What Would Judas Do Book Review

By | 2018-08-03T23:55:48+00:00 July 16th, 2018|
What Would Judas Do Book Review

What Would Judas Do?

by John Perritt
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Book Overview

In What Would Judas Do?, John Perritt reflects on Judas’ life in thirty-one short reflections. His aim is to encourage us in the Christian fight and to provide hope for the faint of heart. Ultimately, he hopes the book will produce the kind of the fruit in our lives that will inspire us towards a life of growing in the certainty of our election and calling through the practice of diligent introspection (2 Peter 1:10).

Judas serves as a warning for every Christian.

Today, you would find him sitting in a pew Sunday after Sunday without any intimacy with God. He would be eagerly jotting down notes from the sermon, filling his mind with knowledge to puff up his ego. He would be fervently raising his hands while singing songs of worship, getting his “emotional high” for the week.

He would be bowing his head during the benediction, attempting to heap up praise and adoration from others. Whenever the church doors are open, you would find him there on Sunday and Tuesday mornings sipping on coffee, while sparking various conversations before discussing the Bible or a book addressing a biblical topic.

Perhaps taken captive by his gain in influence from practicing ritualistic routine, he would continue in it for the rest of his days with the appearance of a changed life while without a changed heart. Perhaps taken “captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition,” he would grow tired of this ritualistic routine (Colossians 2:8). Consequently, he would slowly become enamoured and focused on some combination of strict self-denial and licentious self-indulgence (vv.18-19).

Recently I’ve listened to two podcast episodes, one by Reformed Brotherhood and another by Popcorn Theology, concerning Derek Webb, a well-known musician, who presently rejects Christianity. In his interview with the co-hosts of Popcorn Theology, Derek Webb displayed a profound understanding of Christianity and the astute ability to articulate that understanding.

Yet, for the moment, that understanding appears to be similar to the understanding of the Devil and his cohort of demons. Despite their abundant knowledge of God, they are distant from and cold towards God.

In What Would Judas Do?, John Perritt reflects on Judas’ life in thirty-one short reflections. His aim is to encourage us in the Christian fight and to provide hope for the faint of heart. Ultimately, he hopes the book will produce the kind of the fruit in our lives that will inspire us towards a life of growing in the certainty of our election and calling through the practice of diligent introspection (2 Peter 1:10).

John Perritt addresses questions that every Christian needs to ask themselves:

How deep is my understanding of God’s knowledge of my brokenness and his merciful, tender response to that brokenness? Am I captivated by this knowledge to love, rejoice, and believe in Jesus as my Beloved Groom? Does this knowledge serve as the foundation of my obedience in temptation and my comfort and assurance in trials?

In his commentary of Galatians, Timothy Keller wrote, “What makes a person a Christian is not so much your knowing of God but His knowing of you” (emphasis mine). Before the foundation of the world, the Father knew the many instances in which you and I would mess up and fail. Yet, he chose to adopt us in Christ.

When Jesus left his throne in Heaven to become man incarnate, he was fully aware of our rebellion against him as our Lord and King. Before the Holy Spirit settled down within us as his temple, he did so with the knowledge of the need to transform us from a broken, dead temple into a complete, living one.

No other knowledge could draw us to greater intimacy to our Heavenly Father, Groom, and Counselor. God drew David back to Himself by this knowledge. With a heart of contrition, David repented of his extra-marital affair with a woman who was not his wife, his attempts to cover up his sin by tempting Uriah to sin, and his order to Joab to leave Uriah at the frontlines to be killed:

“Hide your face from my sins,

   and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

  and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

   and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

   and uphold me with a willing spirit…

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

(Psalm 51:9-12, 17)

Judas lacked this intimate knowledge of God:

“Here’s the bottom line, a true understanding of Jesus’ knowledge of you will shape your knowing of Him. To say it another way, the more you understand your brokenness, the more you love the man, Jesus Christ. Or, to say it how John Calvin once did, to know self, one must know God. That is, once you more deeply know your sin and brokenness, you more deeply rest in the arms of the One who can deliver you from it” (Perritt 20).

Among the sons of disobedience, Judas dishonored and grumbled against God despite the revelation of God in creation and the Scriptures (Romans 1:18-21, Ephesians 2:1-3). Instead of being driven to the gracious embrace of God, Judas was hardened to further condemn himself to the wrath of God by betraying Jesus. His thinking and desires increased in futility and darkness, which led him to exchange everlasting life and joy for everlasting death and torment.

We, also, were among the sons of disobedience. But, by the Holy Spirit’s work alongside the proclamation and reading of the Word of God, we were made into new creations that can turn from our hatred, despondency, and disbelief. We can turn towards God in a spirit of worship to love, rejoice, and believe in Him. We no longer stumble and fall as those consumed in darkness. Rather, we walk with great confidence since the Word is a “lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 109:105; 2 Peter 1:19a).

Though we have never seen the physical appearance of our risen and immortal Groom, we are captivated by Him (1 Peter 1:8-9). We are full of confidence knowing that God will preserve us by His mighty hand in faith, while He completes His work begun in us (Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 1:5).

I heavily recommend What Would Judas Do? Understanding faith through the most famous of the faithless. As we analyze Judas’ life during Jesus’ ministry, we ought to be able to connect the dots between us and Judas. We lack belief and faithfulness. We are idolaters. We are man-fearers and lovers. Though Judas dwelled in the presence of the Word made flesh, his heart was hardened and not softened.

How often are we calloused and distracted in the presence of God during quiet times of prayer and devotion, Bible study, fellowship, and worship? This knowledge ought to drive us to run to Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice for comfort and healing. Jesus lived and died for those moments of callousness and distraction. Reflecting on God’s character, we must strip ourselves of all self-reliance and depend upon Him with a heart of humility.

For, God gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5-6). As our Heavenly Father, He wants us to rest in Him when we doubt our faith in His Son (1 Peter 5:7).

Though the devil, a roaring lion, often accuses us of our rebellion to arouse angst within us, we must remind ourselves that Jesus, the Author of our faith, will keep us to the very end. As our gracious and faithful shepherd, He pursued us, lifted us up into his tender embrace, and will carry us for the rest of our days. No one can snatch us from His hand. “Simply subtract God’s grace from my life… and I’m like Judas” (Perritt 187).

In the end, our salvation hinged on Judas’ betrayal. Judas perverted the kiss, “one of the most intimate of human experiences,” to signal to the guards whom “to mock, ridicule, beat, scourge, and nail to a cross” (Perritt 180). When Judas kissed Jesus, the Father’s plan of salvation was brought into fruition. Yet, Jesus has a kiss of his own:

The kiss of Christ is epitomized in the reality of the divine God ‘kissing humanity’ by becoming a human being. Jesus the King became Jesus the babe. The Creator became creature by taking on flesh, leaving His throne and coming to dwell with sinful man. The King of Glory does not belong among prostitutes, tax collectors, and self-righteous Pharisees, yet He humbled Himself and dwelt among them” (Perritt 181).

That kiss of life overcame the kiss of death.


About the Author:

Kyle Golden
Alex's Blog
Kyle Golden is an upcoming senior in high school and second-year student enrolled in a dual-enrollment program at a local college. Oftentimes, you will find him with a book in his hands, enjoying the outdoors, cooking or baking in the kitchen, and/or with earphones in while listening to a podcast, sermon, or music. You can find him at his website: Inklings of Broken Clay.


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