Even among Jesus' closest followers there was an unbeliever. The infamy of Judas betrayal made his name synonymous with treason. It did not have to be this way.
Judas had great potential and an opportunity to go down in history alongside Peter, John and the others. There was nothing in his character that alerted the other apostles about the duplicity in his heart. He was the treasurer (John 12:6); a position of great trust in any organization.
Judas was destroyed by ambition. He lusted after power and stole from the apostles treasury (John 12:6) but it was for more than money that he betrayed Jesus. Judas had political aspirations. He sought a king not a savior.
Many still make the same error today. We hear the same voice but some fail to understand the heart of the gospel is peace; that the abundant life has nothing to do with wealth and power.
When Judas understood that Jesus was not preaching revolution, he tried to force his own plan into effect. Perhaps, he expected a violent uprising to save Jesus. Maybe, he believed he would replace Jesus and be the next leader.
Sometimes, when we come to Jesus with our own desires and ambitions, our personal agendas end up overshadowing the gospel.
Judas used his association with Jesus and the disciples for personal gain and demonstrated a total disregard for their safety. He misunderstood Christ's mission and even opposed the worship of Christ by others (John 12:4-5).
Throughout his ministry, Jesus warned about the deception that eventually destroyed Judas. Jesus warned that there would be wolves in sheep clothing (Matthew 7:15). He explained that weeds would grow alongside the good wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). Jesus preached about those who claimed to perform God-honoring works, but He said of them, "I never knew you." (Matthew 7:21-23)
Just as Judas could be so close to Jesus and never change his heart, people can be in church their whole lives and never become true followers of Christ. Judas is a startling example that is possible to know about Jesus but be one of His sheep who know His voice.
Judas' blind ambition led to his suicide. He was overcome with anguish over his horrible deed. Rejecting Jesus always leaves us condemned; by our own consciences and by God-- for the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)