
That they may know that this is Your hand—
That You, LORD, have done it!

Psalm 109.21-27

Psalm 109.28-31 (Veni Emmanuel: O Come, O Come, Immanuel)
Let all who stand against Your holy Word
Be brought to woe by Your great pow’r, O Lord.
May all who curse and all who accuse
To Your great mercy access be refused.
    O God, I praise and thank You with my song,
    And worship You amid Your holy throng.

Let my accusers come to shame
While I still praise and thank Your holy Name.
At our right hand the Lord shall take His stand
To save our souls from those who would condemn.
    O God, I praise and thank You with my song,
    And worship You amid Your holy throng.

T. M. Moore

Jesus is the Centerpiece of all Scripture, as He Himself explained (Jn. 5.39). But how can we learn to see Him there? How do the primary themes of Scripture revolve around Jesus? Our online course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, shows you how best to get at, get into, and get with the Word of God, so that you can grow more consistently in the Lord. It’s free, and you can study at your own pace. For more information or to register, click here.

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Download our studies in the Gospel of John by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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