The Oxford Dictionary, defines greed as “a strong desire for more wealth, possessions, power, etc than a person needs.” From today’s passage that we read, one may wonder: how could one have someone who had been with Jesus daily betray Him? Judas Iscariot received the same calling and teaching as every other apostle in the Bible. But he chose to reject Christ’s warning as well as His offer of mercy. Judas Iscariot hardened his heart and joined in the plot with Jesus’ enemies to put Him to death. Judas remained unrepentant to the end, and finally committed suicide.
Lesson: Those privileged to be close to the truth are not necessarily committed to the truth. Matthew says that Judas Iscariot hanged himself (Matt. 27:5); while the book of Acts says that he fell. The traditional explanation is that when Judas hanged himself, the rope or the branch broke, Judas fell, and his body burst open. What a reward for greed! We should be careful over greed because it has many consequences.
Greed can lead us to sinful surroundings as in Genesis 13:10-11, Lot’s character is revealed in his choice. He took the better portion of the land even though it meant living near Sodom, a city known for its sin. Finally he was carried into captivity with all his possessions.
Lust leads to greed: In Numbers 11:31-34, God punished the Israelites for craving for good food! Their desire was not wrong; the sin was in allowing that desire to turn into greed. When you become preoccupied with something until it affects your perception on everything else, you have moved from desire to lust.
In numbers 22:2-23 we discovered that greed can be disguised as ambition. God let Balam go with Balak’s messengers, but He was angry about Balam’s greedy attitude. Balam claimed that he would not go against God because of money, but his greed for wealth offered by the king blinded him so that he could not see how God was trying to stop him. We can avoid Balam’s mistake by looking past the allure of fame or fortune to the long-range benefits of following Jesus Christ.
Greed can cause one to lose everything. 2 Chron. 10:16-19 – in trying to have it all, Rehoboam lost almost everything when, motivated by greed and power, he pressed too hard and divided the kingdom. Remember, those who insist on having it all often end up with little or nothing.
It was greed that caused Judas to betray Jesus (Matt. 26: 14-15). And because of greed, Judas shamefully relinquished his position to another apostle (Acts 1:17). May it never be our portion in Jesus name. Amen.
ACTS 1: 17 “For he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”
Lord Jesus, take away greed and selfishness from my life. Amen.
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