What is it to believe in Jesus and are there different kinds of belief? In John 12 we read, “many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (verses 42,43). In what sense did many of the authorities believe? Could yours or mine be similar? The first 8 verses indicate the belief that Judas Iscariot had – and think of all the many and different miracles Judas must have witnessed! Judas was one of the 12 and when Jesus sent them out he would have performed healings, etc. (see Matthew 10:5-8).
We read that at Bethany, six days before the Passover (verse 1) when Jesus was there, “Mary … took a pound of expensive ointment and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (verse 3). Judas Iscariot reacted by asking, “‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii (300 days pay for a labourer) and given to the poor’, he said this … because … having charge of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (verses 5,6).
What kind of “heart” did Judas have as a result of all his experiences? No doubt there are similar hearts today who diligently read and know God’s word – but who try to serve both God and money, but Jesus bluntly warns of the impossibility of doing this, see Luke 16:13. To “serve” God and His Son in this way is not service at all.
Judas had witnessed Jesus escape danger on several previous occasions (e.g.Luke 4:29,30 when the Nazarene’s in the “synagogue were filled with wrath … and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill … so they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst he went away”.) So, when Judas was offered 30 pieces of silver, he accepted, agreeing to betray him in the darkness and quietness of the night, but he expected Jesus would escape again. Does this illustrate the ways in which some minds work, even of those who believe? “Even as the authorities believed” but, for when there is no depth to belief it has no genuine foundation! Make sure yours has!
Finally, note verse 48. “The word that I have spoken” said Jesus, “will judge him (us) on the last day”. We must more and more take the fullness of his word into our hearts and let it guide our thoughts and actions.