We use the term, “self-made” as if it is the highest compliment to pay someone. Being self-made represents independence; living life your own way without depending on anyone else.
Case in point: Judas Iscariot
Judas was called by Jesus to be one of His twelve disciples. He was the treasurer of the movement. When we stop to think about Judas’ tragic story, we see the sadness of a self-made man:
Exposure to Truth – chose self
Little is known about Judas other than he was not from Galilee and he loved money. Jesus entrusted Judas with the group’s money. In the Gospel of John, Judas is called a thief (see John 12:1-6). Judas belittled Mary from Bethany for using expensive oil when she anointed Jesus’ feet in an act of sacrificial and humble love.
Part of a community – chose self
Jesus called Judas into a community of faith and new direction. Christ handpicked Judas as one of His inner circle. Judas walked with Jesus and heard His teaching; however, Judas did not stick by Jesus and certainly did not live the lessons he was taught.
Judas became distraught over his decision to betray Christ and returned the 30 pieces of silver he accepted from those wanting to kill Jesus. His regret was too little, too late. Judas set the wheels into motion for what was prophesied by Zechariah hundreds of years before. The truth is that Christ did not die because of Judas. Christ died because God willed His death in order to shake up the spiritual realm. Peace was made, but our peace isn’t self-made. Our peace with God is God-made.
The 30 pieces of silver, Judas’ blood money, was used to purchase a cemetery for foreigners and for the poor. Today the site is called, “Akeldama,” or “Field of Blood.” It sits in Jerusalem’s Valley of Hinnom, also known as “Hell Valley” for the child sacrifices that took place there during Old Testament times.
It’s funny. Judas’ wanted so badly to be relevant and rich; yet, all that is left to show for his efforts is a potter’s field. (Pictured: Akeldama, the Field of Blood just beyond the wall.)