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Dealing with the Sin of the Double Life, Part 2

While a senior in high school, I was pressed into playing the part of a court jester in our annual Canterbury festival. I was prepared with the perfect objection—I was unable to juggle. What jester cannot perform the most basic of jests? After voicing my handicap, I sat back and smiled. That is when the voice from the back of the room said, “I can teach him.” And so, it began.

Sad and sorry described not only my attempts to juggle but also my classmate’s attempts at teaching! She simply said, “Throw the first ball up in the air. Then throw the other two at the same time and keep doing it.” Ahem. Yeah. What I heard was, “Manage the chaos.” But to my amazement, it worked. It took a little time but it wasn’t long before I was managing the chaos.

This humorous story illustrates a not so humorous scenario. Imagine a person and their first tryst with a secret sin. Take gambling for example. I know of a small company in the area that occasionally takes employees to the local casino. Let’s imagine that while there, one of the employees is smitten with the whole thing. However, he knows his wife well enough to know that she would be neither amused nor approving. So, on several subsequent occasions, with money he has squirreled away, the man successfully sneaked away in order to satisfy his urge to gamble.

This man has come to a watershed moment. Will he continue to nurture the dual life that he has set in motion by his engagement with sin and his attempts to hide it from those closest to him? On the other hand, will he simply stop? The problem is he has learned to juggle the disparate aspects of his life rather well. He may have felt a bit guilty when he deceived his wife about the money but, he thought, what harm is done? This scenario rarely ends well. The man who trains in deceit and becomes adept at the double life will eventually enlarge his interests. He will progress from a journeyman to become a deceitmeister, and the door of secret pleasure will be open wide to him—or so he thinks.

Judas the Deceitmeister

I have often thought about Jesus and Judas. Judas was a prominent figure among the Lord’s disciples. He was the trusted treasurer of the twelve. But Judas was also a thief. He was living a dual life and apparently juggling the chaos quite well. In other words, no one suspected a thing. Even John admitted that when Judas left the Passover meal to betray Jesus, “We supposed that, because he had the money box, that Jesus told him to buy things needed for the feast…or to give something to the poor.” But there were signs of a problem.

Think specifically about Jesus’ final week. Mark tells us that Jesus retired to the home of some friends in Bethany for the evening.[1] While there, a woman came to the house carrying an alabaster jar full of expensive perfume. She walked over to Jesus and poured the contents on his head.

Some were indignant. Why? Because the perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor. Who was indignant? Do we know? John identifies the speaker as Judas Iscariot.[2] Clearly, Judas saw money that could have gone into the coffers poured out in waste. Now, this story reveals a number of things about Judas—and all who walk in his footsteps.

Dissecting the Double Life

First, this person will practice cunning cloaked in godly garb for personal gain. Cunning is difficult if not impossible to detect—it is, after all, cunning! On first hearing, who would have argued with Judas? Yet, Judas’ pious verbiage did not sound altogether pious to everyone, at least, not to Jesus. I mean, why not anoint Jesus? According to the Lord, the Disciples would always have the poor to serve but not Him to anoint.[3]

Second, this person will seek allies among the godly. The woman, by her self-denying act, had brought upon herself the reproach of Judas. Imagine the reputation of Judas. The brethren esteemed him, which was a special feat since these Disciples were always looking for ways to be first among the brethren. So, it seems from the text that others, following Judas, scolded the woman. Thus, the calm condemnation of Judas appeared to be a condemnation followed by the judicious and godly. Judas was not only advancing his agenda but also insulating himself in the community.

The previous two points may account for the third aspect. Judas had a god-complex. Upon looking at the accounts, what I find interesting is that when Jesus offered His support to the woman Judas reached a turning point. He betrayed Jesus. Now, that is suggestive. Perhaps Jesus’ public “opposition” to Judas in siding with the woman pricked his pride and stirred his jealousy. Possibly that is why Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss to the cheek, which implied equality, rather than a kiss to the hand, which implied respect. Regardless, the common theme in each of these points is the deceitmeister’s hatred for the Savior.

[1] Mark 14:1–11

[2] John 12:4–5

[3] Matthew 26:11

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