Have you ever lost focus on the most important things?
It’s easy to get distracted from what really needs our attention. And as we continue this journey toward Easter, we see this happen to a man we know all too well—Judas Iscariot.
Most of us know Judas as the man who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, but there’s more to the story. Looking back at a few events before the infamous betrayal may give us some insight on how Judas lost his way—or lost his focus.
Six days before Passover, we see Jesus’s friend Mary anoint his feet with expensive oil in front of the disciples. Judas didn’t like that and said something about it. He said to Jesus, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” While this may sound noble, the author of this account (John) tells us the true motive of Judas:
He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. – John 12:6
Money—or greed—was one reason Judas had lost his focus.
To add insult to injury, Jesus publicly rebuked Judas. He essentially told him to leave Mary alone, for “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:8).
Imagine how you would feel. You expect Jesus to affirm you, but instead you get criticized—in front of everyone. It’s not a good feeling. Judas was in disagreement with Jesus, and it’s probably safe to assume it wasn’t the first time. This is another root cause of losing focus: pride. Pride’s a dangerous thing.
I’m the most important person in the room.
I know best.
My time is worth more.
Pride leads to resentment when our opinions are challenged. It seems as though some resentment had built up in Judas. After all, Jesus wasn’t doing what Judas had hoped—taking over—and now Jesus was correcting Judas in front of other people.
So Judas was more than likely battling at least three demons inside: greed, pride, and resentment. He was ripe to commit the act of betrayal, which leads us to a big moment in our story…
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. – Matthew 26:14–16
Yes, Judas was all about himself. But it was a process that led him to his most infamous act. He lost focus. His attention had turned to money and power. He couldn’t see the bigger picture because he was so focused on the wrong things.
If we’re not careful, we can easily fall into the same trap. In a world filled with endless distractions, ideologies, riches, and pleasures, we are constantly being pulled in different directions and questioning what’s right, what’s true, and what’s real.
We are tempted to look out for ourselves above all else and believe that we know best. We lose sight of what is most important. We turn our main attention to our jobs, our money, our politics. And God becomes secondary.
What are you really focused on? Are you willing to prioritize your trust in God over it? Is there greed? Is there pride? Is there someone you have grown to resent and need to have a conversation with?
Pray and ask God for discernment.