The Point of No Return
Jesus chose twelve men out of thousands of disciples, and He named them apostles (Luke 6:13). He taught them all things, gave them power over unclean spirits, and the ability to heal all manners of sickness and disease.
(Luke 9:1–2 NKJV) Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
(Luke 9:6 NKJV) So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
These chosen twelve men were baptized and trained to minister to the people. Jesus sent them out on missions to prepare them and the towns He planned to visit. The twelve were nearly always with Jesus, and they witnessed His miracles. When they were alone, Jesus taught them things He didn't share with others.
(Mark 4:34 NKJV) ... And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.
The twelve were the cream of the crop, the top of the ladder, the chosen ones. Yet, there was one of them who had inner struggles, dark thoughts that he couldn't shake. Judas Iscariot straddled the fence with one foot on either side. He walked a tight rope, sometimes leaning left, then right. A double-minded man who didn't know what he believed.
Judas listened to the words of Jesus and nodded his head. He followed Jesus everywhere and even watched Him walk across the water. He saw Jesus calm storms and raise Lazarus from the dead. Yet, the dark side pulled at him.
Judas was a thief and occasionally even stole money from Jesus. When Mary of Bethany poured some very expensive oil of spikenard over the feet of Jesus, Judas complained that it was wasted:
(John 12:4–6 NKJV) But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
So Judas was the treasurer in Jesus' ministry and would steal from the donations they received. This went on for over three years. Judas traveled with Jesus, ate with Him, prayed with Him, and stole from Him.
Jesus knew about it, but He never kicked Judas out of the twelve. Instead, He let Judas choose his own path in this life and perhaps hoped and prayed that he would change his ways. Judas had so much potential and was taught the true word of God. Yet, he couldn't restrain his fleshly desires. He couldn't seem to make his body obey him.
The chief priests in Jerusalem wanted to arrest Jesus but feared starting a riot because Jesus had thousands of followers. So they were looking for a way to do it in secret. Judas knew this, so he went and asked them, "What will you give me?"
(Matthew 26:14–16 NKJV) Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, sold out Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Then he went to eat supper with Him. See, Judas looked the part on the outside. He was baptized, taught scripture, and walked with the Master for three and a half years. He was a genuine apostle. Yet, the inside of the man was still black, for he didn't apply the teachings He heard to his own life.
When they arrived at their last supper together, it was customary for a servant to wash the guests' feet, but that night, the servant was missing. Judas or one of the other apostles could have volunteered to be the servant, but they just sat down. So the Lord Jesus Christ wrapped a towel around His waist and washed their feet one by one. The apostles sat in embarrassed silence until Peter blurted out that Jesus would never wash his feet. Then Jesus told them this:
(John 13:10–11 NKJV) Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."
All of the work, training, and time that Jesus had poured into Judas Iscariot hadn't changed him. Judas was given years to change his ways, but week after week passed by as he consistently made bad choices.
It looked like Judas would always be a villain, but tonight was different. For Judas had reached the point of no return. When Jesus finished washing the apostle's feet, He became troubled in spirit. He knew what was coming, so He sat down and told them this:
(John 13:21–27 NKJV) When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
While sitting beside the Lord Jesus Christ, satan himself entered Judas, one of His chosen apostles. What? How? Why? Because of his actions. See Judas Iscariot's actions lined up with satan's plan and desire. Your true master is whom you obey (Romans 6:16), not who you say. James wrote this:
(James 1:21–24 NKJV) Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
The person who hears the word, but doesn't do it, deceives themselves. They begin to believe something that isn't true. Jesus Christ sat at the table with Judas, hoping he would change, but Judas had to make the decision. Sadly, Judas Iscariot, the chosen apostle, one of the twelve, was lost to satan. Jesus confirmed this while praying in the garden:
(John 17:12 NKJV) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave Judas Iscariot all the rope he needed, and he hanged himself with it.
(Matthew 7:13–14 NKJV) Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). For we are not promised tomorrow. One last fix might be your last fix. Change your course before you reach the point of no return, for there is no coming back from it. Meaning to do something for years simply means you haven't done it yet. The Apostle Paul disciplined his body so that he wouldn't be "disqualified" for the prize:
(1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NASB) Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
(1 Corinthians 10:1–6 NASB) For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
A chosen apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ was lost because of bad choices. Craving the wrong things while ignoring the words of Christ. He didn't allow the word to change him. What a vivid example and warning for us today.
You can pray this with me if you like:
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me from the inside out. Deliver me from the enemy's trap. Set me free from the things holding me back, and give me a clear vision of Your plan for my life. Save me! In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org